British Govt. apologises to Pope over launching Papal-branded condoms gaffe

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London, Apr 25 (ANI): The British Government has apologised to the Pope for suggesting that he should bless a gay marriage and even launch Papal-branded condoms.

The shocking proposals were contained in official documents drawn up earlier this month by civil servants that mocked the Pope's forthcoming visit to Britain in September.

The ideas, included in a memo headed 'The ideal visit would see ...', ridiculed the Catholic Church's teachings including its opposition to abortion, homosexual behaviour and contraception, The Telegraph reports.

The proposals, which were then circulated among key officials in Downing Street and Whitehall, also included the Pope opening an abortion ward; spending the night in a council flat in Bradford; doing forward rolls with children to promote healthy living; and even performing a duet with the Queen.

Referring to the sensitive issue of child abuse engulfing the Catholic Church, the Government document suggested that the Pope should take a "harder line on child abuse, announce sacking of dodgy bishops" and "launch helpline for abused children".

The Foreign Office on Saturday issued a public apology, while Francis Campbell, the UK ambassador to the Vatican, met senior officials of the Holy See to express the Government's regret, The Telegraph reports.

Foreign Secretary David Miliband was shocked to hear of the proposals, according to a source close to him.

A Foreign Office spokesman said: "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.

"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 As soon as senior officials became aware of the document, it was withdrawn from circulation.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. The Foreign Office very much regrets this incident and is deeply sorry for the offence, which it has caused." (ANI)

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