•Atheism UKI think some of these groups count their members by handfuls, I mean how many Plymouth Humanists are there?
•British Humanist Association
•Central London Humanist Group
•Council of ex-Muslims of Britain
•Gay & Lesbian Humanist Association
•Humanist Association of Northern Ireland
•Humanist Society of Scotland
•International Humanist and Ethical Union
•Liverpool Humanist Group
•The Marches Secularists
•National Secular Society
•North London Humanists
•One Law for All
•Plymouth Humanist Group
•The Richmond upon Thames LGBT Forum
•Southall Black Sisters
•South West London Humanists
•Women Against Fundamentalism
The media, have built up a good head of steam for protest, Channel 4 gave Peter Tatchell a free advertising slot, the BBC put the "Pope on trial", various Guardian and Independent journalists have been drumming up support for the campaign for weeks. Secularist philosopher have been dragged into newsrooms, actors like Fry have been twittering, even dear old Liberal Catholics have been paying out good money for ads on buses.
All that being said, I think their is anger abroad, first those who genuinely feel that taxes paid by Catholics should not be used for a visit of our Pope. Who mentions the cost of a State or any other visit for any other Head of State, or the security for anyone else for that matter? n austere times there is a natural concern over unnecessary government expenditure, especially coming on the back of MP's expenses.
The other important group are those genuinely angry with the Catholic Church. Not just those who see us as a monolithic agency for child abuse and cover-up. There are plenty of others who are just angry with the Church partly because they actually hate our moral stance on a number of issues; there are the divorced, women who have had abortions and yes other libertarians who see us as a bastion of the old morality which they really see needs to be overthrown; a whole strata from young Trots to at least parts of the gay "community" - lots of course were sitting at home watching the Pope on telly thinking it was all wonderful.
Another group of course are those Englishmen who just hate Catholicism, today they have have lost the veneer of fundamentalist Protestantism and draped themselves in the new flag of aggresive atheism.
Then of course there are those on the left who just love a good demonstration.
All that being said I think it is also a demonstration of how little the Church is seen as doing any good in society, we tone down our Christianity, organisation, even schools adopt neutral names. Our local secondary school for example is simply known as "Newman". Stephen Fry last year fronted something called a "Night Under the Stars" a fundraiser for "The Passage", I am told that although he knew it was a charity for the homeless, he didn't quite understand it upheld the same abominable views of the ghastly Pope and was actually a very Catholic charity. The same could be said for CAFOD, which is just known by its initials, those who deal with it I suspect, maybe even those who work for it aren't quite sure what the "C" stands for.
It is a bit like nuns and veils or priests and collars, get rid of them and everyone just assumes we are part of the greyness of secular society.
What was it the Pope said about schools, and perhaps other instituitions, being "demonstrably" Catholic?
I think there is also something about the divisions in our society but also the difficulties of the heirarchy in explaining and teaching Catholic belief and to equip the laity to do that effectively and fully.
The Pope has an hour and half tomorrow in a close of visit forum the explain the importance of that.