Bishops support Pope’s call for Church’s “reasoned voice to be heard”

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The President and Vice-President of the Catholic Bishops’ Conference of England and Wales have defended the Holy Father Pope Benedict XVI after recent comments on UK equalities legislation.

The Most Rev Vincent Nichols, Archbishop of Westminster and President of the Conference, speaking to the Radio 4 Today Programme said:

“Some of the effects of legislation would seem to be unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities… [The Holy Father] wants his reasoned voice, formed by the treasures of Christian heritage – which is deeply embedded in our culture, to be heard.”

Meanwhile, Archbishop Peter Smith of Cardiff, Vice-President of the Bishops’ Conference, added his support during a Press Conference in Rome:

“The Church of course upholds absolutely the equal dignity of every person, irrespective of their faith, age and ability. But I think there is a misunderstanding, because sometimes in government legislation equality seems to be that we are all absolutely equal, which we are not. We are equal in dignity, beyond that each one of us is unique.”

More information and links

The Bishops of England and Wales are in Rome for their ad Limina visit (24 January – 4 February 2010).

BBC news article

Audio segment (Archbishop Nichols)