Active RNS subscribers and members can view this content at the RNS Archives website.

(RNS) Cardinal Walter Kasper has been enjoying the kind of influence that a short time ago would have been as unimaginable as, well, the kinds of reforms that Pope Francis has been promoting.


  1. “There are many heresies in it.” What heresies…? As Catholics this is mortal sin.. so what gives here? I’m so confused as many others. Perhaps we should have mercy to Our Lord and follow Church’s teachings. This is a little like Moses being pressured to allow his people to divorce wives due to pressure. Only, maybe, this time (it seems) the people are getting pressure from the pope. I’ll keep praying.

  2. This is very strange theology! How very sad that a Cardinal reacts to Church teaching in this way. If his teachings are accepted then the Church may have to apologize to Henry VIII !

    • May 16th…Card. Kasper says that murderers can go to confession and then receive the Eucharist…that is true but they have to agree not to sin again, not to go out and murder again. Jesus did not just forgive Mary Magdalen – He told her to go and sin no more. Yes, it is tragic that so many marriages have failed and that people have married again and cannot receive the Eucharist…Kasper declares that their first marriages are still valid if they were sacramental marriages so if they are now living with someone else, they are in fact committing adultery…if they go to confession and are told to ‘go and sin no more’ and they agree at least to try, then they will be permitted to receive the Eucharist. Kasper can’t have it both ways…the sacramental marriage is valid but it’s okay to live in a second marriage which is not valid and which is therefore sinful….why is the Pope listening to this man and agreeing with him? I do agree though that a great percentage of ‘sacramental’ marriages could be annulled because those entering into the marriage did not really understand the Church’s teaching on the eternal nature of their vows…so many had not gone to Mass or practiced their faith since their confirmation…some since their First Holy Communion so the marriage in Church was just form and tradition. Couple preparing for marriage should be thoroughly prepared to live the sacrament…or at least commit to trying…we must always have mercy but it is not mercy to tell people to continue to live in their sin because it would be too difficult to do otherwise…Cardinal Kasper seems gleeful at stirring up this controversy…I wonder what he will do with the profits from his book?

  3. Steve From Long Island

    This is not confusing. It is outright heresy. If you are in mortal sin and you receive Jesus in the Eucharist, you eat and drink judgment upon yourself. To say otherwise is heresy. To encourage others to do so makes you complicit in their mortal sin.

    The path to Hell is paved with the skulls of bishops.

    • I meant our pope is confusing (and some cardinals).. . This is a clear result of decades of poor Catholic teachings in our schools. I only learned well when I home schooled our own. I have seen too many times the books they call ‘Catholic teaching’ in Catholic Schools. Very sad, as I taught from one as a young new teacher in a first grade class that never included ‘Hail Mary’ prayers etc.. Instead, the student was to focus on how special THEY were. :( This was in 1984 and I had to supplement quite a bit. God Bless.

  4. “If what people are doing and what the church is teaching, if there is an abyss, that doesn’t help the credibility of the church,” he said. “One has to change.”

    That would be the people, Your Eminence, not the Church.

  5. Fr.DuffyFighting69th

    Unfortunately, this is an indication that Francis is planning on major changes to established Catholic Doctrine in areas related to sexuality, life, salvation and morality. The Roman Catholic faithful need to watch the Synod in October very carefully. If there is any weakening of current Church teachings, then we need to vocally, and vigorously, oppose such a development. Even in the face of open schism.

    • Esther Greene

      Father Duffy Fighting 69th — if you’re a pries,t what you’re saying about ‘open schism’ is appalling. ‘ Vocally and vigorously’, what do you mean by ‘vigorously’? God forgive you. Personally, I believe that your ‘fighting 69th’ illustrates what you’re about.

      • Fr.DuffyFighting69th

        Esther. What I am saying is that if forces in the Vatican attempt to change anything in the current Catholic doctrine relating to life, sexuality, salvation or morality then we need to resist it. Or are you comfortable with changing the rules on Communion reception and un-annulled, remarried catholics, or removing the taboo on homosexuality as stated by Bishop Nuncio Gandalino, or allowing married priests, or Francis publicly stating that unrepentant atheists are eligible for salvation. I am NOT the one advocating schism, but a schism will result if Francis and his Gang of 8 attack the foundational tenets of Roman Catholicism. Then each and everyone of us will have to discern where we stand in relation to our Faith. I am not a priest, Fr. Duffy was a Roman Catholic chaplain during WWI – and was a brave and heroic priest. We will need more like him in the coming days.

