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Kardinal Walter Kasper: Barmhjertige Gud, barmhjertige kirke

8. maj 2014 -  9. maj opdateret med blog henvisninger. 

Commonweal har et længere og ualm. interessant interview med Kardinal Walter Kasper.
Walter Kasper kaldes ofte pavens teolog - hvilket gør Kaspers syn på tingene særligt interessant.

I det interview kan man bl.a. læse:


(..) Thomas Aquinas clearly said that mercy is much more fundamental because God does not answer to the demands of our rules. Mercy is the faithfulness of God to his own being as love. Because God is love. And mercy is the love revealed to us in concrete deeds and words. So mercy becomes not only the central attribute of God, but also the key of Christian existence. Be merciful as God is merciful. We have to imitate God’s mercy.

CWL: Why is it so necessary to retrieve that understanding today?

Kasper: The twentieth century was a very dark century, with two world wars, totalitarian systems, gulags, concentration camps, the Shoah, and so on. And the beginning of the twenty-first century is not much better. People need mercy. They need forgiveness. That’s why Pope John XXIII wrote in his spiritual biography that mercy is the most beautiful attribute of God. In his famous speech at the opening of Vatican II, he said that the church has always resisted the errors of the day, often with great severity—but now we have to use the medicine of mercy. That was a major shift. John Paul II lived through the latter part of the Second World War and then Communism in Poland, and he saw all the suffering of his people and his own suffering. For him mercy was very important. Benedict XVI’s first encyclical was God Is Love. And now Pope Francis, who has the experience of the southern hemisphere, where two-thirds of Catholics are living, many of them poor people—he has made mercy one of the central points of his pontificate. I think it’s an answer to the signs of the times.


CWL: It was reported that Pope Francis asked a young Jesuit what he was working on, and when the man said he was studying fundamental theology, the pope joked, “I can’t imagine anything more boring!” It seems that Francis wants to emphasize the role of pastoral theology. What does that mean for the practice of theology?

Kasper: I don’t see a contradiction between dogmatic theology—which is what I studied—and pastoral theology. Theology without a pastoral dimension becomes an abstract ideology.


My question—not a solution, but a question—is this: Is absolution not possible in this case? And if absolution, then also Holy Communion? There are many themes, many arguments in our Catholic tradition that could allow this way forward.

To live together as brother and sister? Of course I have high respect for those who are doing this. But it’s a heroic act, and heroism is not for the average Christian. That could also create new tensions. Adultery is not only wrong sexual behavior. It’s to leave a familiaris consortio, a communion, and to establish a new one. But normally it’s also the sexual relations in such a communion, so I can’t say whether it’s ongoing adultery. Therefore I would say, yes, absolution is possible. Mercy means God gives to everybody who converts and repents a new chance.


CWL: When it comes to the issue of Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, you have your critics, some of whom have found outlets in the Italian press. Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna, was given a great deal of space in Il Foglio to criticize your proposal. He has one question for you: “What happens to the first marriage?”

Kasper: The first marriage is indissoluble because marriage is not only a promise between the two partners; it’s God’s promise too, and what God does is done for all time. Therefore the bond of marriage remains. Of course, Christians who leave their first marriage have failed. That’s clear. The problem is when there is no way out of such a situation. If we look to God’s activity in salvation history, we see that God gives his people a new chance. That’s mercy. God’s love does not end because a human being has failed—if he repents. God provides a new chance—not by cancelling the demands of justice: God does not justify the sin. But he justifies the sinner. Many of my critics do not understand that distinction. They think, well, we want to justify their sin. No, nobody wants that. But God justifies the sinner who converts. This distinction appears already in Augustine.


Realistically, we should respect such situations, as we do with Protestants. We recognize them as Christians. We pray with them.

CWL: And we know that they don’t consider their marriages a Catholic sacrament—

Kasper: There are other problems. We consider the civil marriage of Protestants as valid, indissoluble marriages. They don’t believe in the sacramentality. There are also internal problems in the current canon law. How do you explain this to a Protestant—“it’s a valid marriage for you, but for a Catholic it’s not”? So we should to some degree reconsider the canonical regulations.


CWL: The pope has said that the church needs a better theology of women. You’ve said that we need to find a way to give women leadership roles inside Vatican offices. Do you see that happening any time soon, and how might that work?

Kasper: I’m not in favor of women’s ordination. But there are offices in the Vatican that do not require ordination. In economic affairs, for example, there are professional women who could carry out such duties. Ordination is not required to lead the Pontifical Council for the Laity. Half of the laity are women. There is an office for laity and there are no women in leadership there. That’s a problem. What about the Council for the Family? There’s no family without women.


CWL: The pope is seventy-seven years old. Given the fact that others will be responsible for carrying out his reforms—along with the institutional inertia that you just described—what are the prospects for success?

Kasper: Pope John XXIII only had five years, and he changed a lot. There was also a point of no return with Paul VI. Pope Francis cannot do everything by himself; he thinks in categories of process. He wants to initiate a process that continues beyond him. He will have the opportunity to appoint, I think, 40 percent of the cardinals, and they're the ones who will elect a new pope. In that way he’s able to condition a new conclave.

Hele interviewet er <her>


9. maj blogpost: 'A Second Guilt' hvor man bl.a. kan læse:

As Kasper points out, Pope Benedict has already suggested that someone in the situation I've just described, having confessed her sins and done penance for them, can have spiritual communion with Christ. But the same sin that is considered so grave that it prevents somone from receiving communion would premumably also prevent full spiritual communion with Christ. To say otherwise is to drive a wedge between Christ and his church. No servant is better than his Master.

"A Second Guilt" <her>


6. maj blogpost: Kasper & Kaveny at Fordham hvor man bl.a. kan læse:

Last night Cathleen Kaveny interviewed Cardinal Walter Kasper at Fordham University in front of a packed house. The cardinal has been making the rounds in New York and Boston, promoting his new book Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life. It was a fascinating conversation, veering from the abstract (How is mercy the key to understanding God's nature?) to the practical (How merciful must I be when grading students' papers?) and back again. Kaveny asked excellent questions, as did the audience, and Kasper offered fascinating responses, some of which I live-tweeted. After the event, one of my Twitter followers suggested I collect some of my my tweets via Storify. So that's what I'm going to do--or at least try to do.

"Kasper & Kaveny at Fordham" <her>

Commonweal Magazine fortæller om sig selv:

"Since its founding the magazine has been liberal in temperament, opinionated and engaged, but tolerant in tone, prioritizing reasoned discussion over sectarianism. It has never shrunk, however, from taking strong and controversial positions, going back to its neutral stance on the Spanish Civil War in 1938, when circulation plummeted by 20 percent. The editors condemned the firebombing of Dresden and the use of atomic weapons at Hiroshima and Nagasaki during World War II, and in the decades to follow Commonweal criticized American racism, the anti-Semitism of Father Charles Coughlin, and the smear tactics of Senator Joseph McCarthy; supported resistance to U.S. involvement in Vietnam; and took issue with the 1968 papal encyclical Humanae vitae but also the 1973 Supreme Court decision in Roe v. Wade. Today the magazine maintains prolife convictions while being critical of single-issue abortion politics, and provides a space for marginalized voices in the church."

Link <her>