Catholic News Service
VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Catholic teaching and the truths of the Gospel have a right to be heard in public debate, especially in a country where so many people claim to be Christian, Pope Benedict XVI told the bishops of England and Wales.
However, the church must recognize dissent within its own ranks and not accept it as being part of a balanced discussion, he said Feb. 1 in an address to bishops who were making their “ad limina” visits.
The meeting with the bishops, who were at the Vatican to report on the status of their dioceses, took place as Pope Benedict prepares to visit Great Britain in September.
Referring to the Equality Bill under debate in Britain’s Parliament, the pope said some legislation designed to guarantee equal opportunity for all people actually would impose “unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs.”
Catholic bishops have said the bill means churches could be sued by anyone who was turned away as a candidate for the priesthood on grounds of gender or sexual lifestyle.
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