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Foreign Office says sorry to Pope

The Foreign Office has apologised after an official document written in preparation for the Pope's visit to Britain in September suggested he should be asked to open an abortion clinic, bless a gay marriage and launch his own range of Benedict-brand condoms.

The paper, concerning the pontiff's "ideal visit", was distributed in Whitehall and Downing Street by a junior civil servant, who included a note warning that it contained some "far-fetched" ideas. A copy was obtained by The Sunday Telegraph.

The Foreign Secretary, David Miliband, was said to have been "appalled" by its content and the British Ambassador to the Vatican, Francis Campbell, has conveyed the Government's regrets to senior Vatican officials.

The Foreign Office said last night: "The individual responsible has been transferred to other duties. This is clearly a foolish document that does not in any way reflect UK Government or Foreign Office policy or views."