The British Foreign Office apologised to the Vatican yesterday after a memo was leaked about the Pope’s planned visit to the UK in Sept. The memo suggested among other things that the visit would be a good time to launch a brand of “Benedict” condoms. It also suggested that he open an abortion clinic and bless a gay marriage during September’s visit. And given the recent scandal about covering up child abuse in the church, the memo proposed that Pope Benedict should sack “dodgy bishops”, and launch an abuse childline. My favourite suggestion is that Pope Benedict sings a duet with the Queen for charity.
I am sure that it has all been a misunderstanding – much like the stained glass window here. Apparently the memo was the result of a brain-storming session where civil servants were asked to consider “some blue-skies creative thinking about how to make the visit a success”, but their discussions had become “a joke that has gone too far”. I am sure that Father Ted would have seen the humour in it all, but on top of the demonstrations about child abuse expected to take place in September and the alleged plan by Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchins to have the Pope arrested, one wonders whether this visit will still go ahead.