Two African Cardinals standing up!

In the lead up (already) to next October’s Synod, the continuation of last October’s wild ride with its bizarre rules, backroom maneuvers, and strange proposals, Africa (pace Card. Kasper) is coming into its own.

I saw this at the National Catholic Register:

Cardinal Napier: African Bishops Have Higher Priorities Than Communion for Divorced and Remarried

The South-African cardinal discounted a recent report in Crux that suggested African support for allowing such couples to receive the Eucharist.

ROME — A leading African cardinal says the continent’s bishops want the upcoming Vatican synod to zero in on strengthening the Church with good families — before getting sidetracked on other issues, such as the contentious debate over allowing Communion for divorced-and-remarried couples.
Cardinal Wilfrid Napier of Durban was in Rome last week for a meeting of African bishops — known as the Symposium of Episcopal Conferences of Africa and Madagascar, or SECAM — with Pope Francis.
In a Feb. 13 interview, he told CNA that he’d gotten together with a group of cardinals the previous evening to discuss what issues they should bring to the table come October, when the synod on the family meets in Rome.
“And the first thing we said was: We have to emphasize that we have good marriages; we have good families. Let’s be positive, first and foremost,” he said.
“Secondly, how can we ensure that the next generation is also going to have good families and good marriages? So the preparation and the accompaniment are two things that we really have concentrated on.”
Cardinal Napier’s comments emphasizing good families — and the preparation of good families in the future — were his answer to a question about a fellow African bishop’s supposed openness to admitting the divorced and remarried to Communion.
Crux’s John Allen wrote Feb. 11 that Ghanaian Archbishop Gabriel Palmer-Buckle of Accra said “he’s open to allowing divorced-and-civilly-remarried Catholics to receive Communion, [NB] belying impressions of a uniformly hostile African stance toward change on such matters.”
Allen did not quote Archbishop Palmer-Buckle, but wrote that the prelate says he is disposed to “vote Yes” on the “Kasper proposal.”
The term hearkens back to retired German Cardinal Walter Kasper, who has suggested that Communion might be given in certain cases to those who have divorced and subsequently remarried without having obtained a decree of nullity of their first marriage. [The unworkable, indefensible “tolerated but not accepted” non-solution.]
After discussing the need for strengthening families now and in the future, Cardinal Napier turned directly to the issue of the Ghanaian archbishop’s comments:
One of the cardinals had the presence of mind to call the man concerned [Archbishop Palmer-Buckle], and he said, ‘Look, I was talking in a very general way, and, yes, it did come up, and my answer was [that] in cases like this you have to look at it on a case-by-case basis; you can’t make a general statement that you can give Communion to people who are [divorced and] remarried, and so on.’


Doesn’t sound to me as if that Archbishop thinks what John Allen reported.  Perhaps the interview was … hasty.

Read the rest over there at the Register.

Meanwhile, we are also hearing from Robert Card. Sarah, whom Pope Francis appointed as the Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and Discipline of the Sacraments.

A reader alerted me to the news that His Eminence has now a book interview in French with Nicholas Diat published by Fayard. A few excerpts are HERE.

About “Gender issues” he said:

About my home continent, I want forcefully to denounce a desire to impose false values using political and financial arguments. In some African countries, ministries dedicated to gender theory have been created in exchange for economic support! These policies are all the more hideous because the greater part of African populations are defenseless, thanks to fanatical Western ideologues.

And about the upcoming Synod itself, he said (my emphases):

The idea would be to place the Magisterium in jewel box [NB] by detaching the pastoral practice, which could develop as circumstances, fashions and passions, is a form of heresy, a dangerous schizophrenic pathology. So I solemnly affirm that the Church of Africa will strongly oppose any rebellion against the teaching of Jesus and the Magisterium.

As you know, the constant mantra of those who are promoting Communion for the divorced and remarried is that “We will never change the Church’s teaching.  We can change our practice.”

No. Really, we can’t.

The Left and catholic media is going to present their agenda more and more in the coming months as if it were a done deal.  They will create a huge expectation through the media.

Just remember what Card. Kasper said HERE:

Q: But are African participants listened to in this regard?

KASPER: No, the majority of them [who hold these views won’t speak about them].

Q: They’re not listened to?

KASPER: In Africa of course [their views are listened to], where it’s a taboo.

Q: What has changed for you, regarding the methodology of this synod?

KASPER: I think in the end there must be a general line in the Church, general criteria, but then the questions of Africa we cannot solve. There must be space also for the local bishops’ conferences to solve their problems but I’d say with Africa it’s impossible [for us to solve]. But they should not tell us too much what we have to do. [?!?]

Fr. Z kudos to Card. Napier and Card. Sarah.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in CRUX WATCH, Liberals, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, Si vis pacem para bellum!, The Coming Storm, The Drill and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. I just hope we don’t see tensions between Africans and Europeans the way the Anglican church did.

