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Should the taxpayer fund the Pope's visit?

09:54 UK time, Saturday, 4 September 2010

The head of the Catholic Church in England and Wales, Archbishop Vincent Nichols has said it is right that UK taxpayers should help pay for the Pope's trip to Britain. What are your views?

Pope Benedict XVI is due to arrive on 16 September and it is thought that the cost of the visit could rise to between £10m and £12m.

However, Archbishop Nichols told the BBC's Andrew Marr programme it would be a "sad day" when the UK "closes its doors and says we can't afford state visits".

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A recent survey carried out by think tank Theos claims that some 77% of Britons feel that taxpayers should not help pay for the Pontiff's forthcoming visit.

Do you agree with Archbishop Nichols? Will the Pope's visit be good for the UK? Is it justified during a time of economic crisis? Will you be going to see him?

This debate is now closed. Thank you for your comments. 

Will you see the Pope?

Comments

Page 1 of 13

  • Comment number 1.

    The taxpayer should not have any of the cost of the Pope's visit and that should include security. This should apply to any religious or cultural figure. The problem is the Pope was invited to come by Gordon Brown and this puts the taxpayer in a difficult position. The government should never get involved in religion.

  • Comment number 2.

    Definitely not. Those that want him here should pay for him in the same way as those that want the Olympics should pay for it.

    I pay for my football season ticket, and part of this is used to pay for policing. Why should the Pope be any different. After all, this is not even a Catholic country, and less than 1 per cent of people go to church regularly.

  • Comment number 3.

    No, certainly not. It certainly isn't justified during a time of economic restrain. If his flock wish to see him, let them pay.
    We had a debate about this not long ago??

    The National Secular Society are spot on.

  • Comment number 4.

    No - The Church of Rome can afford to fund its own junkets - the 'state visit' excuse is totally lame, this is a pr exercise designed to try and put some gloss back on a regime which is shamed by its own misdemeanours.

  • Comment number 5.

    I haved no strong view - but the taxpayer funds other foreign Heads of State visits (not to mention any number of celebrities) and the media feels no need to ask about that. I suspect a separate agenda here.

  • Comment number 6.

    As much as I do not like this the answer is yes. The Pope is coming as the head of state of the Vatican which is an independent country and he is making a state visit. We are paying for that side of things, as we do for all heads of state that visit here. It is the same if our heads of state make state visits to other countries they pay for all the bits and bobs involved in that.

    The pastoral side of the visit, the masses, the turning of someone into a saint, can't spell the actual term, etc including security for them are being payed for by the Catholic Church and not the tax payer. In the same way as when Pope John Paul II visited, his was purely a pastoral visit and was paid for completely by the Catholic Church.

    Will it be good for the UK? I really don't know for certain, but I would guess not.

    Will I go and see him? Nope, I am not a Catholic and so have no interest in him. going by Newsnight neither are a lot of Catholics as the tickets are not selling.

  • Comment number 7.

    Absolutely note.

  • Comment number 8.

    No. We are not a Catholic country. Let the british Catholics pay for it because they are the only interested party.

  • Comment number 9.

    no.

  • Comment number 10.

    First I am not anti Pope. However, this country clearly moved away from the papacy hundreds of years ago. So why should non roman catholics have to pay? This country is trying to pay back huge amounts of debt, again, we cannot afford to pay to have a visitor to these shores. There are many pilgrims who want to see him, they can pay.

  • Comment number 11.

    The Catholic Church should be treated like any other business or private concern. The Pope has more than enough riches to fund himself - completely.

  • Comment number 12.

    Why not???? We pay for Tony Blair and he isn't even in public office anymore.

    The Pope is a current world leader and a head of state, leader of hundreds of millions regardless of the sneering political culture/agenda of the BBC.

    Would we be having this debate if Mandela was visiting?

  • Comment number 13.

    Absolutely not! Are we to believe that one of the richest organizations on earth can't afford to pay for the visit themselves? If they really are strapped for cash, I suggest they sell some of the billions of pounds worth of assets they hold in vaults below the Vatican. I find this doubly insulting after the scandal of senior Catholic minsters doing their best to suppress details of child abuse over the years. It takes the line "suffer little children to come unto me" to a whole new level. I can't convey my disgust strongly enough.

  • Comment number 14.

    The Pope is not a State leader, so this should not be paid for as a State visit by UK taxpayers.

    I'm not a superstitious or religious person, but I do respect other people's views on their own spiritual inklings.

    However, as this is only a pastoral visit, it must only be funded by Roman Catholics.

  • Comment number 15.

