PopeWatch: Kasper’s Victory Dance




Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa explains how Cardinal Kasper has emerged victorious in his quest to give Communion to Catholics in adulterous marriages:


The German Option of the Argentine Pope

ROME, April 28, 2016 – The definitive confirmation of Pope Francis’s endorsement of the German solution to the crucial question of communion for the divorced and remarried has come from Germany’s most famous cardinal and theologian, Walter Kasper, in an interview published on April 22 in the Aachen newspaper “Aachener Zeitung”:

> Kardinal Kasper: Was Franziskus von der Kirche und Europa erwartet

An interview summarized in English here:

> Kasper: Pope Intends “Not to Preserve Everything as it has Been”

Thanks to the post-synodal exhortation “Amoris Lætitia” – Kasper said – the German bishops now have “a tail wind to help solve such situations in a humane way.”

And he recounted this revealing episode. Some time ago, a priest of his acquaintance had decided not to prohibit a remarried mother from receiving communion herself on the day of her daughter’s first communion. And he himself, Kasper, had helped that priest to make this decision, certain that he was “absolutely right.” The cardinal then reported the matter to the pope, who approved of the decision and said: “That is where the pastor has to make the decision.”

So “the door is open” for admission of the divorced and remarried to the sacraments, Kasper continued. “There is also some freedom for the individual bishops and bishops’ conferences. Not all Catholics think the way we Germans think. Here [in Germany] something can be permissible which is forbidden in Africa. Therefore, the pope gives freedom for different situations and future developments.”


Between Kasper and Jorge Mario Bergoglio there is much more than just the occasional contact.

In his last in-flight press conference, on the way back from the Greek island of Lesbos, Francis said he had felt “annoyance” and “sadness” over the importance given by the media to communion for the divorced and remarried.

And yet this has happened precisely on account of the pope’s decision to entrust to Kasper – for decades the leader of proponents of a decisive change in this matter – the opening talk at the consistory of cardinals in February of 2014.

That dramatic consistory was followed by two synods that laid bare the stark divisions within the Church hierarchy. But in Francis’s mind, the script was already written. And it is that which can now be read in “Amoris Lætitia,” the centerpiece of which is precisely the eighth chapter, composed in the typically vague and shifting form of Jorge Mario Bergoglio when he wants to open and not to close a “process,” but that now is leading Kasper and the Germans to say with absolute certainty that they have “the wind at their backs.”

Of course, not all the cardinals and bishops of Germany agree with Kasper. Fellow cardinal and theologian Gerhard L. Müller, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, is also German, and has made it known repeatedly – most recently in a book issued a few days before the publication of “Amoris Lætitia” – that he is in radical disagreement with those who, by absolving the divorced and remarried and admitting them to communion, in point of fact undermine the foundations not of one but of three sacraments, marriage, penance, and the Eucharist.

But by now it is as clear as day that for Francis Cardinal Müller isn’t worth a thing, in spite of his role as guardian of doctrine and of the useless toil with which he sent the pope dozens of corrective notes for the draft of the exhortation, which had been given to him in advance merely by virtue of his office.

In fact, for the official presentation of “Amoris Lætitia” to the world on the day of its publication, the pope called not Müller but another cardinal and theologian of the German-speaking area, Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna.

And a few days later, during the flight from Lesbos to Rome, Francis once again proposed Schönborn as the main exegete of the post-synodal exhortation, he being a “great theologian [who] knows well the doctrine of the faith,” as the pope described him. To the question of whether for the divorced or remarried there now is or is not the possibility, formerly precluded, of receiving communion, the pope responded with a peremptory and for once unmistakable: “Yes. Period.” But he recommended that none other than Schönborn be consulted for a more detailed reply.

And not by accident. Because at the synod last October it was precisely the archbishop of Vienna, in agreement with Kasper, who thought up in the “Circulus germanicus” the formulas of apparent respect for the traditional magisterium of the Church but at the same time open to change – capable of getting around Müller’s objections –  which then went into the “Relatio finalis” of the synod and finally into “Amoris Lætitia,” always in that deliberately ambiguous form that however now allows Kasper’s party to chant victory and Müller and the others on his side to suffer a scorching defeat.


On opposing side of the victorious German solution there has been only one bishop so far who has reacted by going right to the heart of the question, not simply entrenching himself behind the “non-magisterial” nature – and therefore able to be interpreted only in the light of the previous magisterium of the Church – of “Amoris Lætitia,” as Cardinal Raymond L. Burke, for example, has instead decided to do.

This bishop is, curiously, also of German ancestry. He is the auxiliary of Astana in Kazakhstan, Athanasius Schneider.

The complete text of the remarks by Bishop Schneider came out in Italian on April 24, on the online agency Corrispondenza Romana” directed by Professor Roberto de Mattei:

> “Amoris lætitia”: chiarire per evitare una confusione generale

And in English the following day on the blog “Veri Catholici”:

> Bishop Athanasius Schneider speaks on “Amoris lætitia”

On the question of communion for the divorced and remarried, Schneider’s criticism of the “confusion” produced by “Amoris Lætitia” is very tough.

“The confusion reaches its apex,” he writes, “since all, whether the supporters of the admission of the divorced and remarried to Communion, or those who oppose them, sustain that the doctrine of the Church in this matter has not been modified.”

Schneider sets up a comparison with the spread of the Arian heresy in the 4th century. In 357, the confusion reached the extreme when Pope Liberius endorsed an ambiguous formula concerning the divinity of Jesus, which made Saint Jerome say, describing the state of disorientation at the time: “The world groaned and found itself, with shock, to have become Arian.”