        • I’m with you. As long as they do not declare these new teachings to be infallible I am sticking with what I was taught and what has been confirmed by the last two popes.

        • Thank you, Fr. Duffy. You’re not the only priest warning the laity that some of the things our current pope is preaching threaten to put the Church in schism. And, you are so correct. The Church is in dire need of priests & bishops who will courageously stand with & lead the Church through the coming crisis. Recall Pope Benedict XVI’s statement that there’s going to be a time when only “a remnant” of the Church will remain; the majority will fall away. We are already in very troubled times. God bless you, Father!

          • Fr.DuffyFighting69th

            Sue darling, I am not a priest. That is my avatar, Fr. Duffy was a real priest. He was an incredible brave Catholic chaplain who served with the Fighting 69th in the trenches during WWI. He was known to continually put himself in harms way to administer the Last Rites to wounded and dying soldiers. He is a personal hero if mine. We will need priests like him in the very near future to administer the Sacraments and Celebrate Mass in the underground Church. And these priests of the remnant flock will need us to help them with shelter, sustenance and prayer. God bless.

    • Not “if”, but “when.” It’s pretty much guaranteed, with Kasper calling the shots.

      American Catholicism, like the other church denominations, is in really serious trouble. The crash will take place soon.

  6. I believe in Mercy but according to Jesus teachings in the gospel you have to repent. Jesus had some very strong things to say about remarriage and compared it to adultery except in certains cases of sin. He said Moses gave you this teaching (divorce) because of hardness of heart. Not commiting adultery is one of the ten commandments. So are they saying the ten commandments are no longer valid? Did not Jesus look with love on the man who said he kept them from his youth. Sin should not be taken lightly because Jesus suffered a very painful death for the price of sin.

  7. We need to keep up our prayers for Holy Mother Church and for our Holy Father. Many Rosaries. All of this is very confusing and confusion does not come from God. Our God is a God of order. Our Lady, Mother of the Church, pray for us.

    • Fr.DuffyFighting69th

      Kathleen. With all due respect, the confusion originated with a series of comments by Francis. And now we have members of his inner Council of Eight making heretical and unsettling statements about settled Roman Catholic doctrine. If what you say is true, “confusion does not come from God”, then what does that indicate about Francis and his Council of Eight? I wholeheartedly agree with your call to prayer, and the need for Intercession from the Blessed Mother. Many Rosaries need to be prayed in the coming days..

    • Do you mean a pope will be the false prophet? I don’t doubt you but what is the source for the false prophet being a pope?

  8. Kasper is a Modernist Revolutionary in the Church.

    He doesn’t care if he destroys Her stability, overturns Her Teaching, or even dismisses the 6th Commandment as of no account any longer. He’s his own god and his own reference. Whatever his extravagant thinking wants to impose on God’s Church, whose mission it to call all to conversion, not subversion.

    And he is grinning the whole time. His approach is decidedly like that of the devil who is gleeful when he can cause destruction, anarchy and confusion, especially concerning the laws of God.

  9. Cardinal Kasper and apparently according to him, Pope Francis want to shake up the church in regard to marriage and sexuality. The last time the church was shaken up was vatican 2 and we are still living with the results of that. If the pope cannot preach and practice the teachings of the church, what in the world do we need him for? Kasper is giddy about Francis’s aggrement wth him. Like these ideas are new? Most movies, television programs, colleges, high schools and lower schools trash morality and self control. Francis talks alot about the poor and seems to detest the whealthy. Im sick of the poor being used as human sheilds, who are focused on so that every moral transgression can be ignored. That includes abortion which hurts women. If the Catholic church is discouraged from teaching the truth by its own pope and his cronies why would anyone go to it? You can hear the same lies all over the place.

  10. Betty Lou Kishler

    The teachings those of you are referring to are not real laws. The Church has no right to tell God what kind of punishment he\she should give for supposed offenses. Cool it people and you’ll live longer.

