Independent ignores 250,000 Catholics and exaggerates ‘gay kiss’ by couple of dozen

Dale Fuchs, of the Independent, has written a shameless piece about Pope Benedict’s visit to Barcelona that exaggerates the significance of the poorly attended so called ‘gay kiss-in’ and ignores the true numbers of Catholics who lined the streets and took part in the papal mass. The truth is that, according to the BBC, a couple of dozen homosexuals took part in the protests, and 250,000 Catholics welcomed Pope Benedict.

But you would get no indication of the truth of the matter from Dale Fuch’s work of fiction. According to the Independent:

‘ In some ways, Barcelona’s reception for Pope Benedict XVI yesterday was rather cool. Crowds were sparser than expected as he sped through the streets from Barcelona’s cathedral to consecrate the Sagrada Familia church…But the welcome could also be considered especially warm – hot and steamy even – as roughly 100 gay and lesbian couples greeted the Pope with a “collective kiss”‘

Its interesting to note that the Independent can’t bring itself to pass off as true the totally overblown figure of ’200′ protesters, but settles on 100. [Correction: Its been pointed out that the Independent mentions 100 'couples'. My bad! That'll teach me not to skim read] Judging by the narrow focus of most of the photos on websites, the BBC figure of a couple of dozen must be the more accurate figure.

The Independent continues with its prejudiced caricature of the papal visit:

‘The protest kiss is the most visible sign of the controversy sparked by the visit. A Catholic country, Spain might be expected to rejoice at the Pope’s decision to bless Gaudi’s life’s work, under construction for 125 years. And more than 3,000 turned out to watch the consecration ceremony on giant television screens in Barcelona. The Mass was even broadcast on national television…’

Protect the Pope comment: From the twisted perspective of the Independent editorial room a kiss by a couple of dozen homosexuals is the most visible sign of the controversy sparked by the visit. Well it wasn’t much of a controversy then was it. The Independent reads no significance into the 250,000 who lined the streets to catch a glimpse of the Holy Father, no significance into the 6,000 who received Holy Communion, no significance into the thousands who watched the Mass on outside screens.

Again and again Independent reporters and editorial team show they cannot be trusted to report the news about Pope Benedict and the Catholic Church.  The Independent is not a newspaper but a propaganda sheet for secularist anti-Catholics.

24 comments to Independent ignores 250,000 Catholics and exaggerates ‘gay kiss’ by couple of dozen

  • Tim H

    The Pope himself declares Spain is at the “epicentre” of a battle between “faith and modernity” in Europe. So I don’t think you can then blame journalists for looking for a topical illustration of that battle (and one that they can illustrate with some nice photos).

    If the Pope was just coming to Spain, smiling at the crowds and uttering a few non-contravertial platitdes (as the Queen might do on a foriegn trip) then it might be reasonable to expect him to recieve non-controvertial coverage.

    But, there is genuine controversy in Spain and a genuine conflict between the Government and the church. It is not unreasonable for a Newspaper to put its reporting into this context.

    I am happy to dismiss the kiss-in as a silly stunt that flopped, but your quote that “From the twisted perspective of the Independent editorial room a kiss by a couple of dozen homosexuals is the most visible sign of the controversy sparked by the visit. Well it wasn’t much of a controversy then was it.” seems to suggest that the Pope’s visit was not contravertial. I am sorry but that is simply not convincing because even the Pope himself regards Spain to be at the epicentre of a clash of values.

  • fd

    I saw the images of the visit on Italian Catholic network tv 2000, on the american Catholic network EWTN and on the Italian state run RAI 1 channel. I saw lots and lots of people cheering on the Pope and flaunting Vatican flags, just as it happened in the UK.There was a big cheer at the airport as well! And the Pope boarded the Plane greeting and smiling at the crowds who had gathered there to greet him.
    I remember that the very day the Pope landed in Scotland, to begin his UK trip, and was warmly welcomed by the people in Edinburgh, the website of the Italian daily La Repubblica read: the Pope lands in the UK,among protests and indifference…. They’re hopeless, aren’t they ?!!

  • Mike

    The figures of “100″ and “200″ surely go together. The 200 referred to individuals while the 100 referred to couples.

  • Lisa

    The Independent can always be trusted for printing downright lies. :)

  • Karla

    Who cares 200 gay people who went and kissed among thousands of of supporters of the Pope. What kind of stunt is that, immature. The Independent is a shallow newspaper.

