VATICAN CITY, April 25 (UPI) -- Pope Benedict XVI may cancel a planned visit to Britain after a memo by government workers mocked him and criticized the Catholic Church, published reports say.
The Daily Telegraph and The Times of London Online cited Vatican sources saying the memo prompted the pope to consider scuttling the trip, scheduled for Sept. 16-19. The memo, titled "The Ideal Visit," was written by junior Foreign Office workers after a brainstorming session on ways to welcome the pontiff, the office said.
Sections of the memo published by the Telegraph suggested launching "Benedict" condoms and called on the pope to open an abortion clinic, bless a gay marriage, sponsor a network of AIDS clinics, ordain a female priest and train bishops on how to respond to child-abuse allegations.
The Foreign Office apologized for the memo. Francis Campbell, the British ambassador to the Vatican, has met senior officials of the Holy See to express the government's regret over "this foolish document," the BBC reported Sunday.
Three or four staff members worked on the memo and the civil servant responsible for distributing it has been put on other duties, the Foreign Office said.
"This could have very severe repercussions and is embarrassing for the British government," a Vatican source told the Telegraph. "One has to question whether the action taken is enough … . It's even possible the (pope's) trip could be canceled, as this matter is hugely offensive."