The Spanish language online portal Religión Digital has a new interview this week with Cardinal Walter Kasper, who always seems to show up in the media right before Pope Francis makes another major move in the advancement of his “reform” agenda.
This time, he’s talking about the possibility of schism, the German church’s synchronicity with Rome, and expectations not just for the Amazon Synod, but the next conclave. Kasper believes, based on the pope’s stacking of the college of cardinals, that a pope in the same vein will be elected. “I don’t believe a ‘contrary’ Pope could be elected at the next conclave,” the German cardinal says. “People would not accept that.”
The interview is short, so I won’t excerpt it, but instead provide a full transcript. Our thanks to Jesús Flórez for translating it into English for the 1P5 audience.
Cardinal Kasper: “I don’t believe people would be pleased if the next conclave elected a Pope of an opposite mind”
By José Manuel Vidal
You just spent some time with Pope Francis. Is he still as energetic as usual?
Yes, the Pope still has lots of energy. He has this inner drive that keeps him marching forward and he’s not afraid of the criticisms going on around him, even from inside the Catholic world. He keeps going his way and seems to be in good health for a man of 82 years of age. Proof of this is that he keeps working tirelessly.
He’s not even afraid of schism, as he just indicated.
The Pope is not afraid of schism in the slightest.
How about you?
I don’t believe a schism will occur either. The ones trying to scare us with that bogeyman are small groups that are openly opposed to the Pope, but we must keep in mind that they are few, very few, but they make a lot of noise in the mass media. We shouldn’t give them any importance.
What are your expectations for the Amazon Synod?
This Amazon Synod will be very important and significant for those churches incarnated in the cultures of that corner of the world.
Will the Synod approve the ordination of married men to the priesthood?
The issue of the lack of vocations in the Amazon is very serious and the topic of the ordination of married men, the same as other issues, will depend on the decision and unanimity of the bishops of the area in question. The Pope, in a synodal spirit, will execute their decisions if there is a sufficient consensus among the bishops.
The German Church will also have a Synod and it seems to be running into problems with the Vatican.
Yes, some have problems with the Vatican. There has always been tension between Germany and Rome. It’s a historical fact, but at the present time I can say that the vast majority of the German bishops are on the same wavelength as Rome. There is some apprehension in the air but I believe it will be overcome.
You are regarded as one of the pillars upon which Francis rests.
Yes, I’m delighted with this Pope. I believe this Pope is exactly the right kind for this moment in the history of the world.
At the next consistory, the cardinals appointed by Francis will be in the majority. Is the Pope ensuring his successor in this way?
Yes. One gets the impression that with the new appointments the Pope wishes to ensure his succession.
In what way?
I don’t believe a “contrary” Pope could be elected at the next conclave. People would not accept that.
Who do you think might succeed Pope Francis?
This is an open question and not much more can be said.
Are you then convinced that, after Francis, there is no going back?
No, it is not possible. People would not accept that because they want a Pope that’s normal, that’s human. They don’t want an imperial Pope, like the ones in the past.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.