Foreign Office bureaucrats who drew up and distributed an official memo mocking the Pope’s moral beliefs on abortion and homosexual ‘marriage’ have all kept their jobs.
Senior papal aides are said to be angry that the Foreign Office is treating the matter so lightly.
The memo was drawn up by a team of four junior officials working on the Pope’s upcoming state visit to Britain.
It suggested Pope Benedict should open an abortion clinic, launch a range of papal-branded condoms, and bless a same-sex ‘marriage’ during his visit to the UK.
Vatican sources are reportedly outraged that the Foreign Office does not consider the matter serious enough to warrant anyone being dismissed.
The memo was approved for circulation to Downing Street and three other Government departments by a senior Whitehall official.
A covering note makes clear that officials were aware that the memo contained “the most far-fetched of ideas”, which appears to cancel out the possibility that the circulation was an oversight.
The official who approved the memo’s circulation has kept his job, although he has been “transferred to other duties”.
No action has been taken against the other officials who dreamt up the derisive suggestions.
A highly-placed source in the Vatican told the Telegraph that “one has to question whether the action taken is enough”.
Commentator Melanie Phillips said that “the general collapse of educational and moral standards has meant public service is now populated by a certain type of young official who is callow, shallow and politically correct to a fault.
“Among such people, the orthodoxy is a world view in which minorities are axiomatically to be respected while Christianity is treated with contempt.”
She added: “For sure, there are troubling aspects of this papacy which should legitimately be questioned. But the double standard here — quite apart from the insolence — is breathtaking.
“Can you imagine a group of officials making such suggestions, light-hearted or not, about Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists or other minorities associated with the Third World?”
She concludes: “Among those who purport to be the most liberal, educated and enlightened, minds are actually closed and display a vicious illiberalism and gross absence of respect for other points of view, particularly mainstream European religious faiths.”
The Government has apologised and the Vatican has confirmed that the papal visit is still going ahead.