Cardinal Walter Kasper smiles after a meeting of the College of Cardinals at the Vatican in 2005.
Things got off to a not-so-cracking start for Pope Benedict XVI’s U.K. tour after a member of his entourage, one Cardinal Walter Kasper, compared Britain to a “Third World country” just hours before Team Vatican prepared for arrival Thursday. —KA
Cardinal Walter Kasper, the senior Catholic who prompted controversy on the eve of Pope Benedict’s visit by comparing Britain to a third world country, has refused to apologise for his comments, his spokesman said today.
Kasper, 77, the Vatican’s leading expert on relations with the Church of England, told a German magazine: “When you arrive at Heathrow you think at times that you’ve landed in a third world country.”
Hours before the Pope flew to Scotland early today to start his four-day visit to the UK, Kasper’s withdrawal from the trip for health reasons was announced.