A journey through the Beauty and Glory of the Catholic Faith
Saturday, 24 April 2010
Should the Pope come to England?
The following is taken from the BBC news website!
Foreign Office apologises for Pope 'condom' memo
The Pope is due to visit Britain in September
The Foreign Office has apologised for a "foolish" document which suggested the Pope's UK visit could be marked by the launch of "Benedict brand" 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.
It was obtained by the Sunday Telegraph. Foreign Secretary David Miliband is said to be "appalled".
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.
It suggested Benedict XVI could show his hard line on the sensitive issue of child abuse allegations against Roman Catholic priests by "sacking dodgy bishops" and launching a helpline for abused children.
The official responsible said in a cover note: "Please protect; these should not be shared externally. The 'ideal visit' paper in particular was the product of a brainstorm which took into account even the most far-fetched of ideas."
An investigation was launched after some recipients of the memo objected to its disrespectful tone.
A Foreign Office spokesman said the department was "deeply sorry" for any offence the document had caused.
"This is clearly a foolish document that does not in any way reflect UK government or Foreign Office policy or views. Many of the ideas in the document are clearly ill-judged, naive and disrespectful," he said.
"The text was not cleared or shown to ministers or senior officials before circulation. As soon as senior officials became aware of the document, it was withdrawn from circulation.
"The individual responsible has been transferred to other duties. He has been told orally and in writing that this was a serious error of judgement and has accepted this view."