Family Law Prof Blog

Editor: Margaret Ryznar
Indiana University
Robert H. McKinney School of Law

Monday, April 26, 2010

UK Apologizes to Pope Over Gay Marriage Memo

The British government has issued a formal apology to the Pope for an internal memo suggesting that the Pope should bless gay marriage or "open an abortion ward" on an upcoming visit to England:

The highly sarcastic document was written by a junior official at the Foreign Office -- the U.K.'s equivalent of the State Department -- during a brainstorming session to develop an itinerary for Pope Benedict XVI's September trip, the first by a pontiff to Britain since 1982. The memo was sent to the prime minister's office and three other government departments, and came with a warning that its contents "should not be shared externally" as they included "even the most far-fetched of ideas."

Those unholy proposals, published by the Sunday Telegraph included suggestions that the pontiff use the trip to launch a range of "Benedict" condoms, "announce sacking of dodgy bishops," and take part in a public gymnastics display where he could "do forward rolls with children to promote healthy living." It also noted the pope could apologize for the Spanish Armada of 1588 or sing a charity song with Queen Elizabeth II.

After the Telegraph went public with the revelations, the Foreign Office issued a speedy apology, saying, "This is clearly a foolish document. Many of the ideas in the document are clearly ill-judged, naive and disrespectful."  Steven Mulvain, the 23-year-old Oxford graduate who penned the document -- and who once declared in a podcast that his hobbies included "drinking a lot" -- went unpunished. However, a more senior official who allowed the document to be sent out uncensored has since been "transferred to other duties," the government said.

Several religious leaders issued strong condemnations of the document, saying it revealed the government's anti-Christian bias.

Read the full story here.


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