The reporting of jokes contained in a Foreign Office memo about an impending Papal visit to Britain has been pretty po-faced. The memo did indeed feature suggestions that Benedict XVI could open an abortion ward, launch a brand of condoms and bless a gay wedding, but it also contained less offensive and funnier jokes about him doing forward rolls to promote healthy living and apologising for the Spanish Armada.
It may be worthwhile to celebrate this inspired piece of memo-drafting with an alternative top five activities for a visiting Pope.
1. Visit a Portaloo in a wooded area. Possibly with a Catholic bear, if available.
2. Receive a rapturous welcome in Camden from purveyors of witty T-shirts lionising his attested recreational drug use.
3. Have his bottom bitten by a flea, thus vindicating the mawkish song Little People in Les Miserables that makes the point that humble creatures can affect grandees.
4. Burn Protestants. Health and safety advice suggests burning only dead ones at a crematorium.
5. Put up a tent, go on a bicycling holiday, and other activities that may remind him of his formative years in the Hitler Youth.