Card. Kasper accused other Cardinals of attacking the Pope

Card. Kasper, the proponent of the “tolerated by not accepted” solution, has been reacting all over the Italian secular press today.  He is “surprised” at the appearance of the “Five Cardinals” Book™.

His Eminence is flummoxed that he should be taken to task for what he has publicly proposed.

In English you can read at CNS:

“None of my brother cardinals has ever spoken with me,” the cardinal (Kasper) said. “I, on the other hand, have spoken twice with the Holy Father. I arranged everything with him. He was in agreement. What can a cardinal do but stand with the pope? I am not the target, the target is another.”
Asked if the target was Pope Francis, the cardinal replied: “Probably yes.”

This is untrue.

I have seen the book. It was sent to me by the publisher. What Kasper said is untrue. The only way in which His Holiness is mentioned in the book is favorably. The Pope is praised.

Noooo…. the target is Card. Kasper. And he knows it. That’s why he is hiding behind the Holy Father’s skirts.

Specifically, the Pope is praised for his talk to the International Theological Commission when he reminded them that sensus fidelium had nothing to do with opinion polls. Francis is cited in the book, when he reiterated in April 2014 to the bishops from South Africa, Botswana and Swaziland that marriage is between one man and one woman and it is indissoluble. Francis in that same address praised St. John Paul’s Familiaris consortio as the basis for marriage instruction in these African countries.

The “Five Cardinals” Book™, if it is anti-Kasper at all, can only be described as anti-Kasper Lite.

If you want something weighs in more heavily, in a way directed far more pointedly at Card. Kasper by name, try the other new book coming out from Ignatius on marriage, divorce and Communion called The Gospel of the Family: Going Beyond Cardinal Kasper’s Proposal in the Debate on Marriage, Civil Re-Marriage and Communion in the Church by J. J. Pérez-Soba and S. Kampowski with a foreward by Card. Pell.

Click to PRE-ORDER

I am reading this book now.

Here, for your edification, is a quote from Pell’s foreward:

This book is important for many reasons. A courteous, informed, and rigorous discussion, indeed debate, is needed especially for the coming months to defend the Christian and Catholic tradition of monogamous, indissoluble marriage — focusing on the central elements of the challenges facing marriage and the family, rather than being distracted into a counterproductive and futile search for short-term consolations.

The health of an organization can be gauged by observing the amount of time and energy devoted to the discussion of various topics. Healthy communities do not spend most of their energies on peripheral issues, and unfortunately the number of divorced and remarried Catholics who feel they should be allowed to receive Holy Communion is very small indeed.

The pressures for this change are centered mainly in some European churches, where churchgoing is low and an increasing number of divorcees are choosing not to remarry. The issue is seen by both friends and foes of the Catholic tradition as a symbol — a prize in the clash between what remains of Christendom in Europe and an aggressive neo-paganism. Every opponent of Christianity wants the Church to capitulate on this issue.

Both sides in this discussion appeal to Christian criteria, and everyone is dismayed by the amount of suffering caused to spouses and children by marriage breakups. What help can and should the Catholic Church offer?

Some see the primary task of the Church as providing lifeboats for those who have been shipwrecked by divorce. [Kasper uses this image… “naufragio… zattera”]

And lifeboats should be available for all, especially for those tragic innocent parties. But which way should the lifeboats be headed? Toward the rocks or the marshes, or to a safe port, which can only be reached with difficulty? Others see an even more important task for the Church in providing leadership and good maps to diminish the number of shipwrecks. Both tasks are necessary, but how are they best achieved?

The Christian understanding of mercy is central when we are talking about marriage and sexuality, forgiveness and Holy Communion, so not surprisingly, in this excellent volume the essential links between mercy and fidelity, between truth and grace in our Gospel teaching, are spelled out clearly and convincingly.

Mercy is different from most forms of tolerance, which is one of the more praiseworthy aspects of our pluralist societies. Some forms of tolerance define sin out of existence, but adult freedoms and inevitable differences need not be founded on a thoroughgoing relativism.

The indissolubility of marriage is one of the rich truths of divine revelation.


Order the book and the read the rest!  Right now its 24% off.

If Card. Kasper needs a copy, I hope he’ll use my link!


About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

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  1. SimonDodd says:

    Kasper is irked that none of his brother cardinals consulted with him before publishing this book; with how many of those brother cardinals did Kasper consult before giving his speech?

    [Exactly the question I asked myself.]

