“I wonder if he has been dropped because he is an embarrassment.”

The last minute substitution of one of Emperor Pope Benedict XVI’s team to visit the UK has been, officially, blamed on ill health.  The Telegraph’s “blood crazed ferret” Damian Thompson has welcomed the news that a moderate theologian, the 77-year-old Cardinal Walter Kasper, will not be part of the semi-state visit.

But I doubt the reference to “aggressive new atheism” had anything to do with it.  After all, Benedict’s been there before.

Here’s a rough translation from a FOCUS magazine report

In the interview in the current edition of the FOCUS, in answer to a question about why so many Britons expressed displeasure over the pope, [Cardinal Kasper] answered: “England is a secularized, pluralistic country today.  When you land at Heathrow airport, you sometimes think you have landed in a Third World country”.

And according to the BBC report

Vatican sources said Cardinal Kasper – who stepped down in July as the head of the department that deals with other Christian denominations – was suffering from gout and had been advised by his doctors not to travel to the UK.

They also said his “Third World” comment referred to the UK’s multicultural society. [added emphasis]

A Guardian report quotes the pope’s spokesman

The pope’s spokesman, Father Federico Lombardi, said tonight that the cardinal “had no negative intention, nor [a] lesser appreciation for the United Kingdom”, but had been referring to Britain’s multi-ethnic composition. He said the pope’s former adviser did, of course, recognise “the great values of British culture”.

In a statement, Lombardi said Kasper “had meant to refer to the fact that from the moment of arrival in London airport – as happens in many big metropolises of the world today, but in London particularly because the unique role played over time by the UK’s capital – you realise from the outset that you are in a country in which many human realities of the most diverse provenances and conditions meet and mingle; a crucible of today’s humanity, with its diversity and problems”. [added emphasis]

Well, that’s all right then…

And don’t even mention those supernaturalist churches who are not even churches “in the proper sense”.

Nor that attempted corporate take-over.

“Knowledge is power”, after all.

Adds Further Cardinal Kasper quotes from Andrew Brown

The Church of England, Kasper believes, has been brought to the point of schism and collapse by compromise with the spirit of the age. He says: “There is a crisis of values and direction in western society which has its roots in the Enlightenment, and was given added impetus by the radical movements of the 60s. And because the churches live in this society, their faith is weakened.”

As I’ve said before, “The Un-Enlightenment hasn’t gone away…

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  • slappymcgroundout

    From the comments to the Telegraph piece:

    Cash-strapped sell their kidneys to pay off debts
    Sarah-Kate Templeton, Health Editor
    British victims of the credit crunch are offering to sell their kidneys for £25,000 or more to help pay debts, an investigation by The Sunday Times has revealed.
    Poor people selling their kidneys? Isn’t that what happens in third world countries?

  • Alias

    It’s odd that cardinal would equate a multiracial society with the Third World since those countries are largely monoracial, with whitie preferring not to emigrate to destitute regions in Africa or Asia.

    The UK itself is only a multiracial society through its historical fetish for colonising Third World countries and extracting the resources and wealth from them rather than through any ideological conviction. So it is accidentally multiracial, and has had to make the appropriate social engineering adjustments.

    The UK didn’t codify its nationality law until the early 20th century. From 1948, all citizens in Commonwealth countries had the right of abode in the UK. That remained the case before those ‘appropriate social engineering adjustments’ were made, when the ever-increasing numbers of colonised peoples began to reverse colonise the UK, causing social agitation around the issue of immigration during the 60s and 70s.

    Now the UK is on course to become the largest state in the EU by population according to the EC’s population projections 2008-2060. Of course that’s only an increase of 24% whereas the same projections show an increase for Ireland of a massive 53% – but the good news is that Ireland’s impending bankruptcy might alter those projections…

  • The idiot Cardinals comments not only risks distancing the RCC from all those third world members they desperately need to maintain their diminishing numbers, it will also be treated as a ‘God send’ by the right wing,

    If it were not for those third world members filling the pews the RCC in the UK would be almost as empty as the Anglican churches and the pope would be playing to an empty house.

  • Pete Baker

    Adds Further Cardinal Kasper quotes from Andrew Brown

    The Church of England, Kasper believes, has been brought to the point of schism and collapse by compromise with the spirit of the age. He says: “There is a crisis of values and direction in western society which has its roots in the Enlightenment, and was given added impetus by the radical movements of the 60s. And because the churches live in this society, their faith is weakened.”

