Lately, when I feel depressed about the
fallout from the sex-abuse scandal, I consult Damian Thompson’s blog in the
London Telegraph. He is the editor of Telegraph blogs (there are a zillion of
them) and seems to inhabit the intersection of blog and obloquy. The Church
Times once described him as a “blood-crazed ferret”.

Anyhow, I enjoyed his
characteristically caustic comment
on the outrageous memo which circulated
in the UK Foreign Office about the visit of the Pope in September. The Sunday
has revealed that FO’s organising committee brainstormed some of
the following suggestions and subsequently circulated them for discussion in
the FO and to 10 Downing Street: launching “Benedict” condoms, opening an
abortion ward, blessing a gay civil partnership, and opening a network of AIDS

The list
was created by a FO committee and circulated by “a junior Foreign Office
official, an Oxbridge graduate in his 20s”, according to the Sunday Telegraph. He
noted in his email: “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.”

British Catholics were outraged and the
Foreign Minister, David Miliband, has apologised.

Here’s what the blood-crazed ferret had to

reaction is to say to the Bishops of England and Wales:

do you finally understand what sort of snide, cheap and ignorant prejudice has
flourished under this Government and its civil servants – wall-to-wall
secularists for whom the Roman Catholic Church is at best an antiquated
irrelevance and at worst a sick joke? And has it occurred to you that this
document was probably being drawn up just as your own bureaucrats at Eccleston
Square were turning a blind eye to the Magisterium so they could “work with” Ed

sure, the Foreign Office says: “This is clearly a foolish document that does
not in any way reflect UK Government or Foreign Office policy or views” – and,
of course, most of these proposals wouldn’t have seen the light of day.

reflect the attitudes of
Brown’s government and its politically correct employees is precisely what the
document does.


Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet. He lives in Sydney, Australia.