    Fr. Z's Gold Star Award

  2. CradleRevert says:

    Wow. Just wow.

    The image that immediately pops into my head, for better or worse, is that of Theoden and Wormtongue from Lord of the Rings. I fear that the Holy Father has all the wrong people whispering in his ear.

  3. excalibur says:

    Sad, but there is much too much of this under Francis. And gossip? What a gossipy Papacy this is.

  4. YoungLatinMassGuy says:

    “tolerated by not accepted”

    That’s a very insulting thing to say to someone, especially when it comes to something as serious as someone’s eternal salvation. You tolerate a screaming baby on an airplane, you even accept that sort of discomfort for a short time (and say a little prayer for the suffering parents).

    This matter, divorce/remarriage/communion, on the other hand, isn’t something that should be tolerated, nor accepted. We shouldn’t tolerate anyone going to Hell, (even though some choose that route sad to say…) and we should be working against people going to Hell.

    How much do you have to hate someone to think of them in those terms if Eternal Salvation is in the balance? “We’re going to tolerate you walking into this blazing inferno, but we’re not going to accept it.” (That in and of itself doesn’t make any sense…!)

    How many souls do you think are in Hell Right Now that are waiting patiently for their pastors, who let them walk willingly into the dark fires, to die so that they can tear them to pieces for all eternity?

    I’m left wondering if people who espouse the views along the lines of “tolerated by not accepted” really do believe in Hell (Or Heaven, or Purgatory, or Mary, or even Jesus for that matter…)

  5. Clinton R. says:

    I pray otherwise, but one does feel a major schism will develop after the Synod? Or perhaps more accurately stated, a deepening of the schism that has grown over the last several decades. Doctrine may not change, but as for praxis….? Let’s face it, if the liturgy of the Holy Mass can be changed radically in such a way that it does not remotely resemble the Mass Immemorial, then can anything be considered unchangeable? May Our Blessed Virgin pray for the Pope and for the Cardinals who will participate in this Synod. St. Michael, defend us in our battle against the assaults of satan. +JMJ+

  6. LeeF says:

    The most important point that Card. Pell points out, is that there is not at all some huge number of divorced and remarried Catholics currently barred from Communion, who would suddenly be faithful weekly Mass attenders were they welcomed to Communion again. Perhaps the Rhine bishops really believe otherwise, i.e. that they could corral them back in. But they mostly stopped attending any services or went down the street to a denomination with laxer standards because they were never faithful Catholics at the time of their first marriage.

    And as he points out as well, it is outside forces who most want to see doctrine change, so that the Church will no longer be a sign and contradiction to incorrect interpretations of the Gospel and immoral behavior in general.

    God is merciful and even forgives in advance. But for us to access the fruits of that mercy, we must first repent and at least attempt to sin no more. Keep falling down and keep getting up, not stay down and wallow in sin and try to say it is not in fact sin.

    So this is a marginal issue (doctrinally) and will be given the marginal attention it deserves at the Synod most likely. As to implementation, i.e. via annulments, any changes that go too far can be undone in the next Synod or pontificate.

  7. Imrahil says:

    Dear LeeF,

    the Rhine bishops are Germans. Or, well, Swiss.

    As such they are dealing in principalities. They would change Church law for the one exceptional case, if there really was only one exceptional case and if it really was a case Church law were in their opinion worth to be changed for.

    Thus, this practical argument is rather not what they think of.

    And of course, “going down the street to a denomination with laxer standards” is very rarely practiced on this side of the Atlantic. Rather they drop attendance; and I wouldn’t wonder if there really have been some who dropped attendance on this. It must be admitted: Assuming they don’t consider the setting-the-new-partner-out-of-the-door solution (or the sibling-relationship solution, which doesn’t seem to work in many cases to me, as it takes the two of them, and people usually convert one by one) – then it is hard to always appear on the Sunday only to be shown you’re defective. Oh. I don’t mean frowning, pressure to Communicate, etc. That happens surprisingly rarely. I only mean the thoughts in one’s own head. And in addition, although each single mortal sin is a mortal sin in its own right, still if you have to think “I’m in mortal sin anyway”, the commandment does lose a large part of its incentive to go and attend.

  8. Gratias says:

    I fear this Extraordinary Synod will turn into a vehicle for a mini-Vatican III. [I don’t think so.]

    Division is what the devil does best. [Not all division is of the devil, at least when people are earnestly striving for the truth.
    I say that some non-division only appears to be the good sort of unity we desire. Some non-division is of the devil, too.]