  11. Sr. Sweet Potato

    Conservatives are ruled by (unconscious) fear of change. Hence, all the hand-wringing here. Kasper’s out there with a medicine dropper, trying to slowly help the fearful gradually adjust to the inevitable. The young aren’t attracted to the church, so all avenues of revenue have to be considered. Even if “heretical”.

    • ..the young are attracted to Christianity in vast numbers in Africa,China and elsewhere…. it is the West which is losing young souls because of the lack of
      confidence conviction of clerics in Bible teachings…which cannot be ‘reinterpreted’ to suit ….

    • Sorry, Sister, but I don’t see any “hand wringing” here at all. Just many realistic assessments of our current situation.

  12. Philip Dunton

    Kasper needs to be silenced; he borders on being a heretic. The sooner Pope Francis silences him, the better, and if he doesn’t I can only conclude it’s a case of “birds of a feather flock together”.

  13. I can’t believe the blindness of all the Pharisees who attack the “divorced and remarried adulterers” but forget to mention Jesus” words: “Whoever looks at a woman with lust has already committed adultery”
    The church is full of adulterers!!!!!!
    Is their solution … just confess and do it again ??

    Remove the log in your own eye before you blame others for your own sins!
    Thank God for a Pope that knows that we are all sinners, including …..and all the self-righteous

  14. “If what people are doing and what the church is teaching, if there is an abyss, that doesn’t help the credibility of the church,” he said. “One has to change.”

    What? Is this really a cardinal saying that the church must change because people won’t follow the rules? What happened to preaching the Truth “in season and out of season?” Christ himself was very clear on the issue of divorce, and the church’s treatment of the issue has been very consistent throughout its history.

  15. I am a victim of divorce.My ex-husband’s divorce was not my idea and I opposed it. I do not believe my ex-husband’s second marriage is valid, and I think he probably should not be able to have a sacramental second marriage. I do not believe in annulment. However, if my ex-husband wanted to receive communion, I would not oppose that. Jesus said, “what God has joined together, let no man put asunder”, but he did not say and don’t let him receive communion. I believe the Church is putting marriages asunder when it pretends to annul them. Annulments are blasphemous. They say that God was not present at the original marriage. What kind of God would do that to people – let them go through a pretend sacrament? No God is present at all first marriages, but either one or both members of the couple did not cooperate with God’s grace if there is divorce. Don’t add salt to the wound by blaming the divorce on God’s absence. But the Church hierarchy should not think it has to remove God’s presence from the first marriage in order to let people in a second marriage receive communion.

    • That is a very sincere and heartfelt comment. Thank you. I agree with what you say. If I have to burn in hell, I would rather doing it for being more generous with God’s grace than for withholding communion and having to answer to God for being stingy and stringent with His grace of the sacrament.

  16. Interesting that Kaspar sat in the office at St. Paul the Apostle Church, a heretical church if there ever was one. Homosexuality is openly promoted there by the Pastor Fr. Martinez, I myself am witness to this. He also promotes the occultist practices such as yoga. The name of their newsletter is the “busted halo”.

    • This is beyond sad… why is not ‘management’ clearing this out.. where are our ‘generals’ for the Church? It’s bad enough in secular society , but please do not touch Holy Mother Church. It is time to strenghen our ‘armour in prayer.’

  17. “A diabolical disorientation will affect the Hierarchy in the Church. “Our Lady of Fatima,” to Sister Lucia. Her comments pretty well sums things up for our future:

