July 7, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — A new booklet released in Germany by the former head of the Pontifical Council Cor Unum offers insight into the discussions that took place behind closed doors during the 2014 Consistory where Cardinal Walter Kasper first presented – upon the request of Pope Francis – his “Kasper proposal” to the assembly of cardinals.
Cardinal Paul Josef Cordes’ booklet, published by Fe-Verlag, is entitled “Spiritual Communion” – Freed From the Dust of the Centuries.
The well-known Italian journalist Marco Tosatti reported already in March 2014 about the strong resistance coming from a large group of cardinals against Kasper's proposal to allow “remarried” divorcees to receive Holy Communion, saying that it might have been even as much as 85 percent of the cardinals who opposed his liberalizing agenda.
Now Cardinal Cordes, who himself participated in the Consistory, gives us a glimpse into the discussions at the time. He sums up Kasper's proposal as follows:
The theologian [Cardinal Kasper] seemed to intend to achieve this: that Catholics who traditionally were called, in the Church's pastoral language, “public sinners” may now be allowed to eat the Body and to drink the Blood of Christ.
And Cardinal Cordes, who himself opposes this idea, continues:
Already at the Consistory in February [of 2014], there came up a vivid discussion about such a new pastoral approach, as the speaker [Cardinal Kasper] presented it. Some fathers reminded us that the words of the Gospels themselves are a fundamental obstacle to the admission of these Christians to the reception of the Eucharist. […] An admission – under whatever condition – of the remarried divorcees to Holy Communion would mean the opening of the reception of the Eucharist for those persons whom Christ Himself called “adulterers.” [According to some fathers] The initiative of Cardinal Kasper would demand from the Church to square the circle; it would surpass, finally, all the authority of all the consecrated shepherds who are, after all, bound to Holy Scripture.
Cardinal Cordes describes how he himself prepared a little speech for this discussion ahead of time, knowing well what Cardinal Kasper most probably would dare to present at the Consistory. However, his own presentation did not find much of a welcome from Cardinal Kasper himself:
But in the eyes of Cardinal Kasper, my proposal did not find grace. After the discussion in the College of Cardinals, he used the occasion to respond extensively to all the many critical objections.
Cardinal Cordes herewith confirms Tosatti's claim that Kasper's proposal found much criticism at the Consistory. Without going into the deeper debate between Cardinals Kasper and Cordes, this short summary at least gives the reader sufficient insight into the initial resistance within the College of Cardinals against the Kasper proposal, thereby confirming Marco Tosatti's own report from March 2014.
May all these resisting Cardinals take new courage and strength in preparing for the second part of the Synod of Bishops on the Family, which will take place from 4-25 October 2015 in Rome.