The Foreign Office has apologised for a “foolish” document which suggested the Pope’s UK visit could be marked by the launch of “Benedict-branded” condoms.
The junior civil servant responsible had been put on other duties, it said.
Called “The ideal visit would see…”, the paper suggested the Pope be invited to open an abortion clinic and bless a gay marriage during September’s visit…
The UK’s ambassador to the Vatican, Francis Campbell, has met senior officials of the Holy See to express regret on behalf of the government.
The paper was attached as one of three “background documents” to a memo dated 5 March 2010 inviting officials in Whitehall and Downing Street to attend a meeting to discuss themes for the papal visit…
But it has, nevertheless, the potential to cause considerable damage. Whether fairly or not, it will leave some Catholics with the impression of a culture within official circles in which their Church’s teaching is not taken seriously.
We can only hope.
Some will suspect prejudice against faith groups. Perhaps most damaging of all, it could leave an impression that the Pope might be regarded as a figure of fun less than five months before his state visit to Britain.
It went on to propose the Pope could apologise for the Spanish Armada or sing a song with the Queen for charity.
Bet the Queen can carry a tune better than the Pope. Actually, I can’t think of anything the Pope does really well. He’s not succeeding at retaining his flock, is he, eh?