    I promise Paul Wolley that we are aware that the pope is a head of state. But it’s a state which is completely irrelevant and inseparable to his roll as head witch doctor.
    It is the labour party which should be completely funding this visit. After all, Brown only invited him in a pitiful attempt to gain the Catholic vote for the then up coming election. Which just goes to show how out of touch with reality he and his advisors/cabinet were, and how they wasted millions of public money in a time when priority should have been securing jobs to lessen the unemployment problem, merely for their own failed personal ambitions.

  • Comment number 16.

    I think the Catholic church does more harm than good and it abuses the power it has over those in its thrall. Everything from refusing to allow the use of contraception to covering up child abuse by its priests. I don't want the Pope here, I don't want to pay for the visit.

  • Comment number 17.

    No. If catholics want him here let them pay.

  • Comment number 18.

    6. At 10:35am on 04 Sep 2010, Pythus wrote:
    As much as I do not like this the answer is yes. The Pope is coming as the head of state of the Vatican which is an independent country and he is making a state visit.

    Most heads of state don't hold a mass during their visit. He is doing a switch and bait trick. Asking us to pay becasue he's the head of state; then doing the religious mumbo jumbo once he's in on a free ride.

  • Comment number 19.

    No, the taxpayer should not have to fund the trip and security of the Pope, he's the head of the Catholic church so LET THEM pay for it.

    I'm an Atheist, I've never believed in God, Jesus Christ or the Virgin Mary so I really resent the fact that any of my tax money is going to fund someone I don't believe in.

    Gordon Brown should never have invited him here, if he had really wanted to come he would have asked and then he could have paid for it himself, the Catholic church is rich enough to fund his trips over and over again.

  • Comment number 20.

    There rarely seems to be a complaint when the taxpayer funds G20 summits and similar - I dread to think how much they cost. Is it because the Pope is a religious figure? I expect Brits would fall over themselves to fund a visit by the Dalai Lama.
    This leaves the suspicion that Brits are still suffering from paranoia after nearly 500 years. Is it not time to move on?

  • Comment number 21.

    Why the hell should we, this is not a catholic country and i am not a catholic.

    One of the richest organisations in the world should be self supporting.

  • Comment number 22.

    Billions are being wasted in the war in Afghanistan; all to no good and to the very severe detriment of our soldiers.The cost of the Popes visit will be relatively modest compared to that waste of cash in Afghanistan.

    I suspect that the BBC has an anti Christian agenda in raising this issue.

  • Comment number 23.

    It is unfortunate, and highly relevant, that the current Pope is perhaps THE most UNPOPULAR in modern history, especially with Roman Catholics, who may feel VERY let-down by this man and his profile to-date?

    The Vatican is a unique independent 'State' by a fluke in history. Nevertheless, protocol has to be followed by UK Gov for that reason alone. It won't matter how much we complain, whatever our faith or no faith. The decision is already made to charge the tax-payer for any short-fall in Catholic funding for his State visit.

  • Comment number 24.

    Although the Vatican could certainly pay for the visit, from which it will benefit the most, the Pope is, however, also a head of state. Although many British people, including myself, disagree with the Pope on many philosophical and ethical issues, he must be welcomed like any other head of state and should be given the hospitality due any other head of state. Thus, the taxpayer has to pay the bill, so long as no greatly unreasonable expenses are claimed.

  • Comment number 25.

    Laughing out loud - 'Oooo, the Hawking god thing got tons of posts, let's do the pope again!'

  • Comment number 26.

    I have no time for organised religion of any sort. While non-believers should not be contributing to the visits of religious figures to this secular nation, I have to concede that this man is a head of state (albeit a very small state). On that basis, we can't discriminate against him when we don't expect other foreign figureheads to pay their way. Reluctantly, I accept that we have to fork out.

  • Comment number 27.

    If the taxpayer shouldn't fund the visit of one head of state, then should that not apply to others? I am an Anglican Christian, not Roman Catholic, but I suspect that even in hard times other state visits cost more. From my own viewpoint, I welcome the visit as a boost to ecumenical (inter-Church) and inter-faith relationships.

  • Comment number 28.

    No.Not everyone has religious tendencies and the bulk of the population are not Catholic.If he wants to visit by all means but let him pay for it or his followers.

  • Comment number 29.

    No! Or: If we pay for state visits of heads of other religions, then yes. I want to see the British public if we arrange tours of the country for some mullahs. After all, that's all the pope is.

  • Comment number 30.

