It was never going to be an easy visit for the pope to make, he’s not universally regarded as some sort of untouchable deity in this country, us not being a predominantly catholic country, us having a chequered history during the middle ages on our treatment of that branch of religion, us more or less not caring less about religion in the main.
So the popes visit to the UK was always going to be one of those things that made headline news but made most think “so what?”, and ticket sales for his public appearances reflect that, they’ve not exactly been rocketing off the counter.
Tales of past physical and sexual abuse within the catholic church won’t help in this country’s oblivion of the popes public appearances here and this current popes implication in the covering up of past indiscretions by certain of his staff doesn’t reflect to well on him either, despite rhetoric and mumbled explanations there appear to have been few apologies.
So what he didn’t really need on the eve of his arrival in this country was for one of his cardinals, not just any old cardinal, but the cardinal specifically tasked with heading his churches public relations amongst other christian churches, to publicly declare his belief that the UK “was like entering a third world country”, a place “in the grip of a new and aggressive secular atheism” and a country where multiculturalism was apparently to blame for both of these demons. Full story here
The 77 year old german-born cardinal who made the accusations has now conveniently been striken with gout and unfortunately cannot make the trip here with his boss as intended, gout being completely debilitating of course and not treatable at all with modern medicines so that, for instance a gout sufferer could happily compete in two successive 18 hole golf competitions like my mate Steve, not at all, no.
You do have to wonder though whether, with his borderline racist aryan remarks, Cardinal Walter Kasper has the same Nazi foundations as Joseph Ratzinger don’t you ?