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Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
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Cardinal Kasper: Pope Francis is a ‘radical,’ not a ‘liberal’

February 19, 2015

L’Osservatore Romano has published excerpts from a new book by Cardinal Walter Kasper on Pope Francis.

Pope Francis, writes the retired president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, is a radical in the sense of emphasizing the roots of the Gospel message and the joy it brings. The Pope “does not advocate a liberal position, but a radical position” and is neither “traditionalist nor progressive.”

Citing Nietzsche, Sartre, Heidegger, and other 19th- and 20th-century writings, Cardinal Kasper said that modern man lacks joy. The Gospel message, which brings renewal and joy, is the source from which springs “every Christian doctrine and moral discipline.”

As the Gospel is the wellspring of doctrine, charity is the wellspring of the moral life, Cardinal Kasper continued. The papal emphasis on the roots of the Gospel and charity, however, does not “eliminate the so-called secondary or uncomfortable truth,” nor may such truths be “dismissed as less binding.”

Cardinal Kasper added that the Pope’s emphasis on the centrality of the proclamation of the Gospel message and the life of charity places him inside a “great tradition” that includes, in various ways, St. Augustine, St. Francis and St. Dominic, St. Thomas Aquinas, Martin Luther, and the Second Vatican Council.


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  • Posted by: Elan - Feb. 19, 2015 7:13 PM ET USA

    He cannot seriously group Martin Luther with Vatican Council and the aforementioned saints. These saints and the councils have affirmed the sacredness and unique teaching authority of the Church. That truth was rejected by Luther in favor of sola scriptura. The only centrality to Luther was a pride that lead him to believe he was not subject to authority. Disobedience is not a fruit of the Holy Spirit.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Feb. 19, 2015 1:04 PM ET USA

    Haha. Martin Luther in an article on joy. That does make me laugh. I never put those two thoughts together.