    Under no circumstances should we pay for this mans visit. What good will it do us? State visits are for cementing trading agreements and acknowleging common defence policies or goals. What will we gain from the visit of this man? The Vatican has no industry so no trade, they have no army except for some strangely dressed Swiss guys and the Vatican does not have the same values as us.

    We already have a seperate school system (In Scotland) for these people and then they want me to pay to have their head shaman to visit us. They want to close roads and ban demostrations against him and his woman and homosexual hating church.

    The catholics in Scotland do not even consider themselves to be British but they want us to pay for his visit.

    We struggled to get rid of Roman Catholic church control of this country and their viscious cruelty and torture of reforming martyrs and now he comes here on our money. Absurd.

  • Comment number 31.

    The question, as it stands, is bound to give rise to indignant reponses. It is not a matter of `funding the Pope´. It is a matter of the State paying its contribution towards the Pope´s visit.

    Who would invite someone to visit and then demand that he pay all his own costs? Sharing the costs (which is always the case with Papal visits) is much more civilised.

  • Comment number 32.

    Foxhead you are wrong. The Vatican is an independent city state and the Pope is it's elected leader.

    Mike the religious side of things are being paid for by the Catholic Church not the state.

  • Comment number 33.




    20. At 10:58am on 04 Sep 2010, RitaKleppmann wrote:
    There rarely seems to be a complaint when the taxpayer funds G20 summits and similar - I dread to think how much they cost. Is it because the Pope is a religious figure? I expect Brits would fall over themselves to fund a visit by the Dalai Lama
    ........................................................

    The Dalai Lama is not head of an organisation that has abused children in all corners of the world it would be an insult to the people abused by the catholic church to use tax payers money for this man to visit the UK.

  • Comment number 34.

    22. At 11:00am on 04 Sep 2010, grainsofsand wrote:
    Billions are being wasted in the war in Afghanistan; all to no good and to the very severe detriment of our soldiers.The cost of the Popes visit will be relatively modest compared to that waste of cash in Afghanistan.

    I suspect that the BBC has an anti Christian agenda in raising this issue.

    ----------------------

    Do not mix up Christianity with this head of the biggest and oldest corrupt boys club. I wonder if under British law we could arrest him for his churches and his baltant cover up of child abuse. They let anyone into the UK nowadays.

  • Comment number 35.

    Should the Pope be shaking the collection box on his rounds, that's the normal method of payment for the congregation. Are we asking every other religion to fund the Pope?

    And how much was think tank Theos paid to come up with this survey, probably dwarfs the Pope's visit cost.

  • Comment number 36.

    Who invited him - the Roman Catholic Church (RCC) here? or the Government?
    If it was the RCC, then it's a private visit and they should pay for everything - including policing and other security costs.
    If it's the UK Government inviting a Head of State of an independent (albeit tiny) foreign country, then the Government should do what it always does for State Visits. (It's difficult to see what diplomatic business there is to justify such taxpayers' expenditure, though)
    Being Britain, the home of muddle and compromise, it's probably both. But I don't see that it's so very difficult to apportion the costs between the diplomatic time involved, and the time spent with his co-religionists in the RCC.
    There must be precedents - for example Commonwealth Heads of State who stay on for private reasons, or for activities primarily with their own nationals living here. It might be worth a journalist asking the Government for details on such multi-purpose visits in the past. Could be very interesting....
    One other beneficiary of the Pope's mini-break might be the Church of England, in getting a rare Home match with its old rival Vatican United; in which case might it not be possible to swing some of the cost onto the dear old CofE?

  • Comment number 37.

    The Vatican is a state in its own right and not part of Italy. The Pope is therefor a Head of State. He was invited by the UK Government to make what must be a State Visit. Ergo the appropriate financial courtesy must be extended to him and the taxpayer shall fund it.

    Even when general Pinochet visited the UK he was given the customary Foreign Office reception given to Heads of State or ex-Heads. This was hosted by the legendary Jack Straw no less!

    International relations, like other government activities are not dictated by truth or love.
    Pope Benedict XVI (but whose counting?) may live in the Middle Ages whereas the British Government must be content to live in sin.

  • Comment number 38.

    Absolutely not and it appears that even the Catholic faithful are not going to turn up in droves to the various venues.
    He is not a Head of State in the true sense so this is only technically a State visit.
    the previous Pope inspired affection from Catholics and other faiths, not so this one.

  • Comment number 39.

    Definately NOT! The UK is not a RC country so if he want's to come then he and his supporters should fund the visit. The taxpayer does not fund my holidays.
    As for trusting the vatholic church, who can after so many revelations and scandals. This pope actually took part in covering up sex and child abuse. If anything we do not want him hee.

