08 February 2023, The Tablet

Kasper warns of 'schism' over synodal path opposition

Defying Vatican restrictions “would throw the People of God in Germany into an even deeper crisis,” Kasper warned.

Kasper warns of 'schism' over synodal path opposition

Cardinal Walter Kasper has made a number of criticisms of the German Synodal Path in recent months.
Bohumil Petrik/CNA

Cardinal Walter Kasper, the former president of the Pontifical Council for the Promotion of Christian Unity, has warned that the German Synodal Path could lead to schism.

Opposition to the Vatican's decisive “No” on 16 January to a nationwide permanent “synodal council” which the German Synodal Path is planning would lead the Church to the brink of a schism, Cardinal Kasper told the German lay initiative Neuer Anfang on 27 January.

“The [Vatican] letter which is authorised by the Pope and ultimately by the Second Vatican Council is absolutely clear”, Kasper said.

Bishops could not renounce or share any of the powers they had received in the Sacrament of Episcopal Ordination, he explained, but they would have to relinquish some authority if they became members of a “synodal council” such as that planned by the German Synodal Path initiative.

“Opposition to the Roman letter or trying to reinterpret or circumvent it by some sort of trick would – against all well-meant assurances – inevitably lead to the brink of a schism and would throw the People of God in Germany into an even deeper crisis,” Kasper warned.

The cardinal quoted from St Paul’s Letters to Timothy and Titus.

“For the time is coming when people will not endure sound teaching…but will accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own likings and will turn away from listening to the truth and wander into myths.”

Especially at such a time it was imperative to “proclaim the message and, welcome or unwelcome, insist on it” (2 Timothy 4:2), Kasper said.

Cardinal Kasper has criticised the German Church as it has clashed with the Vatican in recent months, writing last October in the journal Communio that it had “failed”.

Pope Francis has raised the ire of German bishops by criticising its initiative as “not genuinely synodal”.

  Loading ...
Get Instant Access
Subscribe to The Tablet for just £7.99

Subscribe today to take advantage of our introductory offers and enjoy 30 days' access for just £7.99