At that juncture – Schneider notes – “St. Hilary of Poitiers was the only Bishop to undertake grave remonstrations with Pope Liberius for such ambiguous acts.”

But today as well – continues the auxiliary of Astana – the situation is such that some might exclaim like Saint Jerome: “The whole world groans and finds itself, with shock, to have accepted divorce in practice.”

So just as in the 4th century “St. Basil the Great made an urgent appeal to the Pope of Rome to indicate with his own words the clear direction to obtain finally a unity of thought in faith and charity,” so also today “one can consider legitimate an appeal to our dear pope, Francis, the Vicar of Christ and ‘sweet Christ upon earth’ (St. Catherine of Sienna), so that he order the publication of an authentic interpretation of ‘Amoris lætitia’, which should necessarily contain an explicit declaration of the disciplinary principle of the universal and infallible magisterium in regarding to the admission to the sacraments for the divorced and separated, as it has been formulated in n. 84 of ‘Familiaris consortio’.”

Which at no. 84, “incomprehensibly absent from ‘Amoris lætitia’”, says:

“Reconciliation in the sacrament of penance which would open the way to the Eucharist, can only be granted to those who… take on themselves the duty to live in complete continence, that is, by abstinence from the acts proper to married couples.”


Under the circumstances it nevertheless appears unlikely that Pope Francis would accept such an appeal.

Go here to read the rest.  Throughout almost all of Catholic history the popes have been champions of orthodoxy.  We live in a time when the Pope is quite the reverse.  How we deal with this bizarre situation will determine the future of the Church.
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Donald R. McClarey

Cradle Catholic. Active in the pro-life movement since 1973. Father of three and happily married for 35 years. Small town lawyer and amateur historian. Former president of the board of directors of the local crisis pregnancy center for a decade.


  1. I have never understood this phenomenon of individuals needing to receive the Eucharist because everybody else is doing it. Is it similar to knowing the secret handshake to get into a club?

    This past Sunday I had to smile (not at the sin) when it came time for reception of the Eucharist. I stepped out of my row to allow my family to get in line. As I knelt back in our row I saw a 20ish young woman down the row kneel back down after her family joined the line. Then in the row behind me the same thing happened with another young woman. No big deal; no one publicly rebuked us for being sinners. I wish priests/ families/teachers would spend more time teaching about the profanation of the Eucharist.

    For years I have seen a couple in an illicit second marriage attend Mass and never receive communion. I have seen them at weekday Masses and other devotional activities. I marvel at their faith.

  2. I agree with Ken: “For years I have seen a couple in an illicit second marriage attend Mass and never receive communion. I have seen them at weekday Masses and other devotional activities. I marvel at their faith.”
    God judges whether someone goes to heaven or hell. Sometimes a couple in an illicit relationship cannot break it, so they do the next best thing without profaning the Eucharist. Let God judge.

  3. “Sometimes a couple in an illicit relationship cannot break it, so they do the next best thing without profaning the Eucharist. Let God judge.”

    They cannot break it? Why?

    How does this benefit the valid marriage and bring it closer to being healed?

    I am certain their are any number of heart wrenching situations which might seem to
    come into play here, BUT, how does this justify doing damage to a valid marriage?

    “I marvel at their faith”

    This cut me to the quick!

    No doubt there are those who have seen my wife and her lover and who think the same.

    How nice.

    How nice.

    Jorge is proud of you.

  4. Really, what is the motivation for all of this? The German bishops get what they want– why do they ( and Francis) want this? Can my glasses be so heavily rose tinted that I can still believe this is good intentions unfortunately gone awry?
    No. They know well enough that it is a destruction.

  5. “Not all Catholics think the way we Germans think…”

    Could have been said by Martin Luther with much the same ill-disguised smug superiority.

  6. Karl said,”This cut me to the quick!
    No doubt there are those who have seen my wife and her lover and who think the same.
    How nice.
    How nice.
    Jorge is proud of you.”

    I don’t think it takes much to cut him to the quick judging from his posts on this site. I will truly pray that he seeks mental health for his issues as he seems borderline dangerous.

    I also know a few Catholic individuals who were abandoned and divorced by their spouses and none of them has ever acted as unhinged as Karl.

    Karl, if you’ve read any of my posts (including the first on this thread), you would know that I’m not a supporter of this exhortation.

    The Church has proclaimed several habitual sinners as saints, but I’ll be sure to tsk,tsk this couple at Mass tomorrow.

  7. I think (DANGER! DANGER! Will Robinson!!) that (similar to Easter Duty) one Sunday Mass each year each and every priest must give a sermon beginning with the sentence, “You never can tell, you may go to Heaven, and you may go to H . . .”

  8. It is a sad day, when a faithful spouse is slandered for taking offense at adultery and the injustice that is never ending that goes along with it.

    Goodbye, Don.


  9. Karl, you have to move on. Your adulterous spouse is not going to repent. Get an annulment if possible.

  10. I have never been in Karl’s position but I think I can understand. Its must be hard to see the love of your life abandon you. Hosea didn’t get over it until his spouse repented.

    But in the practical world, one must move on.

  11. Karl appears to be consumed by his wife’s adultery. That’s not healthy, either emotionally or spiritually.
    One of the graces for which I pray is to NOT be overcome by evil. Despair is a sin against Hope, one of the cardinal virtues.
    The Spiritual Virtues include to willingly forgive all injuries. Think of the Crucifixion and the love that filled Our Lord’s Sacred Heart during the three hours agony on the Holy Cross; and ask Him for strength and for His presence with you at the hour of death.

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