  • Comment number 40.

    Pay for the pope's free loading trip? You have got to be joking!

    His bunch of religious maniacs are responsible for mass child abuse & covering it up.

    Folk also seem to forget the ghastly conditions the cathloic nuns subjected unmarried mothers to.

    It also seems that one of their clergy - a supposed man of god - was involved in mass murder using car bombs!

    If that is the message put out by their god - I HOPE Prof Hawking is correct!

    Unless the tax payer is to pay for a visit by a religious maniac from hamas then I see no reason why pope should be subsidised!

  • Comment number 41.

    tax payers money should not be used for this visit, when i visited the vatican they charged me £7 to get in many years ago

  • Comment number 42.

    The Pope isn't visiting this country as a secular head of state; he comes as the Head of the Catholic Church. He is visiting the nation's Catholics, and places of Catholic worship, veneration and education.
    This is completely different to any conventional state visit, and the non-Catholic taxpayer should not be expected to fund an essentially Catholic series of papal engagements.

  • Comment number 43.

    In answer to the three questions, no, no and no.

    This is yet another example of the Labour government's attitude to money, and Gordon Brown's warped mind. Did no-one in the Exchequer think to see whether this visit was affordable, and how much it would take to recover the lost revenue? Were the police and other security people not consulted about resources? Above all, what on earth possessed Brown to arrange this? Oh, I know - it isn't his money being spent - it's ours.

    Quite apart from financial considerations, hosting one old man in fancy dress and his entourage to pander to a minority of believers seems rather out of place in this day and age.

  • Comment number 44.

    If the queen wants him to visit, she should pay for it herself. Its obscene that the taxpayer should have to pay while she is swimming in wealth. The majority of us aren't even catholics!

  • Comment number 45.

    If this were a truly 'State Visit', with the normal Public functions, the answer would most definitely be Yes the Taxpayer should pick up the bill. However, since the visit seems to be almost entirely private, with even the 'Public events' all ticket, the Taxpayer should only provide the minimal hospitality due to the visiting head of a Religious cult.
    There is a clear duty in law to provide sufficient personal protection for the man, however hated he may be by some, in the same way that protection is required by a pop idol or a child killer, but Policing costs for the private events should be funded by the event organisers.

    In some ways I would like to go to see the events, not as a believer, but simply to observe the way in which crowd dynamics operate, but to get a ticket I would need to declare myself to be a 'Catholic' something I could never do.

  • Comment number 46.

    Would we be having this debate if Mandela was visiting?

    I'd want to debate it if he visited and the tax payer was expected to pay. The man was convicted of terrorism after all.

  • Comment number 47.

    Absolutely not. It should be funded from donations by those who think the visit is necessary.

  • Comment number 48.

    Absolutely NOT!

    But what worries me is the cost seems to be galloping away from them already, so just how much will the final bill be considering it doesnt even include police costs?

    Only yesterday Transport Scotland announced that one of the main motorways into Glasgow (M77)was going to be closed so that it could be used to park buses. I bet there has been no consideration given to what this will cost the public in time and additional fuel to use what will no doubt be heavily congetsed alternative routes! Typically these quangos dont give a damn about what the people (taxpayers) who pay their wages want or think.

    This sort of event that causes widespread disruption and cost millions should never be allowed to happen again !

  • Comment number 49.

    I do not think that the Pope should make a state visit. Would we extend this facility to any religious leader, the Moonies for example, or even a Moslem ?

    Maintaining complete separation between state and religion is an important feature of modern government. We foolishly allow conservatism to masquerade as harmless tradition. In spite of a long history of violence provoked by organised religion, we still retain established churches. Organised religion has, time and time again, been used as a vehicle for subversion.

    The privileges enjoyed by the established churches should be ended as soon as possible and in the meantime it would be a recipe for violence to extend them to other competing religious factions.

    The Pope is welcome to make a private visit, at the church's expense of course. If he wishes to take part in any demonstrations, such as open air masses, which might provoke a violent reaction from some members of the public, he should be subject to the same rules as anyone else organising a demonstration, and be required to obtain the permission of the police and negotiate arrangements with them.

  • Comment number 50.

    8. At 10:36am on 04 Sep 2010, krokodil wrote:
    No. We are not a Catholic country. Let the british Catholics pay for it because they are the only interested party.

    I never thought I would see the day I agreed with krokodil!

    Whatever next, some crackpot american who starts his own sect being feted by the government and costing millions?

  • Comment number 51.

    No way!

  • Comment number 52.

