One of the Pope's senior advisers has pulled out of the papal visit to Britain, after saying the UK is a "Third World country" marked by "a new and aggressive atheism". Cardinal Walter Kasper, 77, made the remarks in a German magazine interview.
The Vatican said the cardinal had not intended "any kind of slight", and was referring to the UK's multicultural society. It added that he had simply pulled out of the Pope's visit due to illness.
Or, perhaps, rather than beheading him, we could send his eminence our condolences on falling unwell and our best wishes for a speedy recovery.