A leading cardinal has said he hopes bishops at next month’s synod will listen to lay people and bring forward proposals to allow communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.
In an interview published in the forthcoming issue of The Tablet Cardinal Walter Kasper adds that his “impression” is that the Pope would also like to see an “opening” in this area.
“I hope the bishops will listen to the voice of people who live as divorced and remarried – the sensus fidei. They should listen and then next year they should decide what is possible and what is not possible,” he said.
Next month bishops from around the world will gather in Rome for the synod on the family that takes place from 5-19 October. A year later another synod will take place when concrete proposals will be put forward.
In February this year Cardinal Kasper was asked by the Pope to address a consistory of cardinals on the subject of the family, ahead of the synod. His address suggested ways that the Church could allow divorced and remarried couples to receive communion while maintaining the indissolubility of marriage.
Since then a number of cardinals have expressed fierce opposition to such a move. Five of them - including Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith – have jointly authored a book where they express their disapproval. But according to a report in the French Catholic newspaper La Croix the Pope is said to be “irritated” by their decision to publish so close to the synod.
In his Tablet interview, Cardinal Kasper says he has been “a little surprised” by the opposition but stressed he is not undermining the Church’s teaching on marriage.
Early on his pontificate, Pope Francis praised the cardinal’s book on mercy (Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life, Paulist Press).
Cardinal Kasper said the Pope told him he was “a man who discerns the Spirit.”
Above: Cardinal Kasper. Photo: CNS