the painfully proper, acutely sensitive ecumenist speaks his mind
To be effective in ecumenical affairs, one must be courteous, cautious, respectful, and above all sensitive. One must judge carefully how one’s remarks will be received by people of other faiths, other cultures, other backgrounds.
Cardinal Walter Kasper spent more than a decade in the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity: first as secretary, then as president—in effect as the Vatican’s top ecumenical official. Apparently he got out just in time, because just a few weeks after his retirement he’s in the headlines with his observation that when you fly into London these days, “you think at times that you’ve landed in a Third World country.”
Cardinal Kasper now says that he won’t accompany Pope Benedict on his trip to England, because he (the cardinal) has recently been sick. The nature of his illness has not been disclosed. Hoof-in-mouth disease, possibly.
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