BY TOM BROOKS-POLLOCK A WEBSITE aimed at promoting the safety of Benedict XVI during the papal visit in September was launched last week.
ProtectThePope.com, set up by Nick Donnelly, a permanent deacon of the Diocese of Lancaster, also allows users to keep a log of anti-Catholic incidents and encourages the reporting of alleged religious hate crimes to the police.
Mr Donnelly wrote on the site – whose strap line is “Protect the Holy Father through Prayer, Truth and the Law” – that: “When I talk to other Catholics about the Holy Father’s visit in September, most express concern about his safety.
“The unprecedented level of hostility, ridicule and illwill from certain public figures and sections of the press has got some Catholics genuinely worried that Pope Benedict is going to be embarrassed or even hurt.
“After centuries of insti tutionalised anti-Catholicism one thing Catholics in this country are sensitive about is religious hate, and there are plenty of signs that this is rearing its ugly head again.” So far, Protect the Pope has featured a discussion about a post on an Islamic website encouraging Muslims to protest against the Pope when he visits Birmingham. Another post highlights the Rev Ian Paisley’s call on the Coalition Government not to fund the papal visit.