Catholic World News

Synod poised to reject Kasper proposal?

October 21, 2015

The “Kasper proposal”—a bid to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion under some circumstances—received little support as the Synod of Bishops heard reports from its small working groups.

Of the 13 discussion groups, arranged by language, none endorsed the Kasper proposal. Several of the working groups suggested further discussion of how the Church could best serve divorced and remarried Catholics, and possibly the formation of a special committee to study the issue. But no group supported the “penitential path” that Cardinal Kasper had proposed.

The working groups also failed to generate support for a proposal that individual bishops’ conferences should be free to set their own policies regarding the pastoral care of Catholics who are divorced and remarried. The English ‘A’ group said that the question “ought not be left to individual episcopal conferences. To do so would risk harm to the unity of the Catholic Church, the understanding of her sacramental order, and the visible witness of the life of the faithful.”

The German-language group, in its report, showed some disappointment that the Synod had not reached a consensus that would allow for bolder policy change. The German group also issued an unusual public rebuke to certain unnamed Synod participants whose public statements had “violated the spirit of the Synod.” Later, in an interview, Cardinal Reinhard Marx issued another rare criticism of a fellow cardinal, saying that he was unhappy with public statements by Cardinal George Pell.

Cardinal Pell, for his part, remained firm in his opposition to the Kasper proposal. “You can’t separate practice from moral teaching,” he said. “Christ’s teaching on adultery and second marriages is very clear.”

At the daily briefing organized by the Vatican press office, Cardinal Marx said that the Synod fathers should be prepared to change Church teaching, since doctrine is a living tradition rather than a closed book. “We don’t own the truth,” he said. The German cardinal said that he still hopes “the Synod will be one that leaves us with open doors, not closed ones.”


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Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Oct. 22, 2015 10:48 PM ET USA

    Maybe we don't "own the truth," but we (i.e., the Church) do bear "the totality and fullness of the means of salvation" (Ad Gentes Divinitus, n. 6). That's good enough for me.

  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - Oct. 22, 2015 7:54 AM ET USA

    The biggest blessing I see coming out of this is a clear picture of who the friends and enemies of the Church are. The Pope now can take advice from the likes of Cardinal Marx with the grain of salt they deserve.

  • Posted by: feedback - Oct. 21, 2015 11:44 PM ET USA

    "Of the 13 discussion groups none endorsed the Kasper proposal" - thanks be to God for that! This Synod gives great occasion to shut the doors permanently behind every heretical idea that was brought up, and, most importantly, to accompany the decisions with a sound Catholic teaching.

  • Posted by: james-w-anderson8230 - Oct. 21, 2015 11:33 PM ET USA

    The question is "Are Cardinal Marx's doors opening to Hell or Heaven?"