  • Sean

    What amazes me is that a miniscule sexual minority can wield such massive influence in the mainstream media. The recent 2010 Integrated Household Survey in the UK asked three questions about sexual, religious and ethnic identity. The sexual question was about identity not ‘orientation’. The IHS data indicate that:
    • 95 per cent of adults identified themselves as Heterosexual/Straight
    • 1 per cent of adults identified themselves as Gay or Lesbian
    • 0.5 per cent of adults identified themselves as Bisexual
    • 0.5 per cent as ‘Other’
    • just under 3 per cent of adults stated they ‘Don’t know’ or Refused the question
    • fewer than 1 per cent of respondents provided No response to the question.

    71 per cent of people in Great Britain stated their religion was Christianity (the same percentage as in the 2001 census), 8 per cent any other religion and 21 per cent No religious affiliation. So 79% of GB’s (i.e. excluding Northern Ireland which would have made the percentage even higher for the UK as a whole) population self-identify as having a religion in some sense of the word.

    89 per cent of people in the UK consider themselves in the White ethnic group.

    Given the amount of coverage that homosexuals receive and the laws that have been put in place to promote their interests one would think that they form about half of the population. Zapatero’s Spain is actually worse than the UK’s New Labour government in promoting an anti-life agenda: gay marriage, abortion on demand, and, soon, euthanasia I suspect. Further, they show utter disrespect for the Catholic community which forms the vast majority of the population (Mass-going is not the only indicator but we should take into account self-identity as the UK’s IHS survey did).

    • James H

      American blogger and SF writer John Wright ( once said that homosexuals were merely ‘useful’ to the culture of death. The culture doesn’t necessarily love them any more, and will probably ‘throw them under the bus’ when their use-by date as church-baiters approaches.

    • Tim H

      Sean, Good to see you back commenting. Can you give me an example of a law which gives gay people rights that straight people do not have?

      Gay rights are not really gay rights. It is just short-hand for human rights for gay people.

      There are certainly more religious people in the UK than gay people (and there is of course some overlap), but we have laws to protect the human rights of other minorities (Jews, Muslims, disabled people each amount to no more than a couple of percent of the population)

  • How sad that The Independent is so anxious to lend its support to the homosexual agenda. For the lifestyle offers no hope, only spiritual, mental and physical damage.

    • Tim H

      On the physical health risks of homosexuality, it is indisputable that Gay men are at greater risk of STDs than straight men and that risk for lesbians is very low (and arrises almost completely from heterosexual behaviour – it is hardly surprising that the the straight relationships that lesbains have with men are likely to be problematic). This is because gay men tend to be more promiscious than straight men and also perhaps because behaviour may be riskier because pregnancy is not a worry. It has been suggested that promiscuity in gay men is not because they are gay but rather it is because they are men and that a greater proportion of straight men would also be promiscuous if they thought that they could get away with it but that they behave themselves because of the moderating effect of their female partners and because they are more likley to be married or in long term committed relationships (perhaps with children to consider).

      So whilst I acknowledge that there is a problem with high levels of promiscuity in some gay men I can’t see how the Church’s marginalisation of gays and their refusal to allow them to marry does anything other than makes the problem worse. I know several gay men who were part of a distructive lifestyle of drugs and promiscuity who are now in civil partnerships which have proved to be stable, long term and loving and which have caused an obvious improvement to their health and happiness.

      I only know two lesbian couples but in both cases at least one partner was previously in a sucession of unhappy and distructive heterosexual relationships (including, tragically, an underage abortion in one case) before they settled down with their current gay partners and in one case married them. Now part of these people’s stories undoubtly relate to the fact that people tend to become more responsbible as they get older, But if society were more accepting of gay people then they would be happier (and that is what they will tell you if you ask them – I am not quite sure what gives you the right to make alternative assumptions about their mental health on their behalf).

      Mental damage and misery is more likely to result if you force people to live a lifestyle that for whatever reason does not conform to their innate desires.

      You think that gay sex is wrong but disapproval of gay sex only makes sense if you have evidence that doing stops people being gay or forces gay people to be celibate. It seems to me that that is simply not the case. Disapproval of gay people does one of two things, it forces them into unhappy heterosexual realtionships (which is completely unfair on their partners) or it makes them more likely to have risky anoymouse, love free sex.