  2. gramma10 says:

    Let’s move to Africa where God’s word seems to be taken as truth!
    Unfortunately the rebel forces in the Garden of Eden still continue to prevail!
    Probably as long as there is life on this planet. :’ (

  3. anna 6 says:

    John Allen is usually quite diligent and reliable when he is reporting straight news, however, I find that he can get a bit too cute when he draws his own conclusions about events in the Church. He works too hard to make the story fit into his clever scenario at the expense of accuracy. I suspect that this is what has happened with the Ghanaian Archbishop’s interview.

  4. apman says:

    Heresy? Ain’t nobody got time for that!

  5. Geoffrey says:

    Thank God for the bishops of Africa and Poland.

  6. juergensen says:

    Salvation from the Africans! May God grant them strength to fight the German heretics.

  7. Kerry says:

    Je suis African.

  8. Grumpy Beggar says:

    From the OP – Cardinal Napier:
    “And the first thing we said was: We have to emphasize that we have good marriages; we have good families. Let’s be positive, first and foremost,” he said.

    Isn’t it strange, that, when this part of it works (“good marriages”) , there can be no issue on divorced and remarried receiving Holy Communion . . . for the very plain reason that there wouldn’t be hardly as many divorced and remarried anymore ?

    Simply because in Europe and the west there is a greater number of (illicitly in the Church’s eyes) divorced and remarried people claiming to be Catholic, doesn’t mean we take a consensus then allow a few sorely misguided members of the Curia to commandeer a synod into voting on whether to deny the truth of our Blessed Lord’s words.

    “It is a mistake to apply American democratic procedures to the faith and the truth. You cannot take a vote on the truth. The value of democracy stands or falls with the values which it embodies and promotes.”
    St. John Paul II

    Anna 6 presents an interesting theory on John Allen from Crux (. . . unnhh – that word “Crux” still comes out sounding like “crooks” every time I try to pronounce it ). I might even step a little further out on a limb and wonder whether he ever enjoys reading comments about himself on Fr. Z’s blog . . . ? . . .

    Hopefully he might. Whatever motivates him to write what he does,the way he does, doesn’t have much bearing on the outcome ; which , for all intents and purposes, remains and can be reduced to: promoting a lie (inadvertently or not – one is still promoting a lie).

    Sure. . . go ahead and be kind and call it an inaccuracy if you want , but we aren’t talking about how many goals or assists a certain hockey player had this season, or a weather report, or the most recent statistics on inner-city housing – we’re talking about eternal life ; about the salvation of souls ; about why our Blessed Lord came, and what he actually said and taught . . . and Mr. Allen is (purportedly) supposed to be a Catholic reporter. Those reporting on the Catholic faith should be the most diligent of all reporters. What do we get instead ?

    Perhaps a little refresher might be in order. Here’s what happens when a lie gets repeated often enough, according to the Father of Modern (American) Psychology, Dr. William James:

    “There is nothing so absurd that if repeated often enough, people will begin to believe it.”

  9. SanSan says:

    “preparation and the accompaniment are two things that we really have concentrated on.”….Cdl Napier is on target.

    In the meantime: Please write Pope Francis and ask that both homosexual unions and divorce/remarried receiving Communion are off the table at the next Synod of the Family. Write His Holiness Pope Francis, Domus Sanctae Marthae, Vatican City State, 00120

  10. SanSan says:

    Also note: The Bishop of Nigeria has called out the U.S. claiming that unless his country change their policy and beliefs on contraception, abortion and homosexuality, the U.S. will do nothing to assist in eliminating Boko Haram. Also, Pope Francis warned while in the Phillipines that they must resist the West and it’s evil agenda against life and family.

  11. Barto of the Cross says:


    In politics, there is a strategy of a progressive faction putting forth two proposals simultaneously, one very radical and one still radical yet more moderate. The progressive faction expects to have its very radical proposal defeated, after a terrible struggle. Then, after that struggle, the conservative opposition faction will feel victorious, and will feel as though, to be fair to the vanquished faction, and to restore peace, they ought to allow the more moderate proposal to be enacted.

    Notice how in 2014, Francis simultaneously put forward two proposals regarding marriage and divorce and remarriage. One proposal, the Kasper Proposal (allowing those living in sin, due to a second “marriage,” to receive Holy Communion), has gotten a lot of attention and generated immense opposition. The other proposal, Francis’ proposal to make annulments much easier to get, has gotten very little attention, since it doesn’t seem to change or affect doctrine.

    So, perhaps the progressive faction among the Cardinals and other bishops has expected all along that the Kasper Proposal would fail to be enacted (at the present time, anyway). Perhaps the Kasper Proposal was promoted so that the proposal to liberalize the annulment standards and processes would seem acceptable by comparison.

    If the Francis’ annulment reform proposal had been put forward by itself, the fight over that might have been ferocious. But by allowing conservatives to feel, after the Kasper Proposal is shot down at the synod in October 2015, that they have saved doctrine after a difficult struggle, they will approve Francis’ annulment reforms, partly to appease the progressive faction and restore peace, and partly because the annulment reforms seem relatively harmless compared to the notorious Kasper Proposal.

