Really, I think that it is time we have some sort of membership test for being Catholic. Some sort of certificate that you meet at least the basic definition of adherence to the faith and remain in good standing. Further, before any journalist can quote you saying “As a Catholic” validation of status must be checked.

This is necessary to avoid the aggravation of listening to the Nacy Pelosis and Patrick Kennedys of the world opine on matters religious as if their opinion mattered. But this is surely not just a U.S. phenomenon. Case in point. Member of the European Parliament from Britain Stephen Hughes had this to say about the Pope’s defense of religious liberty.

Speaking at a meeting of the European Parliament’s Socialists and Democrats in Rome, Stephen Hughes criticised Pope Benedict’s concern that the Equality Bill would restrict religious groups from acting in accordance with their faith.

As a Catholic, I am appalled by the attitude of the Pope. Religious leaders should be trying to eradicate inequality, not perpetuate it,’ Hughes said in a statement reproduced on his website. ‘Instead of criticising the UK’s plans to improve its legislation, the Pope should ensure that existing EU legislation is properly applied in the Vatican,’ Hughes said.

The Pope, who announced the first papal visit to Britain since 1982 on Monday, urged Bishops from England and Wales to make a convincing case against legislation that could force churches to hire homosexuals or transsexuals. He said the legislation violates natural law and told the visiting bishops they should fight it with ‘missionary zeal.’ Human Rights groups have hit back at the Pope’s comments.

Yeah, sorry mate. It says here that your membership dues are not up to date. You can’t say that you are a Catholic. If you just head down to you local Catholic membership office, its the big building with the steeple, they can remedy this problem in a jiff. Just sign on the dotted line that you have read and agree with everything in the Catechism and then I can quote you. Until then, well, you know, members only.