    • Tim H

      Your second paper is interesting. But to my mind the comparison needs to be between homosexuals who are having little or no gay sex and homosexuals who are practicing. The two groups are confused and refered to inconsitantly in the studies you report.

      You see, if just being gay (having same sex desire) makes you more prone to mental illness then that is an interesting piece of information, but it isn’t immediately obvious what one should do about it. For example the Church’s disappoval of gay sex doesn’t actually reduce the number of people who feel gay but who are not neccessarily practicing gay sex.

      Something like 2 or 3 percent of the population of the world is gay. There is nothing that those people can do to chance their homosexual desires. What they can do is change their behaviour (although I don’t pretend it is easy). It is possible for at least some gay people to become celibate or at the very least have less gay sex (and that is in essence the “love the sinner, hate the sin message that many churches have). The evidence which would perhaps vindicate the Church’s position would be a finding that gay people who are celibate (or at least attempting to be celibate) are less prone to mental health problems than gay people who are sexually active.

  • ninoinoz

    I think there is something that needs explaining about the protest in Spain.

    There were about 10,000 protesters (basically gay rights activists and their friends) on Piccadilly on the Saturday of the Papal visit.

    So why was the Barcelona protest so tiny in comparison?

    Is London so different from Barcelona?

    The UK is most certainly not a Catholic country, so why were they so scared of us here, but not in Spain, which most definitely is?

    A partial answer is Spain has a Socialist government, but the UK has a Conservative dominated coalition. But this is only a partial answer. I have some unformed ideas about this which need further development, but I think the key is the huge demographic changes that have taken place in London (especially) and the rest of UK over the last ten years. Furthermore, unless you are completely blind (hello to The Independent), you will have noticed the huge changes in the composition of the Catholic population, visible during the Papal Visit, more accentuated than in the population as a whole. I note the protest march in Piccadilly was almost entirely White.

    Now, to The Independent.

    I think that Johann Hari was so extreme during the Papal Visit to the UK that The Independent is now stuck with its anti-Catholicism. Any Catholic readers would have long deserted the paper leaving only the liberal ‘elite’ reading the paper. So, they continue to feed lies to their readers to sustain their worldview, safe that none have access to Catholic media and certainly don’t live in Barcelona. But this cannot continue, BBC News (at long last) has finally come good (they looked very foolish after Hyde Park) and has reported the Papal Visit to Barcelona and associated protests fairly.

    As always, reality breaks through eventually.

    • Tim H

      “So why was the Barcelona protest so tiny in comparison?

      Is London so different from Barcelona?”

      Part of the answer must be that the London protest was broader than just over gay rights. Gay people are a small proportion of the population so any exclusively gay event is going to have limited appeal especially if it reaquires you to be gay to participate). I was on the London Protest, if lived in Spain, I wouldn’t have protested there and one practical reason is that I haven’t got a gay partner to kiss. Even if I had, I might not feel that comfortable about taking part in a stunt rather than a more dignified march.

      I think you might be right about the difference in Government between the UK and Spain. In the Uk there are plenty of secularists who see their recent political gains as under threat from the UK Government (things like free schools, faith-based welfare etc worry us). The London march was not aimed solely to the Church. The Government was also our target which is why the march ended at Downing Street. Perhaps Spanish secularists don’t see that at this time?

      On the ethnic diversity point, I am not sure what your argument is, but my impressions of the London protest was that it was not exclusively white (I met a surprising number of japanese-origin people and the Southhall Black Sisters were part of the prganising coalition) and probably fairly refelective of the diversity in the Uk as a whole (although maybe more white than London). However, I suspect that the diversity among the Pope’s supporters was significantly greater, at least that is the impression I got judging by the number of national flags exiting Green Park station.

      The protest was about protecting the secular nature of the UK so it is not surpring that UK citizens were prodominsating. The Pope is Pope to Catholics all over the world so I am not surprised that more people travelled further to see him.

      • ninoinoz

        Thank you for a courteous reply to my post, Tim H.

        You say you wouldn’t have turned up in Barcelona as you don’t have a gay partner to kiss. Fair enough, but isn’t there a clerical child abuse scandal in Catalonia? Or don’t the Catalans care about minors being abused? You are curiously silent on this point, unlike your fellow protesters who had been focussing on this point incessantly. Why has this become a non-issue all of a sudden?

        You say the protest was not aimed solely at the Church. Sorry, I must have misunderstood the meaning of ‘Protest the Pope’. Apologies.

