Associated Press Writer= LONDON (AP) " Britain's Foreign Office issued a hasty apology Sunday to Pope Benedict XVI after publication of an internal memo in which officials joked he could open an abortion clinic, launch a range of condoms or sing a duet with Queen Elizabeth II during a four-day visit in September.
The document, sections of which were published in the Sunday Telegraph newspaper, also proposed the pope could bless a gay marriage, and acknowledge the clerical sex abuse scandal by establishing a hot line for abused children, or honoring abuse whistleblowers.
Junior officials wrote the memo following a brainstorming session intended to discuss ideas for the visit, the first to Britain by the head of the Roman Catholic Church since Pope John Paul II in 1982.
Though some included advice for Britain's government on how to approach the abuse scandal, the ministry condemned many of the proposals as "ill-judged, naive and disrespectful."
Britain's ambassador to the Vatican, Francis Campbell, met senior Vatican officials offer a formal apology and one individual involved in drafting the memo has been transferred to other duties, the ministry said.
"The Foreign Office very much regrets this incident and is deeply sorry for the offense which it has caused," the ministry said in a statement. "We strongly value the close and productive relationship between the U.K. government and the Holy See and look forward to deepening this further with the visit of Pope Benedict to the U.K."
The Foreign Office said the memo had resulted from discussions by a group of three or four junior staff in a team working on early planning for the papal visit.
A source told the BBC News website the individual since moved to other duties had called the group together for "some blue-skies creative thinking about how to make the visit a success", but their discussions had become "a joke that has gone too far".
The source added that others in the group had been spoken to about the incident, but had not faced any formal action.