Kasper says doctrinal hardliners want war with Pope

Cardinal Walter Kasper says hardliners opposed to his proposals for Communion for the divorced and remarried really have Pope Francis as a target.

The German cardinal told the Italian daily Il Mattino that some of his fellow cardinals “. . . claim to know on their own what truth is, but Catholic doctrine is not a closed system, but a living tradition that develops”.

“They want to crystallise the truth in certain formulas . . . the formulas of tradition.”

At a consistory of cardinals earlier this year, Cardinal Kasper suggested, in limited cases, divorced and civilly remarried Catholics could be admitted to Communion following a period of penance.

He spoke at the Pope’s invitation.

Pope Francis, who has expressed admiration for Cardinal Kasper’s writings on mercy, has also appointed him as one of the fathers at next month’s synod on the family.

Several cardinals opposed to Cardinal Kasper’s suggestion have produced books defending the Church’s traditional and current sacramental system, ahead of the synod.

Among them are the Vatican’s doctrine chief Cardinal Gerhard Muller and prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy Cardinal George Pell.

The French newspaper La Croix reported Vatican sources saying that Pope Francis was “irritated” by the cardinals’ decision to publish so close to the synod.

But the Vatican was quick to deny this.

Cardinal Kasper told Il Mattino some of his fellow cardinals are seeking a “doctrinal war” whose ultimate target is Pope Francis.

“None of my brother cardinals has ever spoken with me,” he added.

“I, on the other hand, have spoken twice with the Holy Father. I arranged everything with him. He was in agreement. What can a cardinal do but stand with the pope? I am not the target, the target is another.”

Asked if the target was Pope Francis, the cardinal replied: “Probably yes”.

Also, in an interview with Italian newspaper La Stampa, Cardinal Kasper said he was blindsided by publication of the new books.

“I learned about it only today from journalists – they were sent the text, not me. In all my academic life I’ve never experienced anything like this.”

In an article in the Tablet, Cardinal Kasper said he did not say all divorced and remarried can be admitted to Communion, as there are different situations.

But he hoped the synod would listen to people in this situation.

Cardinal Kasper said his impression was that Pope Francis wants “an opening”.


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