    As I’ve said before, “The Un-Enlightenment hasn’t gone away…

  • Alan Maskey

    The Cardinal is corect theologically. The Englightenment wa–kers got the call their own era.
    Economically, Britain is a third world country. Gorden Brown, the former PM said Britain would have the fastest Internet connection in the world. Its current speeds are ajoke. The London Tube smells of urine and is light years behind Asian systems.
    And, of course, anti Catholicism lingers.

    Isn’t the Queen great the way she troipped out to meet Ben. It must take a lot out of an old lady. She must be one of the oldeest heads of state in the world. No matter how she travels, it must be tiring and a bit of a bore for her too.

  • joeCanuck

    That’s the trouble with being a priest. You can’ retire to spend more time with your family. Another excuse is required.

  • Rory Carr

    Of course, the most likely explanation, á la Occam’s Razor, is simply that the 77 year old Cardinal Kaspar is suffering a bout of ill-health as the Vaticasn press release confirms. Not that that should get in the way of all the fun some people can derive from instead choosing to believe whatever the hell they like and then proclaiming it as the Gospel truth.

    And then they go around making fun of the supernaturalists. Don’t they, Pete?

  • Nunoftheabove

    Much like the majority of your posts, it seems to me.

  • lover not a fighter

    I would say that between the minimum wage earners, the underclass that we hear so much about and those that live from weekly wage to weekly wage the Cardinal is correct for at least a third of he population of Britain.

    So he is correct for at least a third of the people of Britain. (Which is much more correct that your average politician)

    Thanks to bankers and Irish politicians the same can be said for the Irish population (and growing by the day, except for the bankers and the politicians funnily enough)

  • Greenflag

    From the Beeb today ,

    ‘One in seven Americans was living in poverty in 2009 with the level of working-age poor the highest since the 1960s, the US Census Bureau says.

    The number of people in poverty increased by nearly 4m – to 43.6m – between 2008 and 2009, officials said.

    The bureau defines poverty as any family of four living on less than $21,954 a year.

    Meanwhile, new figures showed home foreclosures in August hit the highest level since the mortgage crisis began.

    Last year we saw the depths of the recession, including historic losses in employment not witnessed since the Great Depression”

    US President Barack Obama

    Banks repossessed 95,364 properties in August, up 3% from July and an increase of 25% from August 2009, said RealtyTrac, a company which charts the national picture.

    The official US poverty rate in 2009 rose to 14.3% from 13.2% in 2008. In 2009, 43.6 million Americans lived in poverty, up from 39.8 million the year before, the third consecutive increase, the bureau said.

    The number of people in poverty in 2009 was the largest in the 51 years for which the US government has been publishing estimates.

    The figures show a sharp rise in poverty since the beginning of the US recession in December 2007.

    Among the working-age population, ages 18 to 65, poverty rose from 11.7% to 12.9%, the highest level since the 1960s.

    Meanwhile, the number of Americans without health insurance increased by 4.4m from 2008 to 2009, the Census Bureau said.

    The share of Americans without health coverage rose from 15.4% to 16.7% – or 50.7 million people – mostly because of the loss of employer-provided schemes during the recession.

    The above is relevant for the UK & Ireland/NI as there is an expectation that the above economically challenged USA is going to lift the world economy out of recession ?

    Not a bats chance in hell . Even the US ‘opposition ‘ the GOP have decided that if they are returned to power they will go back to Reaganomics and pursue Bush warmongering .

  • Greenflag

    The bureau defines poverty as any family of four living on less than $21,954 a year.

    That’s 270 sterling a week for a family of 4 or 322 Euros.

    Trickle down at work -sorry not at work 🙁
    What would the figures be for the UK or Ireland ?

  • Pete Baker


    Why don’t you ask that on your own blog?

    Rather than distracting from the actual topic here.

  • Greenflag

    ‘ but the good news is that Ireland’s impending bankruptcy might alter those projections’

    Apparently not according to this article . The number of births registered last year was 74,000 which is the second highest since 1897.


  • Greenflag

    Sorry Pete twas not my intention to distract .

    The Cardinal is wrong about Britain being a Third World country.

    As the Tories prepare for swinging cuts to the public sector Britons will have to face concomitant cuts in social welfare all across the board . The economic consequences of this have been thought out by the experts no doubt . Most of those axed from the public sector will not be joining the private sector they will just be added on to lengthening dole queues.

    I took personal exception to Pope Ratzi’ likening atheists to Nazis . I see the Irish Times poll on whether the Pope would be welcome to visit Ireland was rejected by 61% to 39% .

    No wonder he did’nt include ROI/NI in his itinerary !

  • abucs

    EWTN take on the Pope’s visit and message.

