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Pattaya Daily News

16 September 2010 :: 16:09:23 pm 38937

Pope’s Top Adviser Drops out After Referring to UK as Third World

One of the Pope’s top advisers Cardinal Walter Kasper has dropped out from a visit to the UK after referring to Britain as being a “third world country”.
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UK, 16th September 2010: A top adviser to the Pope, Kasper, 77, was the Vatican’s leading expert on relations with the Church of England before retiring from that role two months earlier, has pulled out of a visit to the UK, just days after slamming it as a “third world country.”

Following the publication of an interview with a German magazine, Focus, the article entitled ‘Third World Land,’ Kasper commented on “aggressive atheism” saying that “Christians were at a disadvantage”, and that “when landing at Heathrow, you think you are in a third world country.” He also pointed out the row involving British Airways staff saying that, “if you wear a cross, you are discriminated against.” This last comment could raise comments as to why the Pope’s departure from Britain would not be on board a plane of the country he had visited which would bear the country’s national flag.

Vatican officials have insisted that Kasper had pulled out “due to ill health”, but others have pointed to the nature of the interview given to the German magazine as the reason for his withdrawal. The German born Cardinal was due to partake in talks with representatives of the Church of England during the Pope’s four day visit which is allegedly costing Britain around 20 million pounds.

In a statement issued by the Vatican, officials insisted the Cardinal “has no negative intention or appreciation” toward Britain, but the last minute withdrawal of Kasper has led to a bustle of activity, as he was to have played a central role in the Pope’s visit. Kasper has previously been involved in talks with Anglican groups of their co-operation with each other and Catholicism and is strongly opposed to female ordination.

The Catholic Church in England and Wales have both distanced themselves from the Cardinals’ comments, with a spokeswoman saying “The attributed comments of Cardinal Kasper do not represent the views of the Vatican nor those of Bishops in this country. Clearly they are the personal views of one individual. Catholics play a full part in this country’s life and welcome the rich diversity of thought, culture and people which is so evident here. The historic visit makes a further development of the good relationships between the United Kingdom and the Holy See. We are confident that it will be a huge success.”

Meanwhile, survivors of abuse in Britain within the Roman Catholic Church repeated their demand that the Pope hand over all information on abusive clergy, saying that repeated apologies meant nothing and they wanted, truth, justice and accountability.

A survivor of Catholic abuse, Peter Saunders who is now the Chief Executive of the National Association for People Abused in Childhood, (NAPAC) said, “We need the Pope to say……’I will hand it over to the authorities of the countries where these people are being protected.” Earlier, a signed letter to the Guardian by more than 50 public figures argued that the Pope should not be given the “honour of UK state tour.

Reggie Colbeck

Photo : Internet   Category : World News

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