Cardinal Kasper: The controversy surrounding Amoris Laetitia has come to an end

Munich, Germany, Dec 11, 2017 / 10:00 pm (CNA).- The controversy regarding Amoris laetitia has come to an end, according to German cardinal Walter Kasper. What is more, he has affirmed that the admission of remarried divorced persons to the sacraments in individual cases is, in his view, the only correct interpretation of the post-synodal apostolic exhortation.

Writing in an op-ed for the German language section of Radio Vatican, the prominent prelate asserted that “with the official publication of the letter from Pope Francis to the bishops of the Buenos Aires region, the painful dispute over the apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia is hopefully over.”

The "great majority of God's people have already received this letter with gratitude and may now feel confirmed [in this stance]," Kasper wrote in the article published Dec 7. He accused critics of making the mistake of committing “one-sided moral objectivism” that does not do justice to the role that personal conscience plays in moral acts.

The admission of remarried divorced persons to the sacraments in individual cases, as the papal letter dated September 5, 2016 to the bishops of the Buenos Aires region of Argentina agrees with, according to Kasper, has its basis in traditional doctrine, “especially that of Thomas Aquinas and the Council of Trent.”

Therefore, the German cardinal continued, this interpretation “it is not a novelty, but a renewal of an old tradition against neo-scholastic constrictions. As proven experts of the doctrine of Pope John Paul II have shown, there is no contradiction with the two predecessors of Pope Francis.”

Cardinal Kasper accused the "critics of Amoris laetitia" of falling prey to "one-sided moral objectivism" that underestimates "the importance of the personal conscience in the moral act".

To be sure, conscience must pay attention to the objective commandments of God, Kasper continued. "But universally valid objective commandments (…) cannot be applied mechanically or by purely logical deduction to concrete, often complex and perplexing, situations."

Whilst not specifically answering the questions of the dubia, Cardinal Kasper emphasized that on his view, it was necessary to ask "which application of the commandment is the right one, given a specific situation."

Cardinal Kasper further argued that this “has nothing to do with situational ethics that knows no universal commandments, it is not about exceptions to the commandment, but about the question of understood as situational conscience cardinal virtue of prudence."

The prelate compared the question to the distinction, in secular law, between murder and manslaughter in cases of homicide.

Finally, Kasper wrote that Pope Francis stood "firmly on the ground of the Second Vatican Council, which has taught that conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths. (Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 16)."

This article was originally published in German by our sister agency, CNA Deutsch. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.

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  1. The great majority of God’s people have received AL with gratitude says Kasper….ROFLOL. The great majority of God’s people don’t attend Mass…don’t know of AL….
    and according to Francis, most of them aren’t really married….a sizable percent of them live in Northern Latin America and Africa and are just hoping to not get shot each day. Kasper could be a salesman of snow boots in Grand Cayman if all else fails.

  2. Exactly. I am in that category. I went through the process known as Resolution on the Internal Forum and was cleared by my pastor/priest to receive the sacraments. I tried to obtain an annulment but my first wife refused to cooperate and the process stopped. So I did the next best thing.

    • Your wife’s refusal to cooperate should not have made any difference in the annulment process moving forward, as long as you had sworn testimony by witnesses. This actually happens with some frequency. Respectfully, it might be worth another try.

  3. If the opening for objective adulterers to receive Communion is in agreement with the teaching of JPII, then why the obstinate refusal to answer the dubia? And does anyone else find it interesting that it wasn’t Francis but JPII who elevated Kasper through the ranks to become a highly influential prince of the Church?

    The sad truth is that ever since Pope John XXIII’s opening address to the Second Vatican Council, which called for the “medicine of mercy” to replace a pastoral approach characterised by harsh condemnations, we’ve been simply unable express the hard teachings of Christ. The categorical error lies at the heart of the post-conciliar crisis: mercy and condemnation have never in the Church’s history had the same object and therefore aren’t interchangeable–people are shown mercy, but sin is condemned. To suggest that we should now show mercy rather than issue condemnations has resulted in a refusal to condemn sin and therefore people today don’t even know they desperately need God’s mercy. Ask Kasper how long the confessional lines are in Germany.

    • Indeed. The decision to withdraw condemnations or confutations in favor of a pure didascalia in the hopes of appealing to the better nature of the inner man, has been an abject failure. Instead, people have become even more obstinate and Cardinal Kasper is the poster child. Mercy that does not refute error is no mercy at all. St. Pope John XXIII, for all his good nature and intentions, missed the boat here and Paul VI was hardly the personality to reverse it. By now the horse has left the barn, and the likes of St. Pius X, Pius XI, and Pius XII seem a very distant past.

  4. Cardinal Kasper is likely more intelligent that the Pope and Cardinal Coccopalmiero because his agreement with the letters inserted in the Acta Apostolica is stated as “my view”, rather than this is definitive Magisterial doctrine as claimed by Cardinal Coccopalmiero. If there are exceptions that possibility is impossible to prove sans evidence. Conscience is not evidence. And is certainly not a secret conclave between God and Man where morality is decided extra Catholic doctrine on faith and morals especially when it counters Christ’s words, the Deposit of Faith. That “view” removes any viable standard for moral judgment and effectively disassembles Indissolubility. What Kasper may perceive is that the two letters do not comprise Authentic Magisterial doctrine because what is presumed as definitive is not sententia definitive intenda, an intent definitively stated, which is required as delineated in Proposition Two of the Doctrinal Commentary to Ad Tuendam Fidem. The reason is communion for D&R directly references The Deposit of Faith on the indissolubility of marriage. Any such reference must be either solemnly pronounced or sententia definitive intenda. That makes Coccopalmiero’s claim invalid. It is not “grounded” in Vat II but rather is consistent with errors of the “Spirit of Vat II” and must be rejected.

  5. I think I mentioned this before, but in case not: I find myself wondering why Cardinal Kasper has so much hatred for people who are living in irregular unions. He’s like a doctor who looks at someone who is suffering from a horrible cancer and smiles and says, “Oh, no, nothing’s wrong, no need for any treatments.”

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