Card. Napier corrects RNS’s David Gibson about “the Pope’s theologian”

There is a good piece today at CNA by the always-engaging Andrea Gagliarducci about Wilfrid Fox Card. Napier of Durban, who is rapidly climbing on my favorite list.

Kasper is not the ‘Pope’s theologian,’ says leading African cardinal

Vatican City, Apr 9, 2015 / 05:08 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A top African cardinal says that German cardinal Walter Kasper – who’s stirred controversy over his views promoting Communion for the divorced and remarried [and whose stance on African bishops is well-known HERE]does not necessarily represent Pope Francis’ theological stance.

He also rejected efforts to claim the Pope for either side of the debate ahead of the upcoming synod on the family.

South Africa’s Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier dismissed a news report’s label of Cardinal Walter Kasper as the “Pope’s theologian,” saying, “I believe Pope Francis is a theologian in his own right. So he does not need anyone to be presented as ‘his’ theologian.”

Cardinal Napier, the Archbishop of Durban, told CNA April 9 that the Pope is “the [visible] head of the Church in general and of the College of Bishops in particular.”

“It is wrong therefore for any one group or individual to try to ‘own’ him or even to claim him as the adherent to one particular school or another of theology.”

Cardinal Napier had voiced concern about efforts to claim the Pope as a partisan of Cardinal Kasper in an April 4 Religion News Service article, which discussed the German cardinal’s new book. The article was headlined: “Cardinal Walter Kasper, ‘The Pope’s Theologian,’ Reveals The Brains Behind Francis’ Heart.”  [RNS’s David Gibson wrote that because he is advocating a position, not because he was reporting news.  Be sure to read about where RNS gets its money, which could probably influence what it publishes.  Don’t miss it: HERE  The fact is that there is an officially appointed theologian in the papal household.  He would be the “Pope’s Theologian”.]

Cardinal Napier said on Twitter April 5 that “It’s a real worry to read an expression like ‘the Pope’s Theologian’ applied to Cardinal Kasper.

“Why is it a worry?” the African cardinal asked. “Unlike Pope Francis, Cardinal Kasper isn’t very respectful towards the African Church and its leaders.”  [Remember that dust up?  Card. Kasper was recorded saying disparaging things about the African Church.  HERE]

According to Cardinal Napier, Cardinal Kasper considers African bishops to be “excessively controlled by taboo” and too reluctant to address polygamy and similar marriage problems.  [Therefore, according to Card. Kasper, the African bishops shouldn’t have much say in what goes on at the Synod.  Yep.]


Read the rest of the piece over there.  There is some good background.

By the way, the Pope has an official theologian.  I am not sure if he is consulted frequently, but his name is Wojciech Giertych, O.P.

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  1. Patrick-K says:

    So according to Kasper, the Africans have too many taboos, but at the same time are not addressing polygamy. It seems like what he wants to do is have them consider polygamy taboo, but that would only add to the number of taboos, which Kasper thinks is already too big.

  2. Edelwald says:

    ““It is wrong therefore for any one group or individual to try to ‘own’ him or even to claim him as the adherent to one particular school or another of theology.”” This is one of the problems of the Orthodox Church. Sides tend to form around theological schools and then the ideas are made to seem as if that is what was always taught, when in fact, it is not. Original sin is one such topic in which there are several Orthodox schools of thought.

  3. Eugene says:

    Bravo Cardinal Napier he is one of the church’s true shepherds I pray for every day

  4. benedetta says:

    Only someone illiterate, willful low information, and/or filled with angry presumptions about the varieties of religious experience within pluralism or humanism would take Gibson’s word for it that Kasper is the “Pope’s theologian”. It’s an especially rigid take on Christianity in the modern world.

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