Cardinal Walter Kasper
John-Henry Westen / LifeSiteNews

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Cdl Kasper: Laity will ‘not accept’ future pope who doesn’t continue Francis’ legacy

MADRID, October 1, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – German Cardinal Walter Kasper said that Pope Francis is securing his successor who will carry on his legacy by appointing the majority of cardinals who will vote in the next conclave. He added that if it was possible that a pope was  elected who would attempt to erase Francis’ mark upon the Catholic Church, then the people “would not accept him.”

“I think that in the next conclave, you cannot choose a pope who is ‘a contrarian.’ The people would not accept him,” said Cardinal Kasper in a Sept. 26 interview (read excerpt of interview below) with Religion Digital's José Manuel Vidal which took place while the Cardinal was visiting Madrid for a conference on world peace organized by the pacifist Sant’ Egidio movement.

When asked if Pope Francis has guaranteed his successor by having handpicked the majority of cardinals voting in the next conclave, Kasper replied: “Yes. It gives the impression that with the nominations to the cardinalate that what the Pope wants is to ensure his succession.”

Cardinal Kasper’s proposal during the 2014 Synod on the Family of admitting civilly 'remarried' Catholics who are living in adultery to receive Communion found its way into the synod’s final document. Pope Francis’ 2016 Apostolic Exhortation Amoris Laetitia has been interpreted by many bishops from around the world as adopting this proposal in footnote 351. The footnote states in the context of a discussion about the Church’s pastoral response to Catholics living in “irregular” unions that in “certain cases” such Catholics can receive the Church’s “help,” which “can include the help of the sacraments.” The footnote then makes a reference to the Eucharist and confession. Kasper has since asserted that the proper understanding of Francis’ Amoris Laetitia is to allow divorced and “remarried” Catholics to receive Holy Communion. 

Elsewhere in the interview, Cardinal Kasper acknowledged that neither the Pope nor he fear a schism over questions about the Pope’s theology. Affirming that the pontiff wants to guarantee a successor, Kasper said, “Those who are causing fears [about the schism] are small groups that are openly against the Pope. But you have to know and keep in mind that they are few, very few, although they make a lot of noise through the media. Do not attach any importance to them.” 

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Translated excerpts from Religion Digital’s interview with Cardinal Kasper:

Religion Digital: You were just with Pope Francis. Is he as strong as ever?

Cardinal Walter Kasper: Yes, the Pope continues to be quite strong. He has an interior motion that pushes him to continue moving ahead, and he is not afraid of the criticisms that circulate around him, even within the Catholic world. He continues down his path and is quite well, even physically, for a man of 82 years. And the proof is that he works tirelessly.

He is not even afraid of a schism, as he just said.

Kasper: The Pope is not afraid of schism.

And you?

Kasper: Nor do I believe that there will be schism. Those who are causing fears are small groups that are openly against the Pope. But you have to know and keep in mind that they are few, very few, although they make a lot of noise through the media. Do not attach any importance to them.

What do you expect from the Amazonia synod?

Kasper: This Amazonia synod will be very important and meaningful for the churches incarnated in the cultures of that area of the world.

Will the synod approve of giving married men access to the priesthood?

Kasper: The problem of the lack of vocations in Amazonia is very serious and that issue of the ordination of married men, and others, will depend on the decision and the unanimity of the bishops of the region. The Pope, with his synodal spirit, will put those decisions into motion if there is sufficient consensus among the bishops.

The German Church will also celebrate a synod with which the Vatican apparently has some problems.

Kasper: Yes, there are some who have problems with the Vatican. There has always been tension between Germany and Rome. It is something historic, but I can say that at this time that the great majority of the German Church is totally and profoundly in tune with Rome. There is some nervousness around, but I believe that they can be overcome.

With the cardinals at the next consistory, those chosen by Francis will be a majority. Has the Pope therefore guarantee his succession?

Kasper: Yes. It gives the impression that with the nominations to the cardinalate that what the Pope wants is to ensure his succession.

In what sense?

Kasper: I think that in the next conclave, you cannot choose a pope who is ‘a contrarian.’ The people would not accept him.

Who do you think will succeed Pope Francis?

Kasper: That is an open question and not applicable.

Are you convinced that, after Francis, there is no turning back?

Kasper: No, it isn’t possible. The people will not accept it because they want a normal and human Pope, one that is not imperial like those of the past.

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