    Anchor of Salvation June 7, 1986 Feast of the Immaculate Heart of Mary — First Saturday
    “Today I want to express my motherly gratitude to you for your having accepted my invitation to consecrate yourselves to my Immaculate Heart. You have responded in great numbers, from all parts of the world. Continue to respond to me with generosity, and allow yourselves to be led by me into the secure refuge which my motherly love has built for you. In these times, you all need to hasten to take shelter in the refuge of my Immaculate Heart, because grave threats of evil are hanging over you. These are first of all evils of a spiritual order, which can harm the supernatural life of your souls. Sin is spreading as the worst and most pernicious of epidemics, which is bringing sickness and death everywhere to many souls. If you live habitually in mortal sin, you are spiritually dead, and if you come to the end of life in this state, eternal death in hell awaits you. Hell exists; it is eternal, and today many are running the danger of going there, because they are being contaminated by this mortal disease. There are evils of a physical order, such as infirmity, disasters, accidents, droughts, earthquakes, and incurable diseases which are spreading about. Even in that which happens to you in the natural order, see a warning sign for yourselves. You should see a sign of divine justice, which cannot allow the innumerable crimes which are committed every day to go unpunished. There are evils of a social order, such as divisions and hatred, famine and poverty, exploitation and slavery, violence, terrorism and war. To be protected from all these evils, I invite you to place yourselves under shelter in the safe refuge of my Immaculate Heart. But, in these times, you have need above all of being defended from the terrible snares of my Adversary, who has succeeded in establishing his reign in the world. It is the reign which is opposed to Christ; it is the reign of the Antichrist. In this last part of your century, this reign of his will reach the peak of its strength, of its power, of its great seduction. The hour is in preparation when the man of iniquity, who wants to put himself in the place of God to have himself adored as God, is about to manifest himself in all his power. Under the bloody scourge of this terrible trial, how are you to avoid being scattered and discouraged and to remain strong in the faith and faithful only to Jesus and to his Gospel? My Immaculate Heart will become your strongest defense, the shield of protection which will safeguard you from every attack of my Adversary. But today you have special need of being consoled. To whom will you be able to turn in the painful moments which are awaiting you, when the great apostasy will reach its peak and humanity will arrive at the summit of denial of God and of rebellion, of iniquity and discord, of hatred and destruction, of wickedness and impiety?
    326 – Anchor of Salvation (page 1 of 2)
    In my Immaculate Heart you will be consoled! For this reason, I say again to each one of you today that which I said at Fatima to my daughter, Sister Lucy: ‘My Immaculate Heart will be your refuge and the sure way which will lead you to God.’ On this day, dedicated by the Church to its particular veneration, I desire that my Immaculate Heart appear as the anchor of salvation for all.”

    • Thank you for this important reminder—it should be put on many car windshields. Many are ignorant and know not where to turn.

    • This is the message that should be put on the windshields. Thank you for the CLEAR reminder to run (not walk) to our Mother.

  18. So one guts the gospel to change with the times, doctrine by democracy? No wonder the pews are empty. People want something they can TRUST. What child had respect for the parent that gives in to the whims of the children, even when the child is begging for restraint behind his pleas for liberality.

  19. Annulment is not’s a declaration by the Church “Tribunal” that a marriage was not valid from it’s beginning. The sacrament of marriage is valid…but those who have impediments cannot receive the sacrament validly.

  20. “The pope smiled as he told Kasper the story, and reassured him: “It goes in one ear and out the other.”

    The devil is very astute… and is now in the higher echelons of the Church.

  21. I am cautious of Card, Kramer and all he says – and of Pope Francis, too. — too quick with many proposed changes.
    I believe Scriptues say to ” beware of those who preach a different doctrine” and that many false prophets and teachers will come in the last days.! Mary says to “Pray, pray, pray for your priests.”

  22. I have always respected and admired Cardinal Kasper and his theology, and I still do now, more than ever. I have been saddened by the church in the last 35 years. Pope Francis has given me and countless others the world over that the church hears its people and not just the grumblings of celibate men, clutching on to power until the very end – alienating the very people Christ wanted to embrace in his fold. The Church can breath again, and it feels good! The windows are now open and the breeze of the Spring refreshes the soul!!!

  23. Fr. Gobbi received locutions from Our Lady in 1973 and launched the Marian Movement of Priests in Oct. of that year in response to Our Lady’s request. St. John Paul II was very close to Fr. Gobbi and seemed to approve of the MMP. Fr. Gobbi died almost three years ago now – June 29, 2011. Please check the MMP website for additional information. The MMP continues to echo the Message of Fatima and is very relevant for these times in which we are living.

    • Thank you, Kathleen, for pointing out the history of the Marian movement of priests. Below is Our Lady’s comments on the Third part of the Secret of Fatima.

