National Catholic Register reporter Edward Pentin has released a statement in response to Cardinal Kasper’s assertion that he never spoke to Zenit or made some rather inflammatory remarks on African Bishops. Writes Pentin:
His Eminence Cardinal Walter Kasper spoke to me and two other journalists, one British, the other French, around 7.15pm on Tuesday as he left the Synod hall.
I transcribed the recording of our conversation, and my iPhone on which I recorded the exchange was visible. I introduced myself as a journalist with the [National Catholic] Register, and the others also introduced themselves as journalists. I therefore figured the interview was on the record and His Eminence appeared happy to talk with us. In the end, I posted the full interview in ZENIT rather than the Register.
Okay, so, that answers the first question; I think many of us suspected that Pentin — who, like many writers, publishes in several venues — decided to published at Zenit and simply hadn’t mentioned the publication to Kasper. Further:
ZENIT removed the article on Thursday in response to Cardinal Kasper’s denial.
His Eminence made no comment about not wanting his remarks published. It depends on the context, but normally in such a situation, comments are considered on the record unless otherwise requested.
The recording can be downloaded below. A couple of the questions came from the other two journalists and I included them as part of the interview. Some of the quality of the English has also been improved for publication.
So, you can listen to