A permanent deacon from the Diocese of Lancaster, has launched a website this week, called: 'Protect the Pope' - in response to groups such as 'Protest the Pope' which have been gaining publicity since the announcement of Pope Benedict's visit to the UK.
Deacon Nick Donnelly said the website aims to inform Catholics on the law regarding hate crimes and provide them with the means of easily reporting incitement to religious hatred or acts of religious hatred to the police during the Holy Father’s visit.
Protect the Pope.com also seeks to record incidents of anti-Catholicism in the media and internet as a way of raising awareness among Catholics and the wider community of this prejudice.
Deacon Nick Donnelly told ICN: "I think we have to challenge the assumption that anti-Catholicism is acceptable. Not in a hysterical fashion, but with information and reason. If we shine the light of publicity and truth on this prejudice it will gradually wither away. Bullies don't like being exposed.
"Since 2006 we’ve had the legal right to protect ourselves from religious hatred. Of course people in this country have freedom of expression, but this does not mean they have the right to create a climate of hostility and fear. It’s a question of protecting our human rights to freedom of belief and freedom of worship."