      My Secret March 11, 1995 Cenacle with the Priests and Faithful of the M.M.P. from Portugal
      My Secret
      Fatima (Portugal)
      “In this my venerated shrine, I welcome you all, my beloved ones and children consecrated to me, that I may enclose you all within the safe refuge of my Immaculate Heart. — Here, I appeared as the Woman Clothed with the Sun, to point out to you the road along which you must journey in this century of yours, so ensnared and in the possession of the spirit of Evil. — Here, I came from heaven to offer you the refuge in which to take shelter at the moment of the great struggle between me and my Adversary and in the painful hours of the great tribulation and chastisement. — Here, I caused the Marian Movement of Priests to spring up, and by means of this little son whom I have brought to every part of the world during these years, I have formed for myself the cohort, now ready for the battle and for my greatest victory. — I want you here today, spiritually united with this son of mine, as a great cenacle of my Movement is being held before the image of your heavenly Mother, placed in the very spot where I appeared to the three children, Jacinta, Francisco and Lucia. — Here, I am gathering you all round about me and expressing to you my pleasure for the way in which you have accepted the invitation to become part of the Marian Movement of Priests, to consecrate yourselves to my Immaculate Heart and to spread everywhere cenacles of prayer among priests, children, youth, and in families. I want you spiritually here with me, because as of now you are entering into the last period of time of this century of yours, when the events which I have predicted to you will come to their complete fulfillment. For this reason, here in the very place where I appeared, I want today to reveal to you my secret. My secret concerns the Church. In the Church, the great apostasy, which will spread throughout the whole world, will be brought to its completion; the schism will take place through a general alienation from the Gospel and from the true faith. There will enter into the Church the man of iniquity, who opposes himself to Christ, and who will bring into her interior the abomination of desolation, thus bringing to fulfillment the horrible sacrilege, of which the prophet Daniel has spoken. (cf. Mt 24:15)

      My secret concerns humanity. Humanity will reach the summit of corruption and impiety, of rebellion against God and of open opposition to his Law of love. It will know the hour of its greatest chastisement, which has already been foretold to you by the prophet Zechariah. (cf. Zec 13:7-9)

      Then this place will appear to all as a bright sign of my motherly presence in the supreme hour of your great tribulation. From here my light will spread to every part of the world, and from this fount will gush the water of divine mercy, which will descend to irrigate the barrenness of a world, now reduced to an immense desert. And in this, my extraordinary work of love and of salvation, there will appear to all the triumph of the Immaculate Heart of her who is invoked as the Mother of Mercy.”

  24. Cardinal Kasper is quoting the Holy Father. Unless, and until, we hear these words directly from the Holy Father himself we should not pay too much attention to them. Our Lady tells us to pray, pray, pray. Let us not forget Cardinal Kasper in our prayers as we pray for our Holy Father and all of our priests, and in a special way, the eight cardinals who are advising the pope. …Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well-beloved spouse. Every time we assist at Holy Mass let us lift up these special intentions.

    • Kathleen. Let us not forget the rest of the prayer to the Holy Spirit, so passionately requested by Our Lady:
      ‘Come Holy Spirit, come by means of the powerful intercession of the Sorrowful and the Immaculate Heart of Mary, your well-beloved spouse. O, come and change the face of the earth. Come quickly, come in these last times, so that our eyes may see your greatest miracle; that of the New Heavens and the New Earth.
      I think the Great Apostasy is upon us. Ecumenism is the time bomb that has forced the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church to become just another Church in the eyes of so many progressives. Cardinal Kasper is a progressive.
      The Pope has stated that he intends to appoint more progressives to the ranks of the Bishops. I believe the Pope is a progressive. So was St Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI. Pope Paul lamented over Vatican II. “We thought the Council would be a springtime for the Church. It has brought about a cruel winter.”
      I believe that St John Paul II was the restrainer who held back the Man of Perdition from entering into the Temple of God. I believe that Pope Benedict has likewise done the same in the footsteps of John Paul II. I think Pope Benedict is a victim soul restraining the Man of Perdition from entering into the Church. I believe on the death of Pope Benedict, all Hell will break loose.
      ‘First must come the Great Apostasy, and he that restrains is taken away,
      before the Man of Perdition emerges.’ St Paul.

  25. Incredible! I never realized how many vitriolic comments defending poor theology could be generated by a call for Mercy. May God bless the People of God with enlightenment, understanding and forgiveness as dialogue brings us all toward a Church of love and justice.

    • Fr.DuffyFghting69th

      Mercy without repentance is a falsehood. Jesus always required repentance.

  26. What about a priest who abandons his priesthood and “marries” someone.. Would Kasper have it that he should be able to receive communion also?

  1. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment
  2. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment
  3. Comment marked as low quality by the editors. Show comment