PopeWatch: Secret Consistory

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This is very interesting.  Rorate Caeli has a story, written by  Marco Tossati for La Stampa, about the “Secret” Consistory on February 22, 2014 at which Cardinal Kasper proposed that a “pastoral” approach be taken to Catholics in adulterous marriage to give them a process by which they could receive communion while remaining in their adulterous marriages.  Apparently the Cardinal’s proposal was as well received as a skunk at a perfume convention:

Marco Tosatti, for LA STAMPA

The Consistory on  the 22nd February to discuss the family, was supposed to be secret. Instead a decision came from the top that it was opportune to publish Cardinal Kasper’s long report on the theme of the Eucharist for the divorced and remarried. In all probability [this] to open the way in prospect of the  October Synod on the Family. However half of the Consistory remained secret: [that half] concerned  observations from Cardinals. And maybe not by chance, as, after Cardinal Kasper had presented his long report (and as it seems it was not very light when given ,) rather a lot of voices were raised in criticizing it. So much so, that in the afternoon when the Pope gave him the job of responding, the German Cardinal’s tone appeared piqued, even angry to the many [present].
The current opinion is  that “Kasper’s theorem”  tends to allow permission in general for the  divorced and remarried  to receive communion, without the previous marriage being  recognized as null.  At present this does not happen,  based on Jesus’ words which were very severe and explicit on divorce.  People who live a full  matrimonial life without the first union being regarded as invalid by the Church, find themselves in a situation of permanent sin, according to present doctrine.
In this sense, Cardinal Caffarra of Bologna as well as German Cardinal Mueller (Prefect of the Congregation of the Faith) spoke clearly.  Equally explicit was Cardinal Walter Brandmuller (“ Neither  human nature nor the Commandments nor the Gospel have an expiry date[…]Courage is needed to enunciate the truth even against current customs.  Whoever speaks on behalf of the Church must possess courage if he does not want his vocation to be a failure.[…] The desire to obtain approval and applause is a temptation which is always present in the transmission of religious teaching.”   Afterwards he made his words public).  Also the President of the Italian Bishops, Cardinal Bagnasco expressed himself in a critical manner with regard to “Kasper’s theorem”;   the same went for the African Cardinal Robert Sarah, Head of “Cor Unum”  who at the end of his comments, recalled  that in the course of the centuries even on dramatic questions controversies and divergences  had existed  inside the Church, but that the role of the Papacy had always been the one of defending doctrine.
Cardinal Re who was one of Bergoglio’s greatest electors, gave a very short statement, which can be summarized thus:  “I will speak for just a moment, because there are future new cardinals here and perhaps some of them do not have the courage to say it, so I will: I am completely against this report.”  Also the Prefect of the Penitentiary, Cardinal Piacenza said he was against it and more or less said: “we are here now and we will be here again in October for a Synod on the Family, and so since we  want to have a positive Synod, I don’t see why we have to touch only on the matter of  Communion for divorcees.”  He added: “Since we want to have a debate on pastoral care it seems to me that we should have to take note of  a widespread pan-sexualism  and the attack of the “ideology of gender” which tend to demolish the family as we have always known it.  It would be providential if we were lumen gentium so as  clarify the situation we find ourselves in, as well as the things that can destroy the family.”  He concluded by exhorting a re-reading of the catecheses by John Paul II on corporeity, since they contain many positive elements about sex, being a man and a woman, procreation and love.
Cardinal Tauran, (of Inter-Religious Dialogue) returned  again to  the attack on the family, also in light of relations with Islam. Likewise Cardinal Scola of Milan raised theological  and doctrinal perplexities .
Cardinal Ruini was also very critical.  He [also]added: “I don’t know if I understood well, but at this moment, about 85% of the Cardinals have expressed opinions apparently contrary to the layout  of the report.”  He added that among those who did not say anything  –  therefore could not be classified – he took from their silence that: “I believe they are embarrassed”.
Go here to read the rest.  Princes of the Church acting like Princes of the Church?  Hopefully this may be the start of a trend!


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  1. Don,

    As someone who used to work in the flavor and fragrance business for about ten years, I learned back then that there were some “skunky” chemicals, due to their diffusive power, which were actually used in some perfume applications to boost or give some “umph” to some desired chemical compounds via some synergistic effect. I remember wondering about that, but I accepted it as reality as I was informed of this by professional perfumers with years of experience, who I had no cause to doubt.

