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German Cardinals Walter Kasper and Reinhard Marx

March 14, 2018 ( – Cardinal Walter Kasper, whose theology appears to be the chief inspiration for Pope Francis’ doctrine on giving Holy Communion to people living in states of adultery in second marriages, now appears to be claiming that homosexual unions contain “elements” of Christian marriage and are even “analogous” to it in a way that is similar to the relationship between the Catholic Church and non-Catholic Christian communities.

Moreover, the cardinal is attributing his claims to Pope Francis’ apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia, despite the fact that the document explicitly contradicts him.

“The pope does not leave room for doubt over the fact that civil marriages, de facto unions, new marriages following a divorce (Amoris Laetitia 291) and unions between homosexual persons (Amoris Laetitia 250s.) do not correspond to the Christian conception of marriage,” writes Kasper in a recently-released book on Amoris Laetitia.

“He says, however, that some of these partners can realize in a partial and analogous way some elements in Christian marriage (Amoris Laetitia 292),” continues Kasper.

Kasper compares such relationships with the relationship between the Catholic Church and non-Catholic Christian groups, whom Vatican II says contain “elements of sanctification and truth” of the Church.

“Just as outside the Catholic Church there are elements of the true Church, in the above-mentioned unions there can be elements present of Christian marriage, although they do not completely fulfill, or do not yet completely fulfill, the ideal,” adds Kasper.

The statements appear in Kasper’s new booklet, “The Message of Amoris Laetitia: A Fraternal Discussion,” which was recently published simultaneously in German and Italian.

In the same work, Kasper also insinuates that Amoris Laetitia opens the way to permit the use of contraception, a practice that is universally condemned in the Scriptures, Church Fathers, and the Papal Magisterium, most recently by Popes Paul VI and John Paul II.

Kasper notes that in Amoris Laetitia, the Pope only “encourages the use of the method of observing the cycles of natural fertility,” and “does not say anything about other methods of family planning and avoids all casuistic definitions.” In the context with the book’s passages on communion for those who commit adultery in second “marriages,” which use similar language, Kasper appears to be claiming that the pope is allowing for exceptions to the Church’s condemnation of artificial birth control.

Kasper contradicts John Paul II – and even Amoris Laetitia

Kasper’s words regarding homosexual unions appear to directly contradict not only the doctrines of John Paul II but even Amoris Laetitia, the document he purports to explain.

Under the papacy of John Paul II and the administration of Cardinal Josef Ratzinger (later Pope Benedict XVI), the Holy See’s Sacred Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith expressly repudiated the idea that homosexual unions can be “analogous” to marriage. The document was issued in 2003 and received the approval of John Paul II.

“There are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God's plan for marriage and family,” the Congregation declared. “Marriage is holy, while homosexual acts go against the natural moral law. Homosexual acts close the sexual act to the gift of life.’ They do not proceed from a genuine affective and sexual complementarity. Under no circumstances can they be approved.”

The paragraphs in Amoris Laetitia cited by Kasper to justify treating homosexual unions as “analogous” to marriage contain no clear reference to homosexual unions but simply refer to the “constructive elements in those situations which do not yet or no longer correspond to her teaching on marriage.”

However, Amoris Laetitia states in paragraph 251, “In discussing the dignity and mission of the family, the Synod Fathers observed that, ‘as for proposals to place unions between homosexual persons on the same level as marriage, there are absolutely no grounds for considering homosexual unions to be in any way similar or even remotely analogous to God’s plan for marriage and family.’” Francis and the Synod Fathers are quoting the same 2003 document of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith mentioned above.

German bishops seeking to legitimize homosexual unions

Cardinal Kasper’s apparent desire to legitimize homosexual unions reflects the thinking of several influential bishops in the German hierarchy.

The Vice President of the German Episcopal Conference, Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, recently has said homosexual unions include “positive and good” aspects and has proposed blessings for them. He made similar comments in 2015.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, a member of the Pope’s Council of Cardinal Advisers, apparently endorsed the possibility of blessing homosexual unions earlier this year, and then appeared to backtrack after heavy criticism, claiming that he only wanted to give such couples “spiritual encouragement.”

In June 2015, Bishop Heiner Koch of Dresden-Meissen (now Archbishop of Berlin), was quoted by the German Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost as saying, “Any bond that strengthens and holds people is in my eyes good; that applies also to same-sex relationships.”

The German bishops’ website,, published an article in 2015 defending the notion of blessing homosexual unions, and blasting German Bishop Stefan Oster, who oversees the diocese of Passau, for defending the traditional moral teaching of the Church on sexuality.

Cardinal Kasper himself publicly endorsed Ireland’s creation of the institution of homosexual “marriage” in 2015, saying: “A democratic state has the duty to respect the will of the people; and it seems clear that, if the majority of the people wants such homosexual unions, the state has a duty to recognize such rights.”

However, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, a German and former prefect of the Holy See’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, condemned such blessings in February, as have some other German and Austrian bishops.

“If a priest blesses a homosexual couple, then this is an atrocity at a holy site, namely, to approve of something that God does not approve of,” said Müller.

Kasper concerned about the word ‘heresy’ being used against pope’s doctrines

In announcing the publication of the book, Kasper complained that people are using the word “heresy” to describe the teaching that Holy Communion can be given to people in habitual states of adultery, which seems to be taught by Pope Francis in his apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia.

“There is a very bitter debate (about the Pope’s teaching), way too strong, with accusations of heresy,” Kasper said in a recent interview with Vatican News, the Holy See’s official news service, regarding “The Message of Amoris Laetitia.”

In his book, Kasper protests against those theologians who have accused Francis of heresy, writing in a footnote, “Who, other than the Magisterium has the right to make an accusation of that type?  Doesn’t the principle still hold that until one is legitimately condemned he must be considered to be within the orthodox church?”

He also claimed in interviews that Amoris Laetitia is easy to understand.

“This document’s language is so clear that any Christian can understand it. It is not high theology incomprehensible to people,” Kasper said. “The People of God are very content and happy with this document because it gives space to freedom, but it also interprets the substance of the Christian message in an understandable language. So, the People of God understand! The Pope has an optimal connection with the People of God.”