        As you were there and I was not (I was in Hyde Park), I have had to rely on evidence like the photos on Yahoo!News that day and a most helpful Flicker photo stream put together by Protest the Pope. Readers can track this evidence down and judge for themselves on the racial composition of the march.

        I feel I made my point clearly enough, but thank you for the oppotunity to make another, more telling, point at Protest the Pope’s expense. Before that Saturday, Protest the Pope accused the Holy Father of causing millions of deaths in Sub-Saharan Africa through Church teaching. The word ‘genocide’ was used. So, what do Africans actually think of the Holy Father? Enough to turn up in their thousands in Hyde Park and give your march a miss. It appears they are quite capable of thinking for themselves and do not need Peter Tatchell, Richard Dawkins et al to do it for them. Furthermore, Protest the Pope were very fond of claiming to represent large constituencies which were noticeably absent from the march on the day.

        Thank you for protecting the secular nature of the UK. Shame the Church of England is established with HM Queen as its head in this country. You seem to think we’ve had a revolution in this country like France or Russia. You’re right, but it was a Protestant revolution, not a secular one. When are you planning to have yours?

        It is perhaps true that Catholics travelled farther to see the Holy Father. I myself travelled all the way from Hammersmith to Hyde Park Corner on the Piccadilly Line. I think you’ll find those non-UK citizens you refer also live in the capital, especially South London.

        • Tim H

          Thanks Ninoinoz,

          You are right that there is a Clerical abuse scandel in Catalonia, but even if I did think that that was an issue worth protesting about (and as you will judge from my other posts, I don’t actually think that the Church on the whole and in general comes out too badly on this issue although they have certain habbits such as secracy that is unhelpful as is the uncritical acceptance of their actions by the authorities), I would still not neccessarily join a protest which was about other issues.

          The Church’s opponents are a diverse group in terms of their objections(the issue that motivates me the most is the Pope’s attack on a secular society that I am actually rather proud of) and the strength of the London protest was that it broght together people with different motives. That is why is was always going to be bigger numerically than a single issue protest.

          I completely agree with you about the wrongness of having an established church in the UK. This means that despite the progress made towards de facto secularism in the UK we still have a long way to go. For the record the National Secular Society (who were part of the Protest the Pope coalition) have campaigned long and hard for disestablishment of the Church of England and to try and remove the unfair privileges that the C of E has in our country (fr example bishops in the Lords and the ban on UK monarchs being Catholic). Secularism does not neccessarily go hand in hand with anti-religion. It would be dishonest to say that the churches have nothing to loose from increased secularism in the UK and they would have to give up certain privileges, but they would also gain much especially minority denominations like Catholicism who are presently disadvantaged over Anglicans. Plenty of atheists are not automatically anti-religious. Although many of them find religion foolish and obsurd and can be unthinkingly rude about them, I think that active opposition to the churches would be greatly reduced if the churches didn’t try and interfer in society.

          I can only speak for myself, but some of my protest was directed at the Government. After all a few thousand protestors are unlikley to make the Pope change Catholic dogma (I am sure you will agree), but UK policians can chance their policies in response to pressure from UK citizens. I don’t hate the Pope and if he wants to come here and hold a big mass in a park that is fine by me. But the moment he starts comparing secularism with Nazism or attacking vaules like equality that I hold dear, I do have a right, indeed a duty, to stand up in protest.

          I have no idea how many people travelled from outside the UK to see the Pope (perhaps you can hazard a guess as you were there). My impression that people had come a long way was based on the large number of people who were carrying foreign flags in Green Park. Perhaps some of them lived in London perhaps not. My point was that Catholicism is international (one of its good points), but that it would have been odd for non UK citizens to travel to the UK in defence of secularism in the UK.

      • Karla

        ”Dignified March” that is questionable. A lot of the signs where disgusting, false, hateful and just plain wrong.

        • Tim H

          Karla, most people did not have signs. The vast majority of people conducted themselves in a dignified, friendly and good natured way. I think if you compare the London march to what happened in Spain or yesterday’s student demo in London you must conclude that as protests go it was at the dignified and well behaved end of the spectrum. If its target had not been religious noone would have objected to the manner in which it was conducted, but there seems to be a false idea that religous ideas are deserving of a greater level of respect than any other idea in society.

  • fd

    Italian daily Avvenire has published an article which carries the title: “If a protest is big only in the media”.
    That’s because most Italian newspapers on Monday exageratedly and unduly emphasized the protest.

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