UK Government Apologizes to Benedict XVI

Vatican Aide Affirms Desire to Maintain Good Relations

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LONDON, APRIL 26, 2010 ( The U.K. Foreign and Commonwealth Office apologized to Benedict XVI for a memo suggesting that the Pope open an abortion clinic and bless a same-sex union during his upcoming visit.

The memo, distributed in an official manner through various government offices, suggested that the Pontiff’s September 16-19 visit be marked by the distribution of a «Benedict» condom line and a reversal of Church teaching against adoption by gay couples, among other things. 

Francis Campbell, U.K. ambassador to the Holy See, delivered the apology to the Vatican Secretariat of State on Saturday.

The statement from the Foreign Office called the document «foolish,» with ideas that are «clearly ill-judged, naive and disrespectful.»

It continued: «The individual responsible has been transferred to other duties. He has been told orally and in writing that this was a serious error of judgment and has accepted this view.»

The Foreign Office stated that it «very much regrets this incident and is deeply sorry for the offense which it has caused.»

Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, affirmed, «I am aware that the Foreign Office has made a statement on this matter and I am aware of the contents of the memo.»

«We are not saying anything else as there is no need to ruin the good relations between the British Government and the Vatican,» he said.

Bishop Malcolm McMahon of Nottingham, England, called the incident «appalling.»

«It’s outlandish and outrageous to assume that any of the ideas are in any way suitable for the Pope,» he asserted, lamenting the way the Pontiff was invited to the country and then disrespected in this way.

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