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May 29, 2015 ( — The grave effects of Ireland’s May 22 referendum in favor of same-sex “marriages,” not only for the secular world, but also especially for the Catholic Church, are showing themselves already.

None other than the leading cardinal who has promoted the liberal agenda for the two-part Synod of Bishops on the Family, Cardinal Walter Kasper, has now come out publicly and with force, telling the Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera that the Church needs to address more fully the question of same-sex couples. This topic was at the last Synod “only a marginal topic, but now it becomes central,” Kasper said on Wednesday.

Kasper also defended the vote of the Irish in favor of homosexual “marriages,” 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.” He also said that the Irish referendum is “emblematic for the situation in which we find ourselves, not only in Europe, but in the whole West.” Kasper also said: “The postmodern concept – following which everything is equal – stands in contrast to the doctrine of the Church.”

Cardinal Kasper made a link between the events in Ireland and the doctrine of the Catholic Church, when he said it now becomes harder for the Church to explain its own moral position to others in the question of homosexuality. “We have to find a new language,” he said. “We have to overcome [unjust] discrimination, which has a long tradition in our culture.” It is important in his view to honor those long-lasting same-sex relationships, which contain “elements of the good,” even though the Church cannot change its fundamental attitude toward them since they are themselves against the teaching of the Gospels.

Many observers have long expected Cardinal Kasper's more explicit public support for the homosexual agenda, saying that the “opening” toward “remarried” couples was only the first step toward the widening of the revolutionary agenda, to include approval of same-sex relationships.

The other reason for this expectation is that Cardinal Walter Kasper had recently published his own book about Pope Francis, entitled “Pope Francis' Revolution of Tenderness and Love”, and it was produced by Paulist Press. Father Mark-David Janus, president and publisher of Paulist Press, was present when Cardinal Kasper gave Pope Francis himself a copy of this new book on March 17. At a private audience later on the same day, Father Janus presented the pope with a promotional film on “LGBT Catholics,” called “Owning Our Faith,” which he himself had helped to bring about. These facts – which may be seen on the website of the St. Philip Neri Catholic Church – administered by the same Paulist Fathers – speak for themselves.

This current initiative of Cardinal Kasper comes, however, also right after a somewhat concealed May 25 “Day of Study” at the Gregorian University in Rome, which was organized by the three presidents of the Swiss, French, and German Bishops' Conferences – Bishop Markus Büchel, Archbishop Georges Pontier, and Cardinal Reinhard Marx – who met with 50 participants: “partakers of the Synod, professors of theology, members of the Roman Curia, as well as journalists,” according to the press release of the German Bishops' Conference of May 26. The general theme of this confidential gathering was the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the family, and the substance of the presentations was also to be kept confidential. The participants were even asked to preserve a silence after the Day of Study was over. As Catholic News Agency reports:

One of the speakers, who asked to be kept anonymous, refused to comment on the purpose of the conference and the tone of the discussion, as “it is unfortunately forbidden to us by the organizers to give any interview or explanation about yesterday's conference.”

The well-respected Vatican reporter Edward Pentin spoke with Cardinal Marx after he exited the confidential meeting. Pentin reports:

Speaking to the Register as he left the meeting, Cardinal Marx insisted the study day wasn’t secret. But he became irritated when pressed about why it wasn’t advertised, saying he had simply come to Rome in a “private capacity” and that he had every right to do so. Close to Pope Francis and part of his nine-member council of cardinals, the cardinal is known to be especially eager to reform the Church’s approach to homosexuals. During his Pentecost homily last Sunday, Cardinal Marx called for a “welcoming culture” in the Church for homosexuals, saying it’s “not the differences that count, but what unites us.”

As different media outlets have subsequently been able to report, the following themes were discussed favorably at this Rome meeting, all of which items indicate a liberalizing tendency:

  • a new “theology of love”: sexuality as a precious gift of God, as itself an expression of love
  • the Church's acceptance of homosexual unions
  • the Church's listening to the voice of the Baptized in moral questions
  • a Catholic Hermeneutic of the Bible on the basis of the words of Jesus about divorce
  • the change of moral patterns in a pluralistic society
  • admittance of “remarried” couples to the sacraments
  • a second marriage as an “authentic union”
  • the indissolubility of marriage as “an ideal or 'utopia'”
  • the importance of the human sex drive
  • sexuality as basis for a long-lasting relationship
  • with the lengthening of lifespans, the borders of fidelity are also changed
  • the development of Church doctrine and discipline over time

The spokesman for this one-day meeting, Matthias Kopp, told Catholic News Service on May 27, after some criticisms had arisen: “I reject the thesis that the bishops have an agenda to change church teaching.” In spite of this denial, many Catholics are indignant and suspicious about the procedure and tendency of this meeting, since many of the bishops, who are meant to be represented by the presidents of their own national bishops’ conferences, were not even informed about the confidential meeting, let alone invited.

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Manfred Spieker, a German layman and professor emeritus of Christian social studies of the University of Osnabrück, wrote on May 28 on the German-speaking website about the fact that the other bishops were not even informed about the meeting, as organized by the three presidents of their bishops' conferences: “This is close to an abuse of their office as moderators of the Bishops' Conference, because their proper role as a president of a bishops' conference is not much more than being a moderator.” He insists that their methods are undermining the explicit intent of the Synod of Bishops, which calls for and promises openness and fairness:

A conference that resembles more a secretive gathering than an academic, and therewith open event stands in opposition to the proclaimed openness and fairness. It is divisive. The three bishops [Presidents of the Bishops' Conferences] also did not invite those journalists who are known experts on the subject, but only those who share their views and are able to intensify the public pressure which this whole meeting is supposed to place upon the Synod in October.

Professor Spieker compares this conduct with some of the methods that were used during the last Synod of Bishops, saying: “The attempts at manipulation which had reached – already during the extraordinary Synod of Bishops of 2014 – an until-now-unknown level in the Church, have now reached a new stage with this conference at the Gregoriana.” The German professor also comments, as follows, on the above-mentioned themes and on the statements made at the meeting which have now been leaked: “It will certainly not escape the notice of the Presidents of the three Bishops' Conferences, what schismatic potential is to be found in such expressed views.”