Cardinal Walter Kasper - German theologian and former head of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity on his role in shaping the agenda at the Synod for the Family, what he expects to be discussed there this October, and his feelings toward those Cardinals who criticized his "proposal" to give Communion to some divorced and remarried Catholics.
In this special feature interview with Cardinal Walter Kasper, Salt + Light producer Sebastian Gomes sits down with this eminent theologian to ask him about mercy, collaboration with the Pope, and the pastoral realities facing families today. A must-see!
Responding to the criticism of those who see the theme of mercy in contradiction to tradition Catholic teaching, the cardinal says this is nonsense since mercy is a revealed truth that does not stand in opposition to the other truths of our faith.
Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York. “Now we have a pope who says, ‘Look, we just had five decades of internal debates and controversy about the meaning of Vatican II, and now it’s time to do it.’ And that’s what he’s doing.”
He doesn't mean we the synod, or we the rest of the church. He means we the Germans, we the Europeans, we the West. In other words, it's up to the churches of Africa to handle their own pastoral challenges. Just as "they should not tell us too much what we have to do." That's hardly dismissive, or xenophobic, or worse. It's just good theological sense.
That is precisely the kind of mercy Cardinal Kasper is proposing. And it seems as though he has is own allies in the debate. Because nothing gets published in Civilta Cattolica without the approval of the Holy See.
"You need a hermeneutic to see the whole of the Gospel and of Jesus’ message and then differentiate between what is doctrine and what is discipline. Discipline can change. So I think we have here a theological fundamentalism which is not Catholic."
"Frankly, cardinals can think whatever they want to about who should and shouldn’t be able to receive Communion. Under Catholic law, however, there’s only one person who has the authority to tweak those rules, and it’s the pope"
This is the method taught by St. Ignatius Loyola in his spiritual exercises; this is how Pope Francis, as a good Jesuit, practices it. He starts from the situation and then undertakes a discernment of the spirits.
"Walter Kasper is a gentle giant within the Catholic community, within ecumenical circles, and within the Catholic-Jewish dialogue" - Dermot A. Lane, Mater Dei Institute of Education, Dublin City University, Ireland