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Friday, September 17, 2010

Cardinal Kasper- UK is a third world country

Translation of article in the print edition of the German magazine Focus.

The pensioned Curial cardinal Walter Kasper sees in Great Britain, the destination of the Papal journey now underway, a new and aggressive atheism at work.

Why have so many British people expressed annoyance at the Papal visit?

England is today a secularised, pluralistic country. When you land at Heathrow Airport, you think that you are landing in a third world country.

Are Christians discriminated against there

Yes, ahead of anything in England an agressive new atheism is being diseminated. If you even wear a cross on British Airways, you are discriminated against. We want however to publically show our faith. Everyone in England knows that there is a great Christian tradition there. Europe would not be Europe any more if this tradition cannot be preserved.

Why has the Pope expressed himself against the planned equal rights for homosexuals in England

The question whether we can accept the long term relationship of people of the same sex and on this matter the Church has defended for hundreds of years an understanding of marriage and the family that corresponds to the divine order.

Shouldn't the Anglican see the beatification of Cardinal Newman who converted to Catholicism as a provocation?

I have talked with the AB of C many times about this matter and he thinks to my amazement that it would be a quite a great event for Anglo-Saxon culture. Newman will be seen as a great teacher. I do not believe that the beatification will lead to ecumenical fault lines.

The Pope meets the Queen, the formal Head of the Anglicans. She carries the title "Defender of the Faith", an attribute which was first used by the church dividing Henry VIII. Is the Pope going to seek with the Queen a joint defensive strategy for the Faith in contemporary Europe?

The Queen is not the Head of the Anglican Church, as is always said, rather she is the Chief Moderator. Her tasks are restricted to the administrative area. The Queen however is an intensely Christian woman, and without doubt the theme of Christian Europe and the protection of the Faith in Europe will play a role. The question also greatly concerns the AB of C. The theological discussions will take place with him not with the Queen.

What goal is the Pope pursuing with the visit

He wants to work on the difficult dialogue with the Anglican community. He will
discuss possible fields of cooperation. In GB, there is a special interest in the social encyclicals of the Pope and also the questions of universal justice.

Will the Catholic Church ordain women
The decision of JPII was so unambiguous that I cannot reckon on it.

Not in 100/ 200 years
I am not a prophet but I don't believe so.

Why cannot women become priests?
"The whole Catholic, Orthodox and also Protestant tradition until the 20th century speaks against the idea We cannot expect from female ordination or lifting celibacy requirements a great increase in the Faith. Look at the Protestant churches. They have no celibacy and female ordination But is it going better? Also the Anglican Church has caught itself in immense problems with the new practice. I do not want these problems for my church.

Exactly at this moment, Pope Benedict is being strongly criticised in Germany

That is true and unfair. Outside Germany many shake their head about how the Germans treat the Pontiff who is from their country.

Do the abuse scandals shake the foundations of the Church?

Yes, they have gravely wounded the Church and much trust has been lost in the process. But the German bishops are following the right path.

What is the real reason for the contemporary crisis of faith?

It is a crisis of Western society, a crisis of values and direction, which since the Enlightment was time and again to be sensed and through the 68 movement aquired new impetus. The Church,Catholic and Protestant lives in this society, whose sense of faith is weakened. Many don't know any more what Catholic and Protestant is and live with certain misunderstandings, that are often one sided and polemical. How can I hand on the faith to a new generation? I know- that is not going to happen if I simply customise the Church to contemporary society.

Has the crisis of faith also reached the clergy?

Naturally, the Church and the clergy fall down on the job. But one cannot sweepingly judge the Church in which many priests do their work to the best of their knowledge and with a clear conscience. You should see- Abuse is a problem of society which tragically has reached even into the Church. I am convinced that the Church will resolve this problem although there will always be sinners who belong to the Church.

As featured in The Times coverage of the Papal visit.
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