PopeWatch: Opposition


Sandro Magister at his blog Chiesa gives us the latest news in regard to the growing opposition to Cardinal Kasper’s proposal to allow Catholics in adulterous marriages to receive communion:



First Five, Now Seventeen Anti-Kasper Cardinals

And they are speaking out together in two books that are about to be released ahead of the synod. With Robert Sarah and the Africans in the lea

by Sandro Magister

ROME, August 31, 2015 – Guinean cardinal Robert Sarah, prefect of the congregation for divine worship, is in Regensburg these days to present the German edition of his book “God or Nothing,” published in France last February and about to be released in nine other languages all over the world, given the enormous interest it has raised on account of what is written in it and who wrote it, as www.chiesa has already shown:

> A Pope from Black Africa
The book will be introduced in Regensburg by Cardinal Gerhard Müller, prefect of the congregation for the doctrine of the faith, while the preface to the German edition was written by Archbishop Georg Gänswein, prefect of the pontifical household and personal secretary to Benedict XVI.
But the pope emeritus himself has not failed to express his appreciation to Cardinal Sarah, writing among other things:“I have read God or Nothing with great spiritual profit, joy, and gratitude. Its courageous answers to the problems of gender theory clear up in a nebulous world a fundamental anthropological question.”

Of the almost four hundred pages in the book, only a few deal with the synod on the family. But they have made an impression through the clearness and lucidity with which they oppose the proponents of change in marriage doctrine and pastoral care who have their most prominent representative in Cardinal Walter Kasper.

Sarah was not one of the five cardinals – the first of them being Müller – who on the eve of last October’s session of the synod formed a coalition against the innovators with a collaborative book that made a huge splash.

But now that the second and last session of the synod is approaching, taking the field again in defense of the traditional doctrine and pastoral care of marriage are not five but eleven cardinals, this time as well with a collaborative book. And Sarah is among them.

The other ten are, in alphabetical order:

– Carlo Caffarra, archbishop of Bologna, Italy;
– Baselios Cleemis Thottunkal, major archbishop of Triuvandrum of the Syro-Malankara Church, India;
– Josef Cordes, president emeritus of the pontifical council Cor Unum, Germany;
– Dominik Duka, archbishop of Prague, Czech Republic;
– Jacobus Eijk, archbishop of Utrecht, Holland;
– Joachim Meisner, archbishop emeritus of Cologne, Germany;
– John Onaiyekan, archbishop of Abuja, Nigeria;
– Antonio María Rouco Varela, archbishop emeritus of Madrid, Spain;
– Camillo Ruini, vicar emeritus of the pope for the diocese of Rome, Italy;
– Jorge Urosa Savino, archbishop of Caracas, Venezuela.

The book is entitled:

“Eleven Cardinals Speak on Marriage and the Family: Essays from a Pastoral Viewpoint.”

It will be published in September in five languages: English (Ignatius Press), Italian (Cantagalli), French (Artège), German (Herder), Spanish (Ediciones Cristiandad).

And this is not a work of compilation. The essays there are seeing the light for the first time, with the sole exception of the one by Cardinal Ruini, already published one year ago on www.chiesa:

> The Real Dilemma: Indissolubility or Divorce

For more details and previews of the contents of this book:

> Marriage in Our Contemporary World: Pastoral Observations from an African Perspective

> Pre-Synod Book “Eleven Cardinals Speak on Marriage and the Family”


But that’s not all. Because the release of another book is also imminent, this one too aimed at the synod and written exclusively by Africans. For now it is being published only in English: in the United States by Ignatius Press and in Kenya by the Paulines.

This is the title:

“Christ’s New Homeland – Africa. Contribution to the Synod on the Family by African Pastors”.

Here as well there are eleven authors, all bishops and archbishops, seven of them cardinals. And Sarah is among them again with the first of the essays, a selection from which is reproduced further below on this page.

