Challenge Grant: Our Boosters will match donations up to $45,000. We have $37,039 to go. Please donate!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Vatican gaffe: cardinal likens UK to 'Third World' country

Catholic World News - September 15, 2010

Cardinal Walter Kasper has raised eyebrows in England with an astonishingly insensitive comment about that country’s growing ethnic diversity.

“When you arrive at Heathrow you think at times that you’ve landed in a Third World country,” the former president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity reportedly said.

Shortly after his comment was made public, Cardinal Kasper announced that he would not accompany Pope Benedict on this week’s trip to the United Kingdom, as had been planned. The 77-year-old German cardinal explained that he did not feel equal to making the trip because he had been ill “for several days.”

Additional sources for this story
Some links will take you to other sites, in a new window.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($125,568 to go):
$150,000.00 $24,432.05
84% 16%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 6 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Mike in Toronto - Sep. 16, 2010 9:10 PM ET USA

    Earth to posters: Kasper's remark was "astonishingly insensitive" quite simply because (and I do not say this from political correctness) it was transparently and blatantly racist and xenophobic. No one knows but the Lord what was in the Cardinal's heart, but he deserved more than rapped knuckles for this stinker.

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Sep. 16, 2010 10:18 AM ET USA

    Haven't been to Britain, but have gone to the Continent recently. It's worse than a Third World Country. The contempt for ordinary decency and for religious values makes it more dangerous than any jungle. Ethnicity has nothing whatever to do with it.

  • Posted by: jflare293129 - Sep. 15, 2010 10:36 PM ET USA

    Uh, where's the gaffe and/or the statement of untruth? I realize the die-hard secularists and the multiculturalists do not wish to hear that they're anything but perfect, but..they're not perfect! If the Brits don't like references to 3rd world countries, perhaps they ought to try the moral scruples that helped make them a 1st world nation? All things considered, I'd say the Cardinal's remarks were squarely on the money. The US looks much the same at times, to my great regret.

  • Posted by: patriot6908 - Sep. 15, 2010 8:50 PM ET USA

    How does a factual observation become an "astonishingly insensitive comment"? It's probably one of the few bright comments that His Eminence has uttered. For some of us who live in major American cities, it's not a whole lot different.

  • Posted by: Gregory108 - Sep. 15, 2010 8:35 PM ET USA

    I have to kind of agree. I wouldn't call it a "Third World Country," but upon landing in London, I recall thinking that we could be entering the United Arab Emirates. There was an empty room with two women sitting, stamping passports,dressed in traditional Arabic dress, their heads covered with the traditional head-dress of Muslim women. I got a bit lost and turned around in Hyde Park and could not get directions because none of the people selling concessions spoke enough English to communicate.

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - Sep. 15, 2010 8:31 PM ET USA

    Oooo... The Brits have really thin skin when it comes to being compare to the Third World, but they have been insulting Pope and the Church on this visit since it was first announced. They can give it, but they can't take it.

Fall 2014 Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

The Pope is not the problem 17 hours ago
Do not confuse sacramental discipline and Catholic doctrine. 19 hours ago
Ignatius Press into the Breach: Trumping the Kasper Proposal October 22
Has the Vatican finally discovered how to avoid inaccurate English translations? October 22
The Synod: It's a Wrap! October 21

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Key synod report calls for 'gradualism' in Church response to irregular family situations CWN - October 13
As synod concludes, bishops issue message, approve document; Pope weighs in CWN - October 20
Cardinal Parolin: UN must protect innocents from Islamic State CWN - September 30
Synod of Bishops opens with Mass in St. Peter’s Basilica CWN - October 6