The British government is falling all over itself today apologizing for a secret memo leaked to the Sunday Telegraph that contains some novel ideas for what the Pope should do when he visits the U.K. in September. Among the suggestions: He should open up an abortion clinic, release his own line of condoms, sing a duet with the Queen, and, most amusing, roll around on the floor with children to promote healthy living.
The list originated from an official in the Foreign Office who sent it around the department. When his colleagues saw it, they flipped out. Now the Foreign Office has issued a strong apology, calling the note "a foolish document that does not in any way reflect U.K. Government or Foreign Office policy or views."
Apology or not, the Church is pissed. A Bishop in Nottingham called the proposals "appalling" and added that "it's outlandish and outrageous to assume that any of the ideas are in any way suitable for the Pope." We're inclined to agree. Except for the ideas for the Pope to set up a "training course for all bishops on child abuse," announce a "harder line on child abuse," announce "Vatican sponsorship for a network of AIDS clinics," "launch helpline for abused children," and a few others. The rest though, outlandish!
Ministers apologise for insult to Pope [Telegraph UK]