An "ill-judged" British Foreign Office memo apparently mocking Pope Benedict XVI has roiled already tense relations between Britain and the Vatican in advance of the first papal visit to the U.K. in 28 years. The document, written by a junior staffer, mockingly outlines elements of an "ideal visit" — including "launch of 'Benedict' condoms." (See the text of the leaked list below.) Though the U.K. has officially apologized to the Vatican, the question remains: Does Britain have an anti-Catholic problem? (Watch an ITN News report about the pope's leaked memo)
Don't people understand "satire"? Lighten up, everybody, says Carrie Battan in Big Think. It was indeed wrong to circulate the memo among senior officials, but did one young bureaucrat's attempt to "lighten the mood" with a handful of "condom and abortion jokes" warrant this rush to "pacify" the pope?
"The Pope to Britain: No jokes allowed!"
Britain's anti-Catholicism is no joke: No one would be laughing if this "guttersnipe document had insulted Islam, ethnic minorities, or homosexuals," says Gerald Warner in The Telegraph. No, the "knee-jerk anti-Catholicism of the British" generally, and the Labor government especially, is a national disgrace.
"Wear a cross to work and you are sacked; insult the Pope..."
This is about British, not religious, politics: The leaked memo merits the outrage it's generating, says Austen Ivereigh in the Jesuit magazine America, but only up to a point. The fact that Britain's "right-wing" Telegraph is trying to distort a "distasteful little episode" into a "major embarrassment" for the government strong suggests this is about the U.K.'s upcoming national elections, not the pope's visit.
"Storm in a teacup"
THE WEEK'S AUDIOPHILE PODCASTS: LISTEN SMARTER
- How academia's liberal bias is killing social science
- How to be the most productive person in your office — and still get home by 5:30 p.m.
- Hey, bosses: Stop giving bonuses to your employees
- You should be furious about Hollywood's gutless retreat on The Interview
- Why the Sony hack changes everything
- Vox, derp, and the intellectual stagnation of the left
- 10 things you need to know today: December 18, 2014
- 43 TV shows to watch in 2014
- Why torture doesn't work: A definitive guide
- Why Obama was right to give Cuba a 'full bailout'
Subscribe to the Week