    No. The RC Church must take care of their own affairs. The cost is so huge.No-one benefits from his visit other than those RCs who still believe in the pope as an infallible father and an incarnation of Christ and they must take resposibility to pay for his visit. Taxpayers' money should not cover his visit and not pay for the police presence while everyone of us is being told to economise and many police and public sector people are about to lose their job. The R C Church must first deal with their attitude towards paedophiles which is so far only half hearted. They need to change their attitude towards gay and lesbians and welcome them into their community. They must change their approach towards women and accept them as equal to men in every sense. They must protect the many innocent children born into poverty because the pope decided that the pill is immoral. May be, once that were to be in place, might we be willing to make some contribution towads a papal visit. Currently, it sets an uncomfortable presedence. Next we will have to pay for some Muslim leader who shouts out anti-Western messages, for some Nationalist leader who represents anti-jew, anti Muslim, anti black or anti Roma movements in this country. If one gets our financial support, others will follow.

  • Comment number 53.

    29. At 11:19am on 04 Sep 2010, wolfmeister wrote:
    No! Or: If we pay for state visits of heads of other religions, then yes. I want to see the British public if we arrange tours of the country for some mullahs. After all, that's all the pope is.


    Couldnt have put it better myself!

    There is a nagging doubt that this has been done to soften us up for when we get the bill for some nutters visit . . . . .

  • Comment number 54.

    The Pope is like any other VIP given security by UK as the host.

    I just hope that the BBC which is also publically funded doesn't spend too much airtime following the visit because clearly most people think that religion is just a source of trouble populated by hypocritical people.

  • Comment number 55.

    Pay for the pope - definately not - never - no - no. Dont get me started on religion because i know you wont pass it in your strict politically, religiously moderation process.

  • Comment number 56.

    I would be even less happy for the Lama bloke to be funded by us on a visit...how many brits follow his religion lol

  • Comment number 57.

    Unfortunately our previous Prime Minister, Gordon Brown, invited him so this is yet another debt to the tax payers incured by the previous administration. My personal view is that Brown should never have invited this leader of a religious cult and jumped up leader of a "state" the size of Monaco to this country. I just hope Cameron grills him over the abuses his cult is responsible for.

  • Comment number 58.

    12. At 10:43am on 04 Sep 2010, HomeCountyCynic wrote:

    Would we be having this debate if Mandela was visiting?
    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    I'm not sure Mandela would get a visa to visit!

    Why should we pay for the holidays of the rich and infamous?

    Dont see anyone in Government handing me a pile of cash to pay for my holiday anytime soon........

  • Comment number 59.

    46. At 11:47am on 04 Sep 2010, currykhan wrote:
    Would we be having this debate if Mandela was visiting?

    I'd want to debate it if he visited and the tax payer was expected to pay. The man was convicted of terrorism after all.

    -----------------------

    How dare you compare Nelson Mandela, a man that has practically all of the worlds affection and respect, with this man?

  • Comment number 60.

    As I understand it the Pope is coming here as a Head of State. As such he should be afforded exactly the same treatment as any other in that capacity. Any specific religious functions that he attends are a matter for the RC Church and should be self-funded.

  • Comment number 61.

    The consensus here seems to be that the tax payers should not pay for the visit as the pope is the head of a religion, not just a head of state, and that the UK is a secuar country...

    That being the case can I refuse for any of my, or my family's, taxes to go toward the upkeep of the queen and her family. I and none of my family believe in having a monarch as head of state (the pope is actually more democratically legitimite as a head of state than our queen), nor have paid any allegiance to her. As she is head of a religion that I, and the majority of the UK, do not adhere to I find it abhorrent that any taxes go toward her upkeep, which costs a fair amount more than it will cost for tax payers to fund the 'STATE' visit of the pope (not the religious aspects which the vatican is covering). When the Queen travels round the world who pays for her visits to other countries?

    I think there is a lot of pots calling a lot kettles black on this forum.

  • Comment number 62.

    We should fund those aspects that are State, Meeting the Queen, Prime Minister and other political leaders but not those aspects that are religon.

    The Catholic Church is a very rich organisation, they should be paying for his security, accommodation on those aspects where he is performing as the Head of the Catholic Church.

  • Comment number 63.

    Why does it cost so much? Where does the money go exactly? If most of the money goes to British workers, then it may not be so bad after all.

  • Comment number 64.

    The Catholic church is anti-women, anti-gay & anti-abortion. Of course we shouldn't pay for the Pope's visit but we live in a hypocritical age and those at "the top" will welcome the Pope and fawn over him but then two weeks' later denounce the draconian views held by the Catholic church.

