A SENIOR ADVISER to the Pope has pulled out of the upcoming papal visit to Britain after reportedly calling the UK a “Third World country” that was marked with “a new and aggressive atheism”.
Cardinal Walter Kasper, 77, said “when you land at Heathrow you think at times you have landed in a Third World country”.
He also reportedly also told German magazine Focus that if a person wears a crucifix while flying with British Airways, they are “discriminated against”.
He was due to take part in ecumenical talks with representatives of the Church of England during an upcoming four-day visit, beginning on Thursday.
He has now withdrawn, citing health problems.
Clifford Langley, from Catholic newspaper The Tablet, told the BBC the cardinal was “obviously talking nonsense”, and added:
I don’t think he believes Britain is in the grip of secular atheism, and he shouldn’t have said so.
They are saying it is ill health [that has forced the cardinal to drop out of the visit], but I wonder if that is the fact. I wonder if he has been dropped because he is an embarrassment.
British Airways released a statement regarding the Cardinal’s reported comments saying: “It is completely untrue that we discriminate against Christians or members of any faith.”