Kasper: Merciful God, Merciful Church

During his first Angelus address, Pope Francis recommended a work of theology that “has done me so much good” because it “says that mercy changes everything; it changes the world by making it less cold and more fair.”

That book is Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life by Cardinal Walter Kasper, which has just been published by Paulist Press.

Before serving as president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity (2001-2010), Kasper was bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart (1989-1999).

He has taught theology at the University of Tubingen, the Westphalian University of Munster, and the Catholic University of America.

Commonweal: In your book Mercy, you argue that mercy is basic to God’s nature. How is mercy key to understanding God?

Cardinal Walter Kasper: The doctrine on God was arrived at by ontological understanding—God is absolute being and so on, which is not wrong.

But the biblical understanding is much deeper and more personal.

God’s relation to Moses in the Burning Bush is not “I am,” but “I am with you. I am for you. I am going with you.”

In this context, mercy is already very fundamental in the Old Testament. The God of the Old Testament is not an angry God but a merciful God, if you read the Psalms. Continue reading.

Source: Commonweal

Image: AP/Daily Telegraph

News category: Features.

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