  • Comment number 65.

    Does the Vatican want to pay for me to go on an all expenses paid visit to Rome ?

    Thought not.

    So, no.

  • Comment number 66.

    It seems like people nowadays do not practising religion a lot.

    So people are not happy to pay attention or pay money.

    Converting people, societies.


    Rising non religous people in the world.


    Religion allways creat problems

  • Comment number 67.

    No

  • Comment number 68.

    • 1. At 10:25am on 04 Sep 2010, PETERJMARTIN wrote:
    The taxpayer should not have any of the cost of the Pope's visit and that should include security. This should apply to any religious or cultural figure. The problem is the Pope was invited to come by Gordon Brown and this puts the taxpayer in a difficult position. The government should never get involved in religion

    Like it or not, the Pope is a head of state, The Vatican is a separate state and the Pope is the head of it and he has been elected (more than some heads of state). So religious or not those arguing this point are a little misinformed.

    Your argument about governance and religion is a rather odd one, the laws of this land are based on Christian beliefs and ideals, it is ridiculous to say otherwise. The Queen of England is a religious figure as she is the head of the Church of England and Head of State and any of her Prime Ministers are obliged to protect that.

    Are we the British people so unfriendly these days that we are so insular in our ways, we have no beliefs, no relationship with our neighbours, and no input to our society and will not welcome foreign dignitaries.

    If we were to be invaded today by a foreign power, What would we fight for?

  • Comment number 69.

    Many comments on this HYS mention that the pope is head of State and therefore entitled to taxpayers funding. How many Heads of state travel the country, hold court in the form of Mass where his followers can hear him speak, some kiss his hand, have prayers send up to heaven for him and where he is apparently revered as the impersonification of Christ? We cannot compare this with G20 meetings because their focus is very different. State visits are held in London with may be a short visit, often almost unnoticed, to specific places in the country. Let the pope go to london, let him be received by the Queen, let him have a ride through the City, have a meeting with his Bishops in London and then he can go home again. That is what`State visits are about. They are mostly a waste of money at the best of times. Those occasions are paid for out of our taxes but that should not cover open air masses, police protection, crowd control, transport, and all those other costs that will be incurred adding up to 12 million GBP, not counting the police involvement. That amount of money would cover more than one third of rebuilding our two crumbling local high schools. Catholic members have been reluctant to part with their money to cover the cost, many have been reluctant to buy tickets to attend the events, many don't want openly be seen as supporting a man whose views are so humiliating to so many. I believe that our strong resentment has been evoked by this pope's attitude towards women, homosexuals and lesbians, and in particular by his very slow, almost unwilling, admittance that in the past so many priests were paedophiles and his limited reaction to demands that current paedophile priests should immediately be reported to the police, defrocked and taken to court.

  • Comment number 70.

    NO, simple answer to a simple question..

  • Comment number 71.

    Some people do not seem to appreciate that the Vatican City is a State recognised by the international community and the Pope is Head of that State; hence a 'State Visit', the formal parts of which are funded no differently than any other official visit to this country by a Head of State. The controversial aspects of the visit are those involving the Pontiff's religious programme, not covered by the usual State funding. Here, I agree with those who say that taxpayers' money should not be involved and that the Roman Catholic church by whatever means should pick up the bill. It is the old chestnut of separation of the Church from the State!

  • Comment number 72.

    No the catholic churchgoers should pay , after all they are the ones who want him here , I have no problem people believing in what they want , but i do object to paying for it. This person means nothing whatever to me .

  • Comment number 73.

    HE IS LUCKY MAN

    ISNT IT ?

  • Comment number 74.

    The Pope and his predecessors have been partly responsible, through their inexplicable stance against barrier contraception, for the spread of AIDs and of overpopulation and poverty in the Catholic developing world. I deplore their inability see beyond a bible written nearly 2000 years ago by people of their time. I also deplore the Vatican's homophobia and continuing state of denial regarding child abuse by Catholic priests.

    For this I do not think his visit should be recognised by the state. If his flock want to see him the Vatican and the English RC church should pay all costs.

  • Comment number 75.

    As ever people, thanks to the tabloids, forget how the tax system works. The money isn't yours any longer once it's been paid over to the revenue. It's their money now. So they can they do what they want with it. There may be issues about what they spend it on, but that's a separate one. If you don't like it then the next election gives you a chance to say something about that

  • Comment number 76.

