Statement by Bishop Bernard Fellay, Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X, on the new pastoral approach to marriage according to Cardinal Kasper
What will happen at the Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops that is to be held October 5–19, 2014, dedicated to “the pastoral challenges for the family in the context of evangelization? ” This question is asked with great concern, since during the last Consistory, on February 20, 2014, Cardinal Walter Kasper, at the request of Pope Francis and with his emphatic support, presented the topic of the next Synod by making supposedly pastoral overtures that were doctrinally scandalous.
This presentation, which was initially supposed to remain secret, was published in the press, and the agitated debates that it sparked among the members of the Consistory ended up being revealed as well. One university professor dared to speak about a veritable “cultural revolution” (Roberto de Mattei), and one journalist described as a “paradigm shift” the fact that Cardinal Kasper proposes that divorced-and-“remarried” Catholics could go to Communion, even without their earlier marriage being annulled: “at present that is not the case, based on Jesus’ very severe and explicit words about divorce.” (Sandro Magister)
Some prelates have spoken up against this change, such as Cardinal Carlo Caffara, Archbishop of Bologna, who asked:
What about the first ratified and consummated marriage? If the Church admits [the divorced-and-“remarried”] to the Eucharist, she must however render a judgment about the legitimacy of the second union. That is only logical. But then—as I asked—what about the first marriage? The second, they say, cannot be a true second marriage, because bigamy goes against the Lord’s words. And what about the first one? Is it dissolved? But the popes have always taught that the power of the pope cannot go that far: the Pope has no authority over a ratified and consummated marriage. The solution proposed (by Cardinal Kasper) leads one to think that the first marriage remains, but there is also a second form of cohabitation that the Church legitimizes…. The fundamental question is therefore simple: what about the first marriage? But no one gives an answer.” (Il Foglio, March 15, 2014)
One could add the serious objections formulated by Cardinals Gerhard Ludwig Müller, Walter Brandmüller, Angelo Bagnasco, Robert Sarah, Giovanni Battista Re, Mauro Piacenza, Angelo Scola, Camillo Ruini… But these objections, too, remain unanswered.
We cannot wait, without speaking up, for the Synod to be held next October in the disastrous spirit that Cardinal Kasper wants to give to it. The attached study, entitled “The New Pastoral Approach to marriage according to Cardinal Kasper" shows the gross errors contained in his presentation.
Not to denounce them would amount to leaving the door open to the dangers pointed out by Cardinal Caffarra:
Therefore there would be such a thing as extramarital human sexuality that the Church considers legitimate. But that negates the central pillar of the Church’s teaching on sexuality. At that point someone might wonder: then why not approve of extramarital cohabitation? Or relations between homosexuals?” (Ibid.)
Whereas in recent months many families have demonstrated courageously against civil laws that, everywhere, are undermining the natural, Christian family, it is simply scandalous to see these same laws surreptitiously supported by churchmen who wish to align Catholic doctrine and morality with the morals of a de-Christianized society, instead of seeking to convert souls. A pastoral approach that scoffs at the explicit teaching of Christ on the indissolubility of marriage is not merciful but insulting to God, who grants His grace sufficiently to everyone; and it is cruel toward the souls who, when placed in difficult situations, receive the grace that they need in order to live a Christian life and even to grow in virtue, to the point of heroism.
Menzingen, April 12, 2014
Superior General of the Society of St. Pius X