BY BRIGITTE ISTIM
MARTIN SALTER, Labour MP for Reading West since 1997, has apologised for calling the Pope a “bloke in a dress” in a Daily Telegraph blog.
Mr Salter complained of the Pontiff’s “hypocrisy” after he criticised Labour’s equality legislation. Mr Salter said the Vatican should desist from telling an elected Parliament what it may or may not do, especially when he said the Catholic Church showed more interest in protecting the rights of “predatory paedophiles” as opposed to those of women and gay people.
His post attracted scores of comments. Fr Bruce Barnes, parish priest at Christ the King church in Mr Salter’s constituency, said: “If you criticise the Pope, you in effect criticise the whole Catholic Church. I’m sorry if Martin Salter finds us offensive – he should perhaps remember all the good work the Church has done in his constituency.” Mr Salter, who is standing down at the general election, said the next day: “It was certainly not my intention to cause any major offence to Catholics or anybody else in my latest blog post and I am sorry if people are upset by what I had to say. All I was seeking to do was to make some serious points in a lighthearted way. I am not against religion in any form.”