    But, what will be missed, is that Francis’ proposed reforms to the annulment process really may be quite radical too.

    These annulment reforms may make an annulment practically automatic for all divorced Catholics. In practice, in the minds of Catholics, the annulment will truly become “the Catholic divorce.” And so the progressive faction will have gotten want they wanted after all!

    But could cardinals and bishops be as Machiavellian as this?

    I think yes. I think we need to distinguish between strategy and intention.

    Progressive cardinals and bishops could be, I think, Machiavellian in strategy, but not wicked in intention.

    Progressive Catholics really do think that they are extending God’s grace and mercy to souls by liberalizing the standards, disciplines, and commandments of the Church. Progressives see old traditions and theologies as out-dated and ill-suited to today’s people. They see conservatives and traditionalists as wrongly and unhealthily rigid (Francis has said this over and over again). So I think as a result progressive Catholics feel justified in using Machiavellian strategies and tactics in order to overcome conservative, rigid, wrongheaded people who are standing in the way of God’s will for the people of today.

    Progressives Catholic theologians have, since the Modernist controversy in the early 1900s, been developing a sophisticated theology that allows them to truly believe that God can change His mind over time.

    For progressive Catholics, nothing is permanent or unchangeable except for the process by which doctrine is being constantly updated. In other words, for them, there are no absolute doctrinal boundaries that can never be crossed. Rather, they believe in a process of doctrinal development, not in fixed doctrinal content.

    So, for a progressive Catholic, there is absolutely no problem if for 2000 years the Church taught and enforced doctrines and disciplines that made divorce and remarriage rare and scandalous among Catholics, and then, a new era arrives when the Church teaches and enforces different doctrines or disciplines that allows divorce and remarriage to become commonplace and accepted as normal and unremarkable as changing the parish church one goes to for Mass.

  12. Barto of the Cross says:


    I think Progressive Catholics are hard to understand because progressive Catholics hide what they really believe about doctrine. They think that, in order to carry out God’s holy progressive will for our time, in order to overcome the ungodly resistance of conservatives and traditionalists, they must pretend to respect and honor the traditional fixed doctrinal boundaries.

    But does that mean that progressive Catholics are deceivers?

    Well, I think that they think of themselves as being like Rahab, the Palestinian woman who hid the Israelite spies who were being pursued by the soldiers of the Palestinian gentile king. Rahab also directly lied to those soldiers of the king in order to save the lives of the Israelite spies. The Bible depicts Rahab as a hero. The Israelites reward Rahab by agreeing to protect her and her family when they later return to conquer Palestine. See the Holy Bible, Book of Joshua, chapter 2.

  13. bbmoe says:

    One of the reasons I left the ECUSA was that I found the attitude of “Global North” towards “Global South” to be repugnant. I had the pleasure of becoming friends with a Kenyon priest, and when I saw how he was treated by the great and the good at our local seminary, I was thoroughly disgusted. Their beef with him: he (following his bishop) didn’t agree with the sexual agenda of the ECUSA. It wasn’t a civil disagreement, either, at least not on the part of the Americans. When I thought about what he and other African Christians go through to preserve their faith amid grinding poverty, violence, and corruption, I just couldn’t stomach the attitude of the wealthy, insular first-worlders who passed judgment on him.

    Ironically, when I was well into my conversion to Catholicism, one Episcopalian friend of mine who was unaware of my journey, tried to explain just how backward African laity are: “You know they treat their bishop like Catholics do- they think they have to obey what he says!” I just smiled.

    Oh, I listen to Christian bishops who have suffered 1,000 churches burned, often with their flock inside. They have a lot more street cred with me than some cosseted Deutschlander.

  14. rodin says:

    Kasper–a case of diabolical disorientation?

  15. Allan S. says:

    I have a great option of Cardinal Sarah, even making a custom holy card with his picture and episcopal coat of arms. That he may become Pope gives me comfort. His episcopal motto is what clinched it for me – Sufficit gratia Tibi mea (Your grace is sufficient for me). Doesn’t sound like the sort to flee for fear of the wolves.

  16. Imrahil says:

    Dear Barto of the Cross,

    this may, for all I know, be true about progressives in other countries. In Germany, the problem is rather that people won’t choose annulment as long as it’s called annulment, rather than that too few annulments are possible. (Because that would feel like eradicating some part of life from the life, or so.)

    That these German bishops (being Germans) cannot allow themselves a leeway, a practical-only solution, and would rather throw all Church law topsy-turvy than accept as perpetuate a situation where some personal situations would have to be dealt with on the outside of the paragraphs – that may even be part of the problem, but it is at any rate the case. And the issue is “existing marriages where the spouse lives with another”, not “non-existing marriages”.

  17. albizzi says:

    …”they should not tell us too much what we have to do”…
    Despising arrogance bordering to racism from this german Cardinal.
    Have the african bishops and cardinals a less worthy opinion than that of the european ones?

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