The British diplomat who has been disciplined for a now notorious memo suggesting that Pope Benedict be invited to bless a gay marriage when he’s in the UK has now been named.
The Daily Telegraph, among others, names the 31-year-old Foreign Office civil servant as Anjoum Noorani, the leader of the Papal Visit Team.
The leaked memo emerged from a brainstorming session, and among the suggestions for the Pope’s visit to the UK in September were “Benedict condoms”, that the Pope should do a duet with the Queen, that he should open an abortion ward in a hospital and that he should bless a same-sex marriage.
Britain apologized to the Vatican after the memo was leaked to the Sunday Telegraph, and yesterday the Vatican said it would make no difference to the visit.
Today’s Daily Telegraph reports that Noorani, whose identity has until now remained secret, was moved to “other duties” after he gave authorization for the memo to be sent to Downing Street and three Whitehall departments.
And the civil servant who chaired the brainstorm session has been revealed to be Steven Mulvain, who, like Noorani, is a graduate of Oxford University. He hasn’t been disciplined for his role in the affair.
Cost to taxpayer
The Pope’s visit to Britain was already becoming a controversial one, and has led to demonstrations, because of his apparent cover-up of priestly child molestation when he was a cardinal and because of the huge cost to the UK taxpayer. If the visit were a pastoral one rather than a state one, this cost would be met by the Catholic Church, but it could cost Britain up to £20 million, plus the expense of security, which will come from existing police funds.
A recent suggestion by the Pope’s second-in-command, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, that child abuse and paedophilia were connected with homosexuality brought condemnation even from fellow Catholics in the UK.
Recently, the atheist authors Richard Dawkins and Christopher Hitchens put their weight behind a plan to have the Pope arrested when he gets to Britain and charged under international law with crimes against humanity.