Hundreds of people are expected to join a march protesting against the Pope’s visit to the UK in central London this Saturday.
The Pontiff arrives in the UK on Thursday for a four-day visit and the march has been organised by campaigners angry at state funding of the trip.
They will also protest against his teachings on homosexuality, abortion and contraception.
Many of the speakers at Saturday’s event are gay. They include Catholic priest Father Bernard Lynch, president of the National Secular Society Terry Sanderson, chief executive of the British Humanist Association Andrew Copson and gay rights campaigner Peter Tatchell.
Other speakers will be Richard Dawkins, science writer Dr Ben Goldacre and sex abuse survivor Sue Cox.
Mr Tatchell, who helped organise the march, said: “The Pope has attacked same-sex marriages as ‘evil’ and vilified supporters of gay equality as ‘gravely immoral.’ He has also denounced homosexual equality as a ‘deviant trend’ and condemned same-sex love as being ‘without any social value.’ He even threatened to deny mass and excommunicate Catholic legislators who voted for gay rights laws.”
Dr Goldacre added: “I am supporting the campaign because the Catholic Church, with their foolish and aggressive campaign to stop people at risk from using condoms, exacerbate the epidemic of AIDS which kills two million people every year. For such a powerful international organisation, that claims to do good, this is barely forgivable.”
According to a Facebook page for the event, more than 1,000 people will attend the march.
The march will begin at Hyde Park corner at 1.30pm and arrive at Downing Street at 3.30pm for a rally.