    Just my two scents!

  2. The current issue of Regina magazine, a Catholic periodical that is primarily directed towards women, has a major critique of the Church in the German speaking world. The primary drivers of the craziness that came from Vatican II were the German speaking bishops/cardinals….Kung, etc.

    I strongly suggest going to the Regina website and downloading the magazine and reading it. The German bishops are more feckless than the USCCB, usually bending over backwards to kowtow to the dominant secular culture of Germany. Kasper is a product of this.

    Kasper’s former role was to be head of the Congregation of the Eastern Catholic Churches (as if they needed him) and Kasper failed in a spectacular way in getting the Pope to meet with the Moscow Patriarch.

  3. Applause for Cardinal Piacenza:
    “Since we want to have a debate on pastoral care it seems to me that we should have to take note of a widespread pan-sexualism and the attack of the “ideology of gender” which tend to demolish the family as we have always known it. It would be providential if we were lumen gentium so as clarify the situation we find ourselves in, as well as the things that can destroy the family.”

  4. In whatever pastoral route the Church takes as it grapples with real problems within the Church on sexuality, gender, marriage and family, the beginning of that process and the end will see no ‘change’ in the doctrine of the Church. That we have done horribly in both teaching and explaining the beauty and goodness [oriented toward the true happiness of ‘man’] as well as the truth of that teaching, goes without saying. A real failure of the Second Vatican Council was to really grapple with the issue of sexuality, marriage and family precisely in light of the sexual revolution (which was and is widespread and not just a bohemian thing). While Vatican II in Gaudium et Spes did advance the meaning of marriage within a ‘covenantal’ rather than a ‘contractual’ sense, the crisis within the Church concerning ‘sex’ and all issues based on it is self-evident.

  5. the sexual revolution (which was and is widespread … Yes it was “swinging” along. And we think of it as something from the 60’s. We were already two steps behind!

  6. Anzlyne is right (as usual) The divorce rate had been rising at an accelerating rate throughout the 20th century, something that was overlooked, because the absolute numbers remained small.

    Taking the figures for my own country, Scotland, in 1930, there were 469 decrees. A generation earlier, in 1890, there had been 87. There were 890 decrees in 1939, but in 1949, there were 2,447, an increase of 175% over 10 years.

    In the 1950s, the annual average was 2,071; in the 1930s, the annual average had been 597, representing a 250% increase on the 1930s average. So much for the family-friendly ’50s

    There were only 1,828 decrees in 1960, but in 1965, there were 2,691 and in 1969, there were 4,246.

    In 1970, there were 4,618 decrees and in 1974, the last full year before no-fault divorce, there were 7,221, a 168% increase on the 1965 figure. In 1976, the first full year of no-fault divorce, there were 8,692.

    In the 1980s, the annual average was 11,824, a 64% increase on the 1974 figure and in the 1990s, it was 12,381. In 2011, there were 9,862.

  7. In response to Anzlyne and Michael Paterson Seymour,

    The crisis in marriage did not begin with the legalization of gay marriage in some states here in the USA. That is not the cause but the symptom of a much deeper crisis: the failure to see the real meaning of conjugal love, the covenant of indissoluble marriage and family.

    In the West, this slide began back at the time of the Renaissance (at least) as we witness the ‘secularization’ of marriage in Luther’s taking marriage out of the perview of family and Church and placing it under the State and of course Henry VIII’s ‘espousal’ of divorce and sequential polygamy (and murder).

    In the meantime, besides maintaining the teaching of Christ Himself on the indissolubility of marriage, we have presumed that families educate their children in sexual issues as well as in at least possible preparation for marriage. I have no hesitancy about maintaining that it is the family’s perogative [and certainly not the State’s] to educate their children in these areas, but we ‘abandoned’ families too long, presuming they were fulfilling their mission and fulfilling it well (according to a Christian/Catholic vision/teaching)

    There is just so much to do in this area. It is not impossible of course, but it is so important that Catholics get the full picture and get on board with this- as we witness the Magisterium wrestle with this at the next two synods.

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