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June 26, 2015 (LifeSiteNews) — Cardinal Walter Kasper has just published an article in the July issue of the German journal Stimmen der Zeit (Voices of the Time) concerning the question of the “remarried” divorcees and their possible admission to the Sacraments. With it, he redoubles his effort to promote his manifold “Kasper Proposal,” which has been rejected and refuted by now by unequivocal experts and some high-ranking prelates in the Catholic Church.

Cardinal Kasper’s article is entitled “Once More: Admission of Remarried Divorcees to the Sacraments?” In it, he says that a “realistic theology of marriage has to consider failure and the possibility of forgiveness.” He proposes to admit those “remarried” divorcees to the Sacraments, after they have undergone a period of penance and after “an honest judgment of the person concerned about his own personal situation” and support from the sacramental confessor. The local bishop, moreover, has to have the authoritative supervision over the whole process.

Cardinal Kasper claims that this “question of the admission of remarried divorcees to the Sacraments is not a new, nor a merely German problem,” but that, rather, many confessors worldwide are looking for a solution.

Kasper claims in his article that the Word of Christ “is not a 'legal sentence,' but rather a principle which the Church – with the help of the authority, as given by Christ, to bind and to loosen (Mt. 16:19, 18:18; John 20:23) – has to apply in the context of the changing cultural situations.” Kasper also claims: “The Word of Jesus may not be interpreted in a fundamentalist way.” When speaking of the concept of the indissolubility of marriage, Kasper says: “This [the indissolubility of marriage] is a great and convincing conception. However, it should not lead to an idealization which is remote from everyday life.” Talking about Christian marriage, he says: “But it [Christian marriage] cannot fully realize this mystery [with respect to Christ's bond with the Church], but only in a broken form. […] Spouses remain on the path and stand under the sign of graduality (see FC 9, 34).”

In slyly turning the concept of God's loyalty to mankind around, Cardinal Kasper claims now that God will stay loyal to us men even if we are not loyal to Him: “God's 'Yes' will remain, even if the human 'Yes' is weak or even broken.” Even though the Cardinal still repeats the moral principle that one cannot receive the Sacraments when in the state of mortal sin, he now proposes simply to look at each case individually: “One cannot speak of the objective state of sin without considering the situation of the sinner in his unique personal dignity.” Therefore, Kasper proposes to solve each case individually. Kasper also makes it clear that he does not mean, when speaking of a penitential path, that the sinners truly have to make concrete acts of penance, but he, rather, proposes to undertake a “process of clarification and of re-orientation after the catastrophe of divorce.” This process should lead to an honest judgment about oneself.

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However, when speaking about the grounds for the admission to the Sacraments – which are contrition and repentance and fundamental (and unequivocal) change of one's conduct – Cardinal Kasper states that “forgiveness without conversion” would be “theological nonsense.” He simply states that the “remarried” divorcees may be admitted to the Sacraments when they show “repentance and the will to live in the new situation according to the Gospels.” In the subtle footnote (and only there), Cardinal Kasper questions whether those couples may not, after all, be allowed to make use of the marital act. He thereby opens up the possible idea that such couples may receive the Sacraments, even though they do live in an adulterous situation. In the main text, Kasper states: “In absolution, no sin is thereby justified, but the sinner who is willing to change [sic].” His own footnote is undermining this change of behavior, as mentioned above. Sacramental Communion, in Kasper's eyes, is, then, the necessary help for the sinner to remain on his “new path.” Here again is the question as to what this new path is, when Kasper himself opens up the idea that these “remarried” couples may still have sexual relations, which is exclusively licit within a Sacramental marriage.

Finally, the German prelate proposes to consider this question in the context of the concept of the “hermeneutic of continuity” which includes “practical reforms and, with it, a moment of discontinuity.” In his last sentence, Kasper refutes the “Five Cardinals Book” in saying: “The admonition 'to remain in the truth of Christ' includes the other one, namely 'to remain in the love of Christ.'”

As one Catholic observer comments: “We are dealing here with a dangerous new move of Cardinal Kasper, which shows that the 'Kasperites' are preparing with new strength the liberalizing and ‘gradualizing’ agenda for the upcoming Synod of Bishops on the Family in October 2015, which might well undermine the Catholic moral teaching on marriage and its indissolubility. For, even the putative 'Hermeneutic of Continuity' must now apparently be seen in Kasper's phrase under the 'sign of graduality' – hence subordinated to a new Hermeneutic of Graduality!”


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