The Pope's intervention over the Government's equality agenda and legislation is unwelcome and unhelpful.
The pontiff said that "the effect of some of the legislation designed to achieve this goal [of equality] has been to impose unjust limitations on the freedom of religious communities to act in accordance with their beliefs". He said that Catholic Bishops must invoke "missionary zeal" to resist it.
Everyone is entitled to express their view and in a secular society the Catholic Church should be treated as one voice amongst many but there is no excuse for the pope to be so badly misinformed.
The new Equality Bill tidies up a whole host of equalities legislation and extends anti-discrimination laws in some areas. But it does not affect Catholic schools which are covered by separate legislation and it certainly does not affect churches' hiring for religious posts. The Church should have nothing to fear from the new Bill.
Therefore, I can't understand his intervention. When church attendances are in decline, I don't think this will win him or the Catholic Church in the UK many new friends. There's also something troubling about a foreign leader telling us to change the laws currently being voted on by our elected representatives. Better for him to stay out of it altogether.