    Personally no, I don't beleive in god & therefore this man is of no relevance at all to me. He is not visiting as an ambassador to Vatican city, but as a religious figure, therefore it should be the church that pays.
    The other option is to have an opt in or out policy whereby people can elect for a proportion of their hard earned cash to go to funding the visit. I think the uptake on this (or lack of, as I suspect) will go a long way toward proving that religion is not as important in the modern world as it thinks it is & maybe we can put our money towards things that really matter.
    As John #65 said, When the church is happy to pay for my all expenses trip to the Vatican to have a look at the pretty buildings then I'll be more than happy to pay for an old man to come here.

  • Comment number 77.

    We've had this one before - I think we should. He's the head of state of The Vatican City as well as the head of The Catholic Church.

    As someone else has pointed out, The Queen is head of state and head of The Church of England. If we don't pay for The Pope, other countries shouldn't pay for The Queen visiting them, we should.

    Don't mind which way it is, as long as it's the same for both.

  • Comment number 78.

    Is it not usual that the host State covers some of the costs for a State visit?

    The Pope´s visit is a State visit. The Catholic church bears some of the costs and the costs for all British taxpayers are mainly those related to security. The British Government has decided and determined what security is necessary.

  • Comment number 79.

    One head/leader, the Pope, of Roman Catholics. Responsible for the Catholic religious community globally?

    Who is the head of Protestants?
    Who is the head of Islam?
    Who is the head of Baptists? Etc., etc?

    Religions of all denominations, is an increasing and lucrative business model globally. Where are the head offices of other religions/faiths et al? Where does the buck stop - who is responsible - who is the CEO of all other religions? Religions survive through money - if your religion does not publish it's accounts - don't fund it?!!

  • Comment number 80.

    No the catholic church is loaded always has been and any visit by the pope should be funded by the church. there are many who are not interested in him or dislike him or do not belong to his church so no time for the churches to fund there people.

  • Comment number 81.

    NO. I do not agree with the head of a religion telling me he is opposed to the Condems when, God love us, I am an atheist. (I expect I have broken a "house rule" again or offended the politically correct moderators more like). But to be serious I think we should only pay for the man's security whilst he is a guest in the UK - just the same as any other visiting controversial public figure invited by HMG.

  • Comment number 82.

    NO!!!

  • Comment number 83.

    It is a state visit – End of.

    Will the BBC choose some real news to debate here rather than endlessly going over the same topics time after time after time.

  • Comment number 84.

    I do not bother with religion myself, but have no worries that others wish to, for whatever reason.

    Those who object forget that there are several million Roman Catholics in this country and they are taxpayers.

    To be honest, after his recent outburst against British Petroleum, I would hope President Obama stays away from our shores as his language has not been Presidential.

  • Comment number 85.

    Diplomacy costs nothing and every day we see our politicians shake hands with some of the most evil people.If they did`nt appear to be two faced,they would`nt get through the door.Diplomacy allows over time for our politicians to chip away at tyranny.
    I might not like religious belief but this does not mean a nation should be rude towards the pope or any other visitor to the uk.In a country with free speech,we must agree to disagree and go on our separate ways taking criticism like water off a ducks back.I am happy to see my taxes pay for the popes visit just as i am happy for our own head of state given the attire needed at the tax payers expense.

  • Comment number 86.

    Another point worth mentioning is that all so-called religious organisations can apply for charitable status via the Charities Commission.

    What this means is that, in England, you can apply for tax concessions, or pay no tax at all, if you state you are religiously affiliated? Is that right?

    So, by the current 'regulations' by the Charity Commission, religions enjoy a tax loophole not available to non-religious business?

  • Comment number 87.

    No way we should pay anything towards the Catholic church and its dignatories. The impertinence of the man!

    The Catholic church is fabulously rich - sell some assets or get the Catholics to dig into their pockets.

    I don't want this man anywhere near this country.

  • Comment number 88.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 89.

    No definitely not! The Roman Catholic Church should.

  • Comment number 90.

    I am an atheist, yet my answer is a resounding YES.

    You don't have to believe in a god to offer a smile and a welcoming handshake. And don't forget, there are millions of taxpayers who are catholics. There are many things I don't want my taxes spent on, but I don't mind paying for the popes visit if it makes those catholics happy.

    Would I kneel and kiss his ring and all that?

    Of course not; that is for the Queen only.
    But I wouldn't be rude to him either. However, I would be politer to him than I would Blair, Brown or Camerclegg.

    The pope is not my spiritual leader. No one is, because I believe that god and gods are bunkum. However, millions of people do believe in him.

    I have said it many times, if you are an atheist show a bit of class and don't seek to disprove what others believe. It shows your own insecurity.