The index of the book, introduced with a preface by Nigerian cardinal Francis Arinze, Sarah’s predecessor at the head of the congregation for divine worship, is the following:


Robert Cardinal Sarah, Prefect of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments:
“What Sort of Pastoral Mercy in Response to the New Challenges to the Family? A Reading of the Lineamenta”

Bishop Barthélemy Adoukonou, Secretary of the Pontifical Council for Culture:
“Start from Living Faith: An African Take on the Instrumentum laboris”


Archbishop Denis Amuzu-Dzakpah of Lomé:
“The Importance of Recent Magisterial Teaching on Marriage and the Family”

Philippe Cardinal Ouedraogo, Metropolitan Archbishop of Ouagadougou:
“The Indissolubility of Marriage: The Foundation of the Human Family”

Berhaneyesus D. Cardinal Souraphiel, Metropolitan Archbishop of Addis Abeba:
“Promoting a True Understanding of Marriage and the Accompaniment of Married Couples”


Christian Cardinal Tumi, Archbishop Emeritus of Douala, Cameroon:
“Marriage in Situations of Dysfunction or Weakness: Separation, Divorce, Remarriage”

Archbishop Antoine Ganye of Cotonou:
“Monogamy and Polygamy: Challenge and Concern for the Truth of Love in African Cultures”

Théodore Adrien Cardinal Sarr, Archbishop Emeritus of Dakar:
“The Challenge of Mixed and Interfaith Marriages”

Archbishop Samuel Kleda of Douala:
“Pastoral Care to Wounded Families”


Jean-Pierre Cardinal Kutwa, Archbishop of Abidjan, Côte d’Ivoire:
“Why Should the State Support the Family?”


It is clear from this book that the coalition of African bishops will be a big player at the synod and will act as a sturdy fence against the proposals for change in matters of divorce and homosexual unions. As was already evident from the symposium in Accra last June among the presidents of the continent’s episcopal conferences:

> Synod. Africa’s Hour

In the selection from Sarah in the preview below there are brief but very critical references to the language and contents of the “Lineamenta,” the official document produced by the first session of the synod as the basis for further discussion.

But those who read the full essay in the book will see that this is not just a matter of allusive references. Because immediately before the selection presented here Cardinal Sarah dedicates several pages to a point-by-point criticism of the “Lineamenta,” with subtitles and introductions like these:


“In paragraph 14, the document seems to insinuate that insisting on the indissolubility of marriage would be synonymous with subjugating persons, and it gives the impression that it takes the mosaic model for granted, since, it says, Jesus himself refers to it. Are we supposed to return, then, to the era of ‘hardness of heart’ in the pre-Gospel period?…”.


“From the perplexing, we move on to the unacceptable. Could it be that the document, in paragraph 27, is advocating trial marriage as a path to be followed? […] In many regions of Africa where customs prescribe an ‘indissoluble traditional marriage’ – one that is therefore more stable than civil marriage – the local Church is not even authorized to use such language. If she did, not only would she ruin her pastoral ministry to families, but she would also be in contradiction with the Gospel and would scandalize the pagans…”.


“It is astonishing that the same document that clearly notes in paragraph 5 that there is a ‘crisis of faith, witnessed among a great many Catholics, which oftentimes underlies the crisis in marriage and the family’ draws no conclusions from that fact. Why does it not say that the first challenge to address is the crisis of faith? Why does it seek, in paragraph 33, in one particularly disconcerting perspective, to proceed to renew the Church’s way of speaking about situations that are objectively contrary to the Gospel as though it were merely a matter of ‘words’ or ‘language’?…”.


So here is the passage of the essay by Cardinal Sarah.

“Parresìa,” the frankness so much invoked by Pope Francis for the synodal discussion, certainly has a first-rank champion in him.

Go here to read the article by Cardinal Sarah.  The battle lines are being drawn.  Pope Francis will need to be very careful or he might be remembered as the pope who called the Synod which launched the Great Schism of the Twenty-First Century.

More to explorer


  1. St Paul warned us about the powers and principalities and those (who knew they’d be disguised in Roman collars and red hats?) who would seek to tickle our ears.
    In this world of confused distraction and nonsense in the name of social justice and compassion, with near diabolical silence about grave sin and loss of our souls, we are inarguably there.
    It is well past time to gird our loins and double down on the truth–the antithesis of this modern world.

  2. I’m sure the American cardinals and bishops were ready to add their contributions, but couldn’t make the publishing deadline. Maybe next time.

