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Clergyman says Britain's ills are divine retribution for Queen's meeting with Pope
    Queen Elizabeth II and the Scottish First Minister - who have both met the Pope within the past six months - have been blamed for the floods, train crashes and foot-and-mouth epidemic, which have all plagued Britain in recent months.
    Rev John McLeod, a Presbyterian minister, wrote to the Queen last week pointing out that since the Queen's Vatican visit last October, 'the nation has passed through difficult times and, for our part, we cannot but see the hand of God'.
    He told her that her loyal subjects in his presbytery could not "be other than grieved by the spectacle of our Sovereign Head, clad in penitential black, paying her respects to the person identified by the Westminster divines in their Confession of Faith as 'the man of sin and son of perdition'."
    McLeod also criticised First Minister Henry McLeish for extending "warm greetings from the people of Scotland" to the Pontiff during his visit in December. He reminded the First Minister that the Pope is 'that Antichrist, that man of sin, and son of perdition, that exalteth himself, in the Church, against Christ and all that is called God'.
    He concluded: "We believe that there may well be a connection between [the First Minister's meeting with the Pope] and the troubles which afflict our nation at present, not least of which is the sudden appearance of the virus causing Foot-and-Mouth Disease."
    McLeod called upon the First Minister to proclaim a "national day of humiliation and prayer, in the hope that the Lord's judgments may be turned away from us."