British Foreign Office scandal surounding Pope’s visit continues to unfold

Last night critics said the choice of non-Catholic staff highlighted the “appalling lack of respect” shown to the Pope.

Catherine Pepinster, editor of the Catholic newspaper The Tablet, said: “In politically correct Britain people are normally careful not to offend – and rightly so.

“Yet being offensive about the Pope is OK. Catholics are the minority that it is acceptable to treat as the whipping boys. Sometimes this cultural contempt emerges from the shadows – a contempt you’ll never see allowed to be shown to a chief rabbi or a grand mufti.”

A source within the Catholic Church of England and Wales said: “At its best this shows a disgraceful lack of know­ledge and understanding of the church among middle-ranking civil servants.

“A more alarming interpretation is that there are elements of anti-Catholic views and a deep-seated contempt of Christianity within the Foreign Office.

“There is no way a memo like this would have been written, let alone widely circulated, had it related to a visit by an important Muslim leader. There is clearly an alarming lack of judgment within Government departments.”

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