A documentary about Pope Benedict XVI by gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell will be screened on Channel 4 next Monday evening.

The Trouble with the Pope will be shown three days before the Pope arrives in Britain for a four-day tour.

It examines his teachings on issues such as gay rights, stem cell research, abortion and contraception, along with the church’s reaction to the child sex abuse scandal.

Among those interviewed are survivors of sexual abuse perpetrated by priests, a sufferer of motor neurone disease and a Catholic historian.

Mr Tatchell, who is leading protests against the visit, said that the documentary was “thoughtful” and had attempted to find a balanced range of views about the Pope’s teachings.

He said: “Most of our interviewees are Catholics; some are supportive of the Pope, others critical. Our aim was to include all viewpoints, so we made great efforts to seek the participation of
leading Catholic figures.”

However, he said that Catholic leadership in the Vatican and the UK had rejected requests for interviews. Instead, a spokeswoman from the pressure group, Catholic Voices, was interviewed.

Opponents to the partly state-funded visit will hold a protest in London on September 18th, during the visit.

During his trip, the Pope will conduct several open-air masses and beatify Cardinal Newman.

Last week, a survey by thinktank Theos found that 77 per cent of participants on an online survey of 2,005 adults did not agree that the taxpayer should contribute to the visit’s bill.

The findings follow reports earlier this year that the government cost of the trip – previously estimated at £8 million – could rise to between £10 million and £12 million.

However, these figures do not include a bill for policing the visit.

The Trouble with the Pope will be broadcast on Monday September 13th on Channel 4 at 8pm.