    “The World Over” with Raymond Arroyo.


  • Comrade Stalin

    I was wondering when (shudder) “The Sixties” was going to come up.

  • Alan Maskey

    Abucs: Do we have to listen to that and if so, why?

    Greenflag: Please try to be consistent. You speak of Britain bekng a great power and then speak of more cuts. Britain is bankrupt. The trade routes will continue to move east. Britain is a third world force in many ways. The Cardinal, if he said it, was right.
    The Pope did not visit Wales either. As it was a state visit to a sovereign country, Ireland, Belgium and france were not on the intinerary. Capiche?
    Nor was trhe six occupied counties whose “leaders” McGuinness and Robinson did not show up in Scotland with the Queen to meet God’s rep on earth. Their failure to show up raises some questions: can Robinson grow up and out of the shadow of Paisley and the Orange gangs they ran. Can McGuinness start playing the house slave that he now is and go to gigs like this? Not that McGuinness is a man the Pope or any other man of God would want to be polluted with.
    Your Irish Times survey is, like the paper itself, rubbish. The atheists, fisters andsundry crackpots woith their nobody speakers in London got a tiny turnout of the usual dole scrounging soap dodging suspects. They protest about the cost of the visit to the tax payers and yet cost the tax payers and retail businesses on the route plenty themselves. The usual lack of logic from these parasites.

    And yes, the Pope is correct to link them with the Malthusian, Darwinian and other strands that brought us the Nazis.

  • The idea that Britain is a third world country is ludicrous and says more about those who think it than it could possibly say about Britain. Britain is no longer a world force, which since most of its inhabitants don’t want it, is a good thing. It would be even better if British politicians did what the people want rather than indulging their, collective, ego.

    The problem for the RCC is they have been exposed as, at best, no better than any other institution. The current Pope adds to the problem, because as Cardinal Ratzinger he was up to his eyes and for some time the prime mover in the massive, international cover up of child abuse and rape.

    People are independent Independence means if one form of supernaturalism is accepted, ie the belief in one God, what is so absurd or evil about the beliefs in other faiths? It is this school of thought that will probably become the greatest problem the RCC and all mainstream religions face.

  • Alan Maskey

    Pippakin: Travel. It broadens the mind.
    God’s church has no problems. The Pope is not implicated in any scandals. His critics, like the riff raff who sludged through London, are of no consequence and have no credibility. Act your age.
    I have just watched his Birmingham sermon. Not a bad bit of craftsmanship. And good singing too.

    Some say why did he not come to Ireland, On all Ireland day? Flann O’Brien wrote a good skit about that.

    All in all, another great victory for Catholicism and Truth.

  • Alan Maskey

    Travel? And what makes you think I have not? No one in Western Europe lives in a third world country. If you think they do it is you who needs to travel.

    The RCC is no more Gods church than an Anglican Church, a Synagogue or a Mosque. You need to widen your horizon.

    Your faith in the RCC is fine, your belligerent defence of it is unpleasant and unnecessary.

    I act my age, and one of the things age has given me is tolerance of others and their faith, including yours.

  • Nunoftheabove

    Relieved to see you’ve referred to Catholicism and Truth as separate entities. Just need to go that one step further and you’d nearly be entitled to consider yourself halfway intelligent.

  • Alan Maskey

    I switched over from God’s rep on BBC2 to BBC1 where some Anglican cleric was accepting a Battle of Britain ensign from some RAF chappie and offering it to God.
    Paddy Kavanagh wrote about the Irish sailing in the puddles of the past. The British have joined them there.
    Pippakin: Your narrow world view indicates you have not travelled, a few budget tours perhaps excepted.
    Jews and Muslims (all 77 sects)would take exception with your statement but, hey, insult away if it helps.
    As God’s rep winds up his tour, the only ones feeling embarrassment should be the fister rent a crowd who sludged through London.

    The content of the Mass and even the coliur and nationalities of the congregation show once again that the Irish are, as they have always been, largely an irrelevance to God’s church.

  • Alan Maskey

    And what qualifies you rather than others to decide who is or who is not intelligent? And have you a point to make or are you just into personal name calling?
    To get back to Paddty Kavanagh. As he said in court: I find it hard to explain myself to fools. So do I, Nunoftheabove. I see you have the Statue of Liberty as your av. Are you a wooden plank? I should drop this now as you are plainly an embarrassment. Though you might have made a good Provo as, if asked by a judge or copper, clearly you “have nothing to say”.