  9. jlong says:

    In the interview, as given on Rorate Caeli, he states that Cardinals must stand close and with the Pope. I seem to recall that liberal Cardinals in times past have been undermined the Papacies of John Paul II and Benedict XVI.

  10. Papabile says:

    SimonDodd asks what Cardinals he consulted with.

    In fairness, he seems to say he consulted with Peter, and Peter approved this.

    I doubt this sincerely, though we’ll probably know 6 months after the Synod.

  11. VexillaRegis says:

    Speaking of Card. Pell, there are news from my antipods

    [Kudos to Sydney and the new Archbisop of Sydney, Anthony Fisher!]

  12. VexillaRegis says:

    I think it’s possible that Card. Kasper has misunderstood the Pope or vice versa. Something doesn’t ad up here when you consider what the Pope has said earlier. Card. Kasper is acting like a little boy in a sandbox. Sigh. I’m so tired of all this. Maybe Card. Burke could tell Card. Kasper to behave himself? Please?

  13. Amateur Scholastic says:


    “I’m left wondering if people who espouse the views along the lines of “tolerated by not accepted” really do believe in Hell…”

    I don’t wonder. They don’t.

    I used to wonder about these liberals. “How can they think that? Don’t they know the Church teaches completely the opposite?”

    Then I read St Pius X’s Pascendi Dominici. And it became clear. I can’t recommend it highly enough for understanding the liberal (or modernist) mindset. It’s not a trivial read, but repays careful study. You will understand how these guys think, and where they’re ‘coming from’, and what they’re trying to do. And although written in 1907, it describes their doctrine today to a ‘T’. And note, especially, from that document:

    “[T]he Modernists… employ a very clever artifice, namely, to present their doctrines without order and systematic arrangement into one whole, scattered and disjointed one from another, so as to appear to be in doubt and uncertainty, while they are in reality firm and steadfast…”

    Please everybody, read it. You may even find you had some modernist ideas without even knowing it. Either way, you’ll better understand the likes of Kasper.

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  15. Vecchio di Londra says:

    I read in the Italian news service ANSA that Cardinal Kasper’s surprise is not that the book has been issued, but that (as he told the journalist): “I was very surprised by its title, ‘Remaining in the Truth of Christ’, because that’s what we all want. This is a task for all theologians and not just some cardinals. It depends on what is the Catholic truth which is not a closed system but is open to possible developments, even according to the Second Vatican II.”

    Leaving aside his faux-surprise at the title (it’s been well-known for several weeks), his statement is so misleading on so many levels that it would take too long to properly deconstruct it. One notes the appropriation of the word ‘Truth’ for his own agenda, the threat of a Plague of a Flood of Theologians, the implied inverse-snobbish contempt for ‘some’ Cardinals, and the usual vague hat-tip to V2.

  16. RichR says:

    Many of the Catholic couples in my parish who are trying to faithfully live the Gospel plan for marriage and family are watching this Synod with much caution. Will our courage to live contrary to the modern culture be vindicated or shown to be an unnecessary sacrifice? Will we be shown “the easy way out” or encouraged by our leaders? I agree with Card. Pell’s words: “Some forms of tolerance define sin out of existence.” Don’t tell me to stay committed and then turn around and say there are no real consequences if I give up.

  17. Scott Woltze says:

    Another amusing element is that Cardinal Kasper has–by inference–accused Ignatius Press of disloyalty to the Pope. Didn’t they just publish “The Fioretti of Pope Francis”? The news of the last few days has gone from terrible to just farcical.

  18. Hieronymus says:

    Actually, I could very easily see the situation Cardinal Kasper (the friendly ecumenist) describes being true. Of course, the “book of the 5 cardinals” is not going to explicitly attack the pope — but that is not what Kasper is claiming. He is saying that his position is that of the pope, so the cardinals who are attacking his position are really attacking the pope’s position.
    This pope gives me every reason to believe that he and Kasper are of one mind on many issues. I think both of them are too humble to be orthodox.

  19. gracie says:

    “I, on the other hand, have spoken twice with the Holy Father.”

    Well, pin a rose on you Cardinal Kasper. From God’s lips to your mouth to the Pope’s ears.

