Well, Cardinal Kasper certainly seems pleased with the exhortation. It’s almost as though Christmas came early for him:
Cardinal Walter Kasper explained that the Pope’s apostolic exhortation “doesn’t change anything of church doctrine or of canon law – but it changes everything”.
The retired cardinal has been influential on Francis’ thinking on marriage and those living in “irregular situations” and it was he who the Pope asked to address a consistory of cardinals in February 2014 on how communion might be given to divorced and remarried couples.
That address kicked off the Synod of Bishops discussions on the family, a process which lasted over two years and culminated in the publication last Friday of the Pope’s exhortation, titled “Amoris Laetitia” (“The Joy of Love”).
Speaking to The Tablet , the German cardinal said that by putting doctrine in a new prospective the document “overcomes a rigid casuistic approach and gives room for Christian freedom of conscience.”
He explained that by applying the “general vision” of the document there is a possibility of giving remarried divorcees access to the sacraments.
“It seems clear to me as to many other observers, that there can be situations of divorced and remarried where on the way of inclusion, absolution and communion become possible,” he said.
This could happen, he added, “not as a general law or as a general permission but according a spiritual and pastoral discernment judging case by case.”
Speaking more generally about the document, the President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity said: “I don’t like to say, ‘this is revolutionary’, because revolutionary sounds like giving up or destroying something by violence, whereas the document is a renewal and an updating of the original holistic Catholic vision.”
Add this to the list of statements from Archbishop Cupich, Cardinal Lehmann, the Phillipines Bishops Conference, and this group of Italian Priests, and we’re well on our way to seeing just how “The Joy of Love” is going to be used to abuse the Church’s sacraments.