The recent synod opened, but didn’t enter, a door on the issue of civilly remarried people being admitted to the sacraments, says Cardinal Walter Kasper.
Speaking in Germany on October 29, Cardinal Kasper said the synod “stated the general principle, but not the possible consequences”.
“That was the only way to achieve the necessary two-thirds majority on this issue,” he said.
“The synod opened the door, so to speak, for the admission of divorced and remarried people to the sacraments in individual cases but it did not stride through that door,” Cardinal Kasper said
The synod did not want to commit the Pope, but to leave him a free rein, the cardinal added.
Cardinal Kasper said discussions at the synod on whether divorced and civilly remarried people could be admitted to the sacraments in individual cases or not weren’t easy.
“The discussions were not easy as pretty firmly entrenched positions often clashed,” he said.
“No bishop questioned the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage.
“The question was how to apply this teaching to difficult, complex and often confused situations without infringing upon Church teaching itself.”
With the end of the synod, the synodal process had arrived at a decisive stage but had not yet reached its goal.
The Pope’s apostolic post-synodal exhortation would be the final, binding conclusion, Cardinal Kasper said.
The cardinal said neither conservatives nor progressives were the winners at the synod.
“The true winner is the Pope. His reform course was confirmed by more than a two-thirds majority,” Cardinal Kasper said.
Mercy was the correct and Christian sound judgement when applying justice, he said.
“It does not see human beings as purely legal cases and if need be lets the guillotine down,” but takes the merciful approach which does not reinstate past wrongs but opens up a new chance.
“In this way the law does not have a punishing but a medicinal, healing function,” Cardinal Kasper said.
The synodal process showed the Church not as a finger-wagging teacher, but as a listening, compassionate mother, he said.
News category: World.
That German Cardinal Kaspar should put a positive view of the outcome of the recent Roman Synod on The Family should not surprise anyone. His eirenic view of the Church being the extension of God’s mercy in a fallen world – shared by Pope Francis and by Pope John XXIII – speaks of God’s prevenient grace, working through the Institution but not bound by its legalism. He is a firm supporter of the continuing outworking of the Vatican II Council, instigated by the Holy Spirit through Good Pope John.
Cardianl Kaspar is one of Pope Francis’ loyal supporters at the Vatican, and can be counted on for moral and spiritual support in any endeavour by the pontiff to extend the outreach of the Goiod News of the Gospel of OLJC to everyone – especially those within the Church, who may formerly have been overlooked by the traditionalists who may be tentative about extending the boundaries of the Church to ALL believers.
Father Ron Smith, Christchurch, New Zealand