Sally Bercow's Pope tweets cause a stir

News Web User Sep 16, 2010

The wife of a senior politician has caused a stir with her comments about the state visit of Pope Benedict XVI.

Right-wing tabloid the Daily Mail has accused the wife of a senior politician of joining in a "hate campaign" against Pope Benedict.

Sally Bercow, wife of House of Commons speaker John Bercow, wrote on Twitter: "The Pope has landed Mark the occasion by sponsoring my parachute jump for Stonewall UK and gay rights."

The Daily Mail described the tweet as an "embarrassment" for the Commons Speaker, who will welcome Pope Benedict XVI to Parliament on Friday.

But Bercow isn't the only person on Twitter to make reference to the Pope's official visit. The Vatican's views on homosexuality have caused much controversy in the past, though other tweeters are more concerned about Ratzinger's role in allegedly covering up cases of child abuse committed by members of the Catholic church.

"The Pope speaks of the 'threat' of moral relativism when 'mental reservation' was used by his minions to lie about child abuse. Repugnant," one tweeter wrote.

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The Pope has also caused controversy by comparing atheism with National Socialism in Germany, days after a senior cardinal called the UK a "third-world country" where militant atheism was on the rise.

These comments led to further derision from tweeters. "No, Mr Pope - demonstrating against child abuse is not 'aggressive secularism". Me pointing a howitzer at your mitre, NOW we're getting there," wrote TV and radio presenter Sue Perkins.

"The Pope called us all Nazis! Isn't that sweet! It's like the internet - someone always brings up Hitler when they know they've lost," another member wrote.

However, some have been leaping to the Vatican's defence. The Daily Mail unironically described it as a "hate campaign" led by Stephen Fry.

For his part, Fry has said that the Pope is welcome in the UK, but opposes his status as an official state visitor.

"Under no reasonable or worthwhile definition does the Vatican match up to the old-established and widely accepted Montevideo protocols on statehood. So by all means come, but please don't ask the British taxpayer (a figure whom the Daily Mail is usually so zealous to protect) to help foot the bill," he wrote on his blog.