The Scotsman leader (12 February) states that the papacy is the oldest functioning democracy because 160 old male Cardinals elect a Pope. The papacy is more accurately called an authoritarian monarchy elected by a small college of senior bachelor clerics. The billion or more people who have some connection with the Church of Rome have no say and the ballot and the governance of the Church systematically excludes the greater half of the Church's adherents who happen to be female from senior positions. It is a travesty that, in a democratic Scotland pledged to gender equality, the Scottish Parliament allows this authoritarian Church to systematically indoctrinate some of our children in state funded religious schools.
Letter published in the Scotsman newspaper 13 February 2013
Product warning: This online version has been slightly amended to give greater emphasis to the fact that the Scottish Parliament has had powers to end separate state funded Roman Catholic schooling since 1999. There is thus no reason to believe that Scottish independence would make any difference to this form of religious privilege.