    If you are a christian of a different gang, then BEHAVE like a christian and open your arms to him. Ditto islam and judaism. Remember your much celebrated duty as host.

    He is if nothing else, a much loved and respected man by millions and millions of people. Would you lot all be whining if the Dalai Lama was coming?

    I know that the Catholic church is in a mess, but aside from the entirely secular need to root out and destroy paedophilia in the priesthood, anything else that emanates from the Vatican is not the business of atheists, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, Buddhists or Jedi knights.

    This comment particularly annoys me for its hypocrisy and ignorance.

    >>>>>

    59. At 12:14pm on 04 Sep 2010, Graham wrote:
    46. At 11:47am on 04 Sep 2010, currykhan wrote:
    Would we be having this debate if Mandela was visiting?

    I'd want to debate it if he visited and the tax payer was expected to pay. The man was convicted of terrorism after all.

    -----------------------

    How dare you compare Nelson Mandela, a man that has practically all of the worlds affection and respect, with this man?

    >>>>>

    How dare you dismiss the spiritual leader of hundreds of millions of people?

    Can't you see that they share astonishingly similar circumstances? Each had a distasteful, even repugnant earlier time in their life? Then each renounced it and moved on to achieve and facilitate goodness?

    Your comment is completely negated.

  • Comment number 91.

    No it is not right at all if it is true "there is no more money left"
    how can this government justify spending all that money on the pope's visit.

  • Comment number 92.

    Should the tax-payer fund religious organisations of any denomination in the UK?

    Actually, the tax-payer does this already, in £billions of tax exemptions every year, via tax-relief via various forms of 'charitable status' etc., etc. A very long and lucrative chain.

    You know how to search Charities Commission or 'google' any 'minor' 'charity registered' business that sells your free clothes donations abroad? Said enough, go search.

  • Comment number 93.

    This comment was removed because the moderators found it broke the house rules. Explain.

  • Comment number 94.

    45. At 11:46am on 04 Sep 2010, barryp wrote:
    If this were a truly 'State Visit', with the normal Public functions, the answer would most definitely be Yes the Taxpayer should pick up the bill. However, since the visit seems to be almost entirely private, with even the 'Public events' all ticket, the Taxpayer should only provide the minimal hospitality due to the visiting head of a Religious cult....
    ----------------------------------------------

    The case is not clearcut. Yes, he is an official Head of State invited by the UK Government (and nominally by UK Head of State, HM Queen) but, as you say, he has his own agenda that is not organized by the Foreign Office. In mitigation, British Catholics also have been invited by their clergy to contribute funds for the visit. He claims to be 'Christ's Vicar on Earth' thus religion is his 'bag' and the only activity he cares about so one cannot be surprised if the UK Government does not antagonise British Catholics by snubbing him. It is all politics in the end.

    Just like you, I don't want to see him or pay for him but then I don't want to pay for so many things the Government insists that I should.

  • Comment number 95.

    I like to watch rugby which is why I pay for a season ticket at Welford Road. So, if all those blokes in frocks who like playing with choirboys will pay for my season ticket, I'll happily chuck in a few quid for their boss to come over here.

  • Comment number 96.

    Like it or not, the pope is head of state of the Vatican City, and has been invited here by the head of state of the UK (HMQ) In that case, whether we like it or not, the government should pick up the tab. I am no fan of the pope, or indeed of any religion or its representitives, but there have been a lot more objectional people feted by the British government over the years.
    It's surely time to show some of our famous British tolerance over this one, and to afford our visitors, of whatever type, a warm welcome.

  • Comment number 97.

    Do not neglect to show hospitality to strangers, for thereby some have entertained angels unawares.

    (Hebrews 13:2)

  • Comment number 98.

    No the tax payer shouldn't pay for the invisible man in the sky's representative here on earth to go on holiday. The invisible man in the sky should magic some Euros out of nothing to pay for the trip!

  • Comment number 99.

    84. At 1:03pm on 04 Sep 2010, Andrew Lye wrote:

    To be honest, after his recent outburst against British Petroleum, I would hope President Obama stays away from our shores as his language has not been Presidential.

    >>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>>

    Couldnt agree more.

    However do you see any of our political leaders (Cameroon/Clegg/Minibland 1&2/any of the others) having the bottle to tell Obmapot to get stuffed next time he fancies an all expenses paid jolly?

    They will be too busy falling over themselves to kiss our senior partners rear! Just like Cameroon did in Washington.

  • Comment number 100.

    The Pope is also the head of state of the Vatican City State which is a separate country. The Pope should be treated the same as any visiting head of state.

 

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