Students at a Roman Catholic university in the United States have apologised for an April Fools edition of the campus newspaper that said the Archbishop of Philadephia is gay.

However, the journalists at Saint Joseph’s University in the city received praise from one teacher, a priest, who said in a letter to the newspaper, The Hawk, that he “laughed his head off.”

A story in the fake March 28th edition of The Squawk featured an admission by Cardinal Justin Rigali, archbishop of Philadelphia, that he is gay.

Another showed the college’s president, a priest, endorsing condoms – the church opposes all forms of birth control. A third compared Jesuit priests to Nazis.

The 4,500 circulation paper was removed from campus buildings by administrators.

“I grossly underestimated the personal and hurtful consequences that such nonsense could incur,” the paper’s editor on their website.

“Parody does not sanction disrespect, and last week’s Squawk was disrespectful to many.”

The school’s president has apologised to the 71-year-old Cardinal Rigali.

In June 2006 the Cardinal showed his opposition to gay rights by meeting President Bush in the White House and publicly supporting the President’s failed bid to change the US Constitution to ban gay marriage.