  20. Landless Laborer says:

    The divorced have been conditioned to think in terms of what they lose, rather than what they gain. The Church should remind those who find themselves divorced or remarried, how lucky they are. I’m not kidding. Providence has provided them with a golden opportunity to open the floodgates of grace, to store up treasures, to please Our Lady and Our Lord in a BIG way. (and it’s not “easy for me to say”…i’m one of those.) This is what should be proclaimed from the synod. Not just getting to heaven, but getting there pulling a wagon full of merits. Sacrifice becomes joy. The licitly married might even get jealous? At any rate, this kind of talk will really be a sign of contradiction to the world, turn them on their heads, hehe. Divine Law is a joy, it’s for our benefit and eternal joy. Let the good Cardinals proclaim it!

  21. RJHighland says:

    I personnally think that the reason that the divorce rate found in Catholic marriage is so high is because of the lack of proper teaching of fundimentals of our faith by the very same priests and bishops that are preaching we need to re-evaluate the application of the law of the Church in these cases. I would argue that many of these marriages sanctified by Catholic priests could be declared invalid because those entering into the sacrament of marriage were not adequately prepared by their family, themselves or their priest for the commitment required by God in this union. The final responsibility of this is with the individual but that lack of catecisis is on the families and the representatives of the Church. Just another one of the many rotting fruits of the Council that saved the Church, Vatican II. I pray Pope Francis has a moment of illumination at this Synod similar to that of Paul VI when he wrote Humanae Vitae. Even if Pope Francis stands up for the eternal teaching of the Church on this subject it will be probably meet with the same type of acceptance by the bishops, priests and laity of the Church that Humanae Vitae recieved. Few will accept it, less will actually apply it to their lives and most will simply file it in their waste basket. The cafeteria is open, pick out what ever you want, just please show up once in a while and give us some money, we promise not to offend you what ever you want to believe, you get to pick what road you want to take to heaven. I think Cardinal Kasper would feel much more at home in the Universal Church rather than the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, but is not the goal of the progressives princes of the Church to make us just that. They seem to have a lot more in common with the Universalists than they do with the Church established by our Lord and His Apostles. So proud of Cardinal Dolan for standing his ground on the parade issue, another wonderful prince of the Church. Lord have mercy on us our shephards are wolves. More and more I have a better understanding of what it was like to be an early 4th century Catholic, the world is pagan and over 2/3 of the bishops are heretics. No one said it was easy to be Catholic. We have at least 5 Cardinals playing the role of St. Athenasius and St. Nicholas to Cardinal Kasper’s Arias.

  22. Elizabeth D says:

    I am a huge ecclesiastical news junkie and I feel so weary and sad lately. I feel like I just can’t watch. On the upside I am focusing more on evangelization caring for the poor, catechizing the children and caring less about news.

  23. McCall1981 says:

    According to this article, Kasper has the “impression” that the Pope agrees with him. At least thats better than saying he knows for sure.

  24. Tom Piatak says:

    God bless Cardinal Pell and all the other eminent churchmen speaking up. Cardinal Kasper’s proposal is indeed gravely flawed:

  25. Juergensen says:

    With the world devolving into a morass of sin, the Church needs to be affirming and reaffirming revealed Truth, not questioning it, and certainly not punishing those who affirm it. The gates of hell may not prevail, but hell is at the gates.

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  28. LarryW2LJ says:

    If I may be so bold to suggest that Cardinal Kasper is acting like someone who has been caught with his hand in the cookie jar. And then, when you are finally caught, excuses and diversionary tactics abound.

  29. St Donatus says:

    This is the very type of environment that lead me as a youth into sin and eventually away from the Church. This idea that one who is living in sin is not sinful. Yes, that is what this kind of thing taught me. In our FSSP parish, 90% of the young people stay in the faith and stay married (if that is their vocation). Young people respond to unambiguous truth.

    As a young person, when a couple of priests reaffirmed that one should not feel guilty for fornication, I believed that it was a green light to fornication. They told me, as a hormonal young man, what I wanted to hear. Now we are telling couples that adultery is okay, what do these bishops think will happen.

    Sometimes I think that there is a large portion of the Church that is following the same path as the Arians, Monothelites, and many other heretical movements in Church history that have even touched the papacy.

    But we look back and know that God has always put the Bark of Christ back on course despite us sinful humans. As Father Hardon once said, Jesus Christ allowed Judas as a apostle to warn us about similar minded bishops. As Judas bent to the will of the powers in his time, these bishops bend to the will of the powers in our time.

    Let us pray ever harder that we have endurance and for the repentance of these Church leaders.

  30. McCall1981 says:

    Card. Martino has joined that group against Kasper:

    Also, John Allen said that back in Feb. after Kasper’s initial speech, and unnamed Cardinal said about Kasper”: “That guy is off his rocker”.

