September 15th, 2010
03:15 PM ET

Top cardinal compares London to 'Third World country'

LONDON, England (CNN) - Landing at London's Heathrow Airport is like arriving in a Third World country, a close confidant of Pope Benedict XVI said on the eve of a high-profile papal visit to Britain.

Cardinal Walter Kasper also disparaged the Church of England in an interview published last weekend, saying that although it had broken with the Vatican on two key issues - married priests and women priests - it was not faring better than the Roman Catholic Church.

The Vatican and English Catholic bishops distanced themselves Wednesday from the comments, saying they do not represent the views of the Vatican.

Kasper, who, like the pope, is German, was speaking to the German magazine Focus, which published an interview with him in its September 11 issue.

A storm of controversy broke out over the remarks on Wednesday, the day before the pope departs for the United Kingdom.

Kasper, who was to have accompanied him, was reportedly dropped from the entourage.

He was in charge of outreach to other Christian churches for many years, which may make his comments about the Church of England particularly damaging.

Kasper retired from that position earlier this year but remains a cardinal, the highest position in the Vatican hierarchy below pope.

- Newsdesk editor, The CNN Wire

Filed under: Anglican • Catholic Church • Interfaith issues • Pope Benedict XVI • United Kingdom

soundoff (20 Responses)
  1. Mark Elder

    I'm surprised he was able to pull his member out of the 10 year old boy long enough to actually make a disparaging comment.

    Of course him being German he would have a sense of superiority – except of course when the Church maintained a deafening silence as the Nazi's shipped millions of Jews off to tortue and death.

    They are a bunch of has-been, child molesting, ass covering relics from the middle ages and its no wonder that catholic church membership has dropped like a stone over the years. Their instinct to protect themselves from all of the scrutiny and prosecutions from all the thousands of innocent children their priests violated over the last 50 years or more means they have no moral authority to comment on anything anymore.

    September 16, 2010 at 12:52 am |
  2. Frank

    I can't wait until the Vatican finishes sinking. Good riddance.

    September 15, 2010 at 11:51 pm |
  3. Rocky

    In the Vatican, people just seem to fail upwards.

    September 15, 2010 at 10:12 pm |
  4. Crat

    I disagree with the Vatican on nearly everything, but he's correct about London. However, I'd call it a third-world cesspool.

    September 15, 2010 at 9:50 pm |
  5. rs1201

    I think he's got it right...London is indeed a third world country...it should be called little Pakistan. I could not believe my eyes when I was there recently. Creepy people walking around all covered up in black sheets and masks. Women in black leather masks...what the heck is that about. Anyway, the invasion of London by muslims has been its downfall. The UK govt is a fool for allowing this nightmare to happen. They should looking at their immigration laws and severely limit these people's entry into their country. Their birthrate is through the roof and will I'm sure any day now be outnumbering the english people ...that is...if they haven't already.

    September 15, 2010 at 8:16 pm |
    • Adi

      Whats wrong with people migrating? In 5 years we will also be a minority because of all the people coming here. Oh yeah by the way that is because FMLA in US blows.You have 3 months at home after labor. Well no wonder we like to have dogs and cats rather then kids these days. This is why Citizens will be a minority and immigants will be a majority having 3-4 kids.

      September 15, 2010 at 11:48 pm |
  6. TBA

    And the Vatican is the place of the DEVIL, they would not excom any child molester instead they hide them all and support them. The Vatican is FILL WITH CHILD MOLESTERS.

    September 15, 2010 at 7:50 pm |
  7. James Smith João Pessoa, Brazil

    Big surprise! When your actions are indefensible, all you can do is attack someone else to distract attention from your own crimes. But deception, distortion, and outright lies have been the methodology of all religions from the dawn of time. The Catholic church is just a bi better at it than most. They've had to be. It's one more example of evolution!

    September 15, 2010 at 7:46 pm |
  8. Gary J Byrnes

    I have no time for the Pope or any of his lackeys but I have to agree with the remark about Heathrow Airport – it's a really horrible place, fourth world even.

    September 15, 2010 at 7:21 pm |
  9. Agrajag

    A third world country eh?

    Does that mean that they are going to make doubly sure they don't use condoms so that they have millions of children they can't feed, and let AIDS spread completely uncontrolled?

    Now you know why the UK kicked them out...

    September 15, 2010 at 6:50 pm |
  10. Jude11

    If London is a 3rd World Country, then the Vatican is pedophile camp from the dark ages.

    September 15, 2010 at 5:33 pm |
    • Luke

      Close – The Vatican is a very expensive pedophile camp with a dark age belief system with incredibly net revenues and the world's largest real estate holdings with its own private security, the Swiss Guard.

      September 15, 2010 at 6:58 pm |
  11. Luke

    And here I thought that the Catholic Church aided 3rd world nations through its philanthropies? So Cardinal, what's the problem with landing in 3rd world nations, Cardinal? Speak up kid, let's hear it. Com on, fork it over Cardinal. Oh, got nothing to say now, eh? That's what I thought. D1ckface.

    September 15, 2010 at 5:03 pm |
  12. Chris snowden

    Wots Kaspers problem with landing In 3rd world countrys anyway? If I planned to go to a foreign country to drum up support for my church I probably wouldn't start by insulting the entire nations population, the Vatican needs to wake up to the modern world. 🙂

    September 15, 2010 at 4:49 pm |
  13. Colin

    Wow, the Church of England and Vatican at odds with one another, who would've seen that coming...oh that's right, Henry VIII.

    September 15, 2010 at 4:40 pm |
  14. David Johnson

    I think it would not be inappropriate to do a cavity search on His Eminence. Get the guy with the really fat fingers to do it.

    September 15, 2010 at 3:51 pm |
    • Kate

      @David Johnson

      It's so good to have you back and on top form!

      Just welcomin'

      September 15, 2010 at 4:02 pm |
  15. Kate

    Like the fact the Catholic Church is totally out of touch with reality, and thinks itself higher than anything else on the planet (including, obviously, the authorities of any country it infests when it comes to things like, oh, say, kids) is news?

    Wonder if Kasper re-a55igned any priests on the way to cardinalship, since that seems to be a sure-fire promotion method in that criminal enterprise hiding behind the walls of the Vatican.

    Just sayin'

    September 15, 2010 at 3:30 pm |
  16. Ykcyc

    To be or not to be?

    That is the question to be sought
    To be or not to be, but what?
    Is there a choice or point is moot?
    Free will to be this, that, bad, good?

    And what good or bad is, but a thought,
    In endless emptiness of space?
    And where are WE, or rather what?
    Forsaken or in light of Grace?

    And who decides? Conditioned mind?
    Pretending to be roles defined
    By ego seeking to survive,
    By any means it can contrive?

    Ideas, concepts, right, or wrong
    By twisted minds, impaired by pain,
    Destruction, misery belong
    To sick, unconscious, human brain

    What does authentic really mean?
    Who we are not is who we are.
    Distorted pictures on a screen?
    Unhappy story, memoir?

    Not what we say, think, do, but are!
    Pure consciousness, bright light, a star.
    Unconscious beings defined by borders
    No need to care, just follow orders.

    Who gives those orders, you say, God?
    A crazy thought, some call “Jihad”?
    Confusing Life with human thought
    Reality that is insane, absurd.

    Whatever we think, we’ll be right.
    For us, that’s what will come to be.
    If we’re in shadow, or in light,
    Depends on what we chose to see.

    September 15, 2010 at 3:24 pm |
    • RIF


      I like that one, Ykcyc.
      And many of your others.
      Thank you.

      September 16, 2010 at 12:50 am |
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