  3. Cardinal Sarah is by training an exegete and biblical scholar, which lends a solidity to his work sometimes lacking in those grounded in more speculative fields.

    His Dieu ou rien : Entretien sur la foi {God or nothing: interview on the Faith] was well received, when it cam out in February and was reviewed in La Croix.

  4. If Pope Francis ends up supporting Matthew 19 at the synod, all well and good but I think no schism will result for the liberals will continue to infest and infect the Body of Christ that to leave. They like being a cancer. If Pope Francis supports the German heresy, then schism will result. I cannot imagine traditional people abiding an heretical Pope. I won’t go Protestant, but I won’t have anything to do with that Pope either.

  5. Pope Francis will need to be very careful

    That’s gotten difficult to imagine. He shoots his mouth off at every opportunity, rebukes subordinates in front of the newspapers, and his minions engaged in repulsive gamesmanship at the preparatory sessions last fall. The only thing he evinces is ill-discipline and willfulness.

  6. The pope the cardinals and priest all know as well as we do what God excepts from us so how can they all go against his word? All the more reason to pull away from the catholic church I’m better off doing my own thing at home, with them leading the way my soul would be lost I can get to heaven on my own. I hope they all wake up before its too late!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  7. Doris.

    Please never entertain such thoughts.
    Remember Si. Peters words to Jesus; “Lord, where would I go? “. Jesus will always be at his Catholic Church in His Sacraments REGARDLESS of his Sheppard’s.

    Please don’t leave.

  8. Doris-we need you; EACH PERSON IS A DIVINE REVELATION at the catholiclane.com site is about you. The Church, which is the mystical body of Christ, will end up just fine. Besides-nowhere else can you eat His body and drink His blood. Please stay. Guy McClung, San Antonio

  9. Guy and all TAC enthusiast.
    Please say a prayer tonight for Kim Davis. the brave clerk in Kentucky that stood her convictions and refused to offer the marriage license. A federal judge has called a hearing tomorrow.

    Please say one extra prayer for her and for God’s Marriage!

    Thank you.
    I apologize for the interruption on this thread.
    Hope you understand.

  10. Cpola wrote, “schism is not an option”
    Cardinal Manning’s question is very much in point: “The first and final question to be asked of these controversialists is : Do you or do you not believe that there is a Divine Person teaching now, as in the beginning, with a divine, and therefore infallible voice ; and that the Church of this hour is the organ through which He speaks to the world ?”
    When he was still an Anglican, Mgr Ronald Knox asked himself a simple question: “Why did those who anathematized Nestorius come to be regarded as “Catholics” rather than those who still accept his doctrines?” He realised that we do not have to concern ourselves with the theological arguments at all; the short answer is that the “Catholics” had the bishop of Rome in their party and the Nestorians did not. As he says, “if you ask a Catholic “What is the Catholic Faith? ” and are told it is that held by the Catholic Church; if you persevere, and ask what is the Catholic Church, you are no longer met with the irritatingly circular definition “the Church which holds the Catholic Faith “; you are told it is the Church which is in communion with the Bishop of Rome.”

    It is a real test, not a vicious circle and one that is is remarkably easy of application; just what one would expect of the criterion of a divine message, intended for all, regardless of learning, capacity or circumstances.

  11. Philip, re Kim Davis. Will do. Thank you for the reminder. She faces a ruinous fine and jail time. By being true to God’s word she is persecuted by a group that always wants revenge.

  12. CAM. Thank you. She is walking her talk, and giving witness in an extraordinary way, her livelihood. God be with her today, and may her example give all of us pause, that we too be ready today to lay down our life for a friend.
    Kim most certainly is a friend of Jesus.

  13. Doris, remember, the other apostles didn’t stay home because one hand-picked apostle named Judas betrayed the Church-they doubled down, went public, and took the heat until martyrdom provided the platform for our church today. Jesus stayed with His faith publically, even though the Pharisees and church leaders were scoundrels. He called Peter Satan because he refused to face the cross he gives each of us.
    Pray for strength and wisdom–eternity is more than just a long time.
    Look carefully at Kim Davis, a true martyr in our Godless world–ready to accept persecution for God.

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