  31. Suburbanbanshee says:

    Landless Laborer – You humble me. May the Lord send me a tenth of your hardwon wisdom.

    Re: taking sin seriously – I just read St. Venantius Fortunatus’ biography of St. Albinus, an early French bishop of Angers who was a contemporary of St. Caesarius of Arles and St. Germanus. He went to a Synod that was discussing the topic of incestuous marriages and marriages within forbidden degrees of relatedness of the type St. John the Baptist opposed, like uncles marrying nieces.

    St. Albinus was known for being a sweet guy who bailed people out of jail, opposed river pirates, healed the blind and paralyzed, and even raised the dead, but he was a hardbutt about these sorts of marriages, which were apparently big in the local Frankish and Brittany population. (Both heavily clan-based, so they were probably keeping the money in the clan.) So all the other bishops at the synod were telling him, “Look, you’ve got to take the excommunications off these people and absolve them, because that’s what we’re doing. And we don’t care if St. Caesarius of Arles told you to be hard on incestuous marriages, because he was a Father but he’s also dead. So play nice
    and obey the will of the synod.”

    So St. Albinus said, “Fine, whatever, I’ll obey the synod vote, but God will vindicate me.” And he opened his mouth to take the excommunications off the folks, and dropped dead.

    This was interpreted as God saving him from making a mistake, and the synod immediately re-voted that incestuous marriages were subject to excommunication unless you stopped being married and repented.

    So yeah, Cardinal Kasper should be careful what he says. Those early French bishops were a holy bunch, and they still messed up by trying to be “nice” while endangering souls. You don’t want to mess up so bad that God has to make a sign. No. Really you don’t.

  32. Suburbanbanshee says:

    I forgot to say that was the Third Council of Orleans, in 538. The Council did determine that people who’d married in the first or second degree of affinity (ie, a relative by marriage) as opposed to consanguinity, and who had done it as pagans or out of ignorance, didn’t have to dissolve their “marriages” to get out of mortal sin. But everybody else, yes they did.

    Also, St. Albinus (aka St. Aubin) is the patron saint against pirates, which made him popular in waterfront towns.

  33. pattif says:

    It sounds to me as if Cardinal Kasper knows he can’t win the argument on objective grounds, so he has to resort to accusing his brother cardinals of attacking the Pope.

    I also think he is on dodgy ground in claiming that the Holy Father agrees with him. Just because you have spoken to a Jesuit a couple of times, it doesn’t mean you have any idea what he really thinks about anything.

  34. kpoterack says:

    Check out the latest (Summer 2014) issue of Communio. There are many good articles on this topic, but especially the ones by Cardinals Scola and Ouellet – both to be participants at the Synod. Both reject Cardinal Kasper’s proposal, although without naming him. Card. Ouellet says, among other things, “the new openings for a pastoral approach based on mercy must take place within the continuity of the Church’s doctrinal tradition, which is itself an expression of divine mercy.”

    Also, another good website giving links to relevant articles on this matter can be found here:

  35. kpoterack says:

    According to a CNA news report just released “sources close to the Pope denied this claim [that Pope Francis was annoyed by the book], telling CNA that the Pope is not even aware of the book.”

    Oh, and read Fr. Fessio’s responses to Cardinal Kasper’s complaints. They are priceless!

  36. kpoterack says:

    According to a CNA news report “sources close to the Pope denied this claim [that Pope Francis was annoyed by the book], telling CNA that the Pope is not even aware of the book.”

    And read Fr. Fessio’s responses to Card. Kasper, they are priceless!

  37. Gerhard says:

    As a voiceless mere layman I earnestly entreat our Bishop and Cardinal defenders of truth and tradition to SPEAK UP LOUDLY AND PERSISTENTLY. Bully for you, the 5 Cardinals and the Dominicans for doing so!
    There is both bad faith and befuddled thinking amongst many Cardinals, Bishops and Priests, who ought to know better.
    Let’s be clear about two things: (1) the CCC already provides the solution – A VERY SIMPLE SOLUTION – to the “problem”. Stop committing adultery/fornication and after due confession and absolution a return to receiving holy communion is possible; (2) the purpose of the Church is to get us to Heaven, not to establish an earthly nirvana or utopia. That demands discipline and self sacrifice, of which we, as human beings with freewill and not purely instinctive animals, are all capable. It is the antithesis of good pastoral care to confirm those with no genuine desire to change in their error.

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