Pope's critique of atheism, Nazism stirs Britons

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FROM THE BBC. A speech in which the Pope appeared to associate atheism with the Nazis has prompted criticism from humanist organisations.

However, the Catholic Church has moved to play down the controversy, saying the Pope knew "rather well what the Nazi ideology is about".

Humanists have said the comments were a "terrible libel" against non-believers.

In his address, the Pope spoke of "a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society".

He went on to urge the UK to guard against "aggressive forms of secularism".

The Pope made his remarks in his opening address to the Queen at Holyroodhouse in Edinburgh.

He said: "Even in our own lifetimes we can recall how Britain and her leaders stood against a Nazi tyranny that wished to eradicate God from society and denied our common humanity to many, especially the Jews, who were thought unfit to live.

"As we reflect on the sobering lessons of atheist extremism of the 20th century, let us never forget how the exclusion of God, religion and virtue from public life leads ultimately to a truncated vision of man and of society and thus a reductive vision of a person and his destiny."

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