VATICAN officials are recovering from their acute embarrassment following the discovery that some special commemorative postcards had gone on sale showing the Pope with his right arm missing.
The card was supposed to depict the Pope holding a cross in his left hand and giving a blessing with his right. However, several days after the card was issued it was discovered that some faulty ones had been sent out together with the corrected version.
The Vatican demanded an investigation by the Italian state printing institute which had been commissioned to produce the card: it wanted to know if the blunder had been made deliberately to create a valuable collector's item.
Last week the institute announced that it was all a genuine mistake. The error was due to a faulty plate: cards made from it had inadvertently found their way into the supplies of the correct card which were sent out in the normal way.
Now it seems that the Vatican is willing to forgive and forget.