Lucky the Pope's a Catholic

The Foreign Office has had to apologise for what they call a "foolish" internal document, which mocks one of the Sky Fairy's main men here on earth: it actually - gasp - makes some facetious jokes about the Pope.

A source told the BBC News website the individual since moved to other duties had called the group of junior staff together for "some blue-skies creative thinking" about how to make the Pope's visit a success".

The group suggested Benedict XVI could show his hard line on the sensitive issue of child abuse allegations against Roman Catholic priests by "sacking dodgy bishops" and launching a helpline for abused children. It also listed "positive" public figures who could be made part of the Pope's visit, including former Prime Minister Tony Blair (what? that war-monger?) and pop-moose Susan Boyle.

Then, inevitably, bored by such a tedious subject, staff began to make flippant suggestions.

The document went on to propose the Pope could apologise for the Spanish Armada or sing a song with the Queen for charity. Then, gathering momentum, someone suggested the Pope's visit to the UK could be marked by the launch of "Benedict" condoms. Another wag countered with the idea that pope could be invited to open an abortion clinic. How about we get him to bless a gay marriage? How they must have chuckled!

But then, inevitably, some joyless member of the Righteous took offence, and an inquiry had to be launched. Inevitably the document got leaked, so that lots more people could join in and also take offence.

A Foreign Office spokesman said the department was "deeply sorry" for any offence the document had caused. Naturally, Foreign Secretary David Miliband "appalled" by the incident. Yeah, right.

The individual responsible has been "transferred to other duties". He's also "been told orally and in writing that this was a serious error of judgement and has accepted this view."

And that's that. A tiny storm in a tiny teacup.

They're all a lot luckier than they realise, these junior staff. Just imagine if, instead of the Pope, the visitor being discussed was Muslim cleric. Imagine that.

The front page of every paper would carry the story.

The Foreign Office would be beseiged. Angry men with beards would have been waving banners in the street outside, shouting and shaking their fists.

Professional offence-takers would have poured petrol all over the fire: Yasmin Alibhai-Brown would had bored us all to tears with her endless outpourings.

Milliband would have been under enormous pressure to resign, to apologise, to cry on television.

Investigations would have taken place at all levels. The 'racism' word would somehow get itself attached to the proceedings.

And, of course, the identities of the 'junior staff' would have been leaked, by a Muslim sympathiser.

And then they would have been 'properly' punished for their temerity - windows broken, cars smashed up.

Remember what happened to Theo Van Gogh, who was not entirely positive about Islam? A dissenter to his views ..

".. shot van Gogh eight times with an HS 2000 handgun, and Van Gogh died on the spot. .. then cut Van Gogh's throat, and stabbed him in the chest. Two knives were left implanted in his torso, one attaching a five-page note to his body. "

So, very lucky indeed. 'Transferred to other duties' is a lot better than dead, eh?



Lady Virginia Droit de Seigneur said...

I was sitting on a plane a few weeks ago when I noticed the man sitting next to me was wearing a dress. Turns out its the Pope and he's doing the Sun crossword.

Too overawed to speak I sat there in silence for a few minutes when suddenly he turned to me and said "This crossword is very tricky and one particular clue is realy killing me. Do you know a four letter word for a woman ending in "unt"?"

What could I say? I couldn't use that word to the Pope. I sat there chewing over my dilemma for a few seconds when in a flash of inspiration the answer came to me. "Aunt" I said triumphantly.

"Oh yes", he replied "That must be it - do you have some Tipp-ex I can borrow?".

JuliaM said...

"A source told the BBC News website the individual since moved to other duties had called the group of junior staff together for "some blue-skies creative thinking" about how to make the Pope's visit a success"."

Maybe I'm missing a trick here, but just what in the remit of the Foreign Office prompts them to think it's their job to make the Pope's visit a success anyway?

Surely their job is merely to facilitate his access?

Jill said...

Oh, get a grip. It's headline news, as, one assumes, would something similar vis a vis Islam be headline news. You're just spewing out pointless bile over something that's largely imaginary. I kinda guess I kinda think FO officials should keep their jokes verbal and behind closed doors, what with that whole diplomatic thing an' all, but frankly, what non-news. People made tasteless jokes whilst at work. Good lord. Is the Pope a Catholic?

Jill said...

Julia - I think they have to do the diplomatic organising, which they would for any visit. I read somewhere that it's going to cost £20m. I definitely think the church should get a bill for that.

Jill said...

Sorry, third comment. I mean to say, as a head of state, the FO would have a diplomatic interest in successful visits by the Pope. That, after all, is their point in our public life. Non?

Joe Public said...

"......the individual .... had called the group of junior staff together for "some blue-skies creative thinking" about how to make the Pope's visit a success"...."

And they succeeded. A significant number of individuals (including, dare I say it - many muslims) would consider all those suggestions to be worthwhile.

Unless the objective also specified to whom & how, 'success' was to be judged.

Anonymous said...

You think this isn't going to affect the labour vote on May 6th, apologies or no apologies. It was probably leaked for exactly this reason. Few catholics will vote for them after this garbage.

Why have we as a country become so brutal and coarse it's now trendy and fashionable to sling abuse at Christians? We - the entire world - would still literally be in the dark ages were it not for Christianity and the enlightenment!

Chuckles said...

Perhaps they could have got the Dawkins et al to host a soiree?

And was it recorded whether lessons had been learned?

Jill said...

Brutal and coarse?! Good grief!

Mrs Rigby said...

@ Chuckles - They did think of involving Dawkins, and Susan Boyle, Tony Blair and Wayne Rooney

@ CF - Your writing, as usual, far exceeds the quality of my tired outrage.

RantinRab said...

I agree with many from the West of Scotland who say "Fuck The Pope".

RandHobart said...

**We - the entire world - would still literally be in the dark ages were it not for Christianity and the enlightenment!**

I think you'll find the Enlightenment came about in spite of Christianity, not because of it...

Anonymous said...

I dont reckon the Pope takes much notice of British civil servants,
invisible bloggers and rantin
Scots kilt lifters, nobody else does.
I and a few other lost sheep like the occasional jaunt through the
blogoshere just to check on what
new lost cause is motoring round the ether, by the way Plane Spotting is back on line.

Limbo Dancer

Call me Infidel said...

On a related note it seems the US tv channel comedy central has also caved in to the "religion of peace"

Faced with this explicit threat of violence, what did Comedy Central do?

Why, they folded like a Bedouin tent. They censored "South Park," not only cutting all the references to Mohammed but, in an exquisitely post-modern touch, also removing the final speech about the need to stand up to intimidation. Stone & Parker get what was at stake in the Danish cartoons crisis, and many other ostensibly footling concessions: Imperceptibly, incrementally, remorselessly, the free world is sending the message that it is happy to trade core liberties for the transitory security of a quiet life. That is a dangerous signal to give freedom's enemies. So the "South Park" episode is an important cultural pushback.

We are appeasing fascists because they bite back but Christians are fair game it seems. This is not going to end well.