  • Alan Maskey

    I am becoming tired of your bitter denunciation of anything that is not catholic. If you lived in a third world country the last word you would use to describe it is multicultural, even if it is. Get real. The British and the Irish are, like all Europeans, sheltered and protected from real poverty and hunger. Your attempts to defend the cardinal insults all those who struggle for their daily bread.

    Jews, Muslims and Anglicans all believe in One God. To them their place of worship is every bit as important as the RC churches are to catholics.

    The pope had a good trip. He was largely well received and the faithful were out in thousands, and nothing at all wrong with that. The protesters were well behaved and larger than I for one expected, and in a free society there is nothing wrong with that either.

    You are right of course about Gods Rep. He is nothing more than a salesman after all. The goods are damaged and that is something millions have spotted.

    Behave yourself Alan you insult people because they disagree with you and that is against the teachings of your church.

  • Greenflag

    The Pope is an old man in his 80’s . I think two countries in 4 days with all that’s involved is a tough assignment . You seem to think that he should have included Ireland , Wales , Belgium & France .

    The German Cardinal was NOT right – he was to be blunt an idiot which is why he was left off the itinerary .

    As for consistency ? On slugger it sometimes takes a while for posters to be seen as consistent . I would think that most posters would vouch that if I’m not 100% consistent they might concede that 95% of my postings are if not predictable Posters are usually identifiable by their political preferences . We know that Turgon and Pete and Mick are ‘unionists ‘ and Nevin and John East Belfast and others, and Garibaldi and Rory Carr and Malcolm Redfellow are all respected contributors as is Joe Canuck , Comrade Stalin , Abucs ,Driftwood, Reader , Cynic , Mick Hall , Proineas E , Pippakin, Alias , Mack and many others . While all the above don’t always agree and may on occasion tear strips off each other they are all ‘consistent ‘ One knows and understands generally what their political position is and while one may disagree with it at times they are all credible and to be respected contributors . Sometimes a little levity is introduced to remind us all not to take ourselves too seriously as we search about some of us flailingly for the ‘truth ‘

    In the case of the ‘egregiousAlex Maskey ‘ there is alas no substance . You appear to have major inconsistencies of your own .

    ‘The Cardinal is right
    The Irish Times is rubbish
    Atheists are parasites
    Malthus and Darwin caused ‘nazism .
    6 occupied counties
    McGuiness is a pollutant ‘
    Soap dodging

    And the above is just from one post ?

    From the above gleamings and others your political persona seems to be mix of Right Wing Ultra Catholic Nut job , confused monarchist , with trappings of Real IRA sympathies and troll like comments.

    I would recommend you establish a clear consistent political identity and let fellow posters know what you stand for and not just against . Otherwise you may find yourself posting to yourself

    Your call -capiche !

  • Greenflag

    ‘It broadens the mind.’

    Not necessarily – On some it merely confirms their inherent prejudices . You may not have noticed it but look again !

  • abucs

    The problem as i see it, is an agressive and biased press and some people wanting to believe the worst. The Pope addressed in his visit the dangers of a biased press and compared it to the Nazis. Fair enough, although people who feel the Pope unfairly associated them with the Nazis are free to reject that comparison. (I would hope that no-one wants to be associated with the Nazis).

    It is dangerous to dismiss the press outright, but it gets to a point where they look ridiculous. I’m waiting for the “BBC on Trial” 56 part series to be produced.

    I read somewhere that 0.4% of the priests in the UK were accused of child abuse. That is accused, not found guilty. That’s verbal abuse, touching inappropriately, suggestive talk and the unspeakable.

    Looking at the statistics in other countries i would expect this to be way below the rest of the UK community average especially for ‘institutions’ that deal with children.

    That being said, regarding the “landing in a Third World country” remark, the Cardinal should be embarressed and apologise for his remarks. To be invited to someone’s house and then to insult that house shows bad manners, at the least.

  • Pippakin


    “The problem as i see it, is an agressive and biased press and some people wanting to believe the worst. The Pope addressed in his visit the dangers of a biased press and compared it to the Nazis. Fair enough, although people who feel the Pope unfairly associated them with the Nazis are free to reject that comparison. (I would hope that no-one wants to be associated with the Nazis).”

    I think there are many people who resent being associated with Nazis, especially since the only one actually associated with Nazis is, the Pope.

  • abucs
  • Alan Maskey

    John Paul 11, a Pole, had no prolbems working with Ratzinger. Refusal to serve in the Wehrmacht meant severe retaliation not only on the individual involved but on his family too.
    The Jehovah’s Witnesses can hold their heads up high, They paid a high price.
    Those who were never forced into such a dilemma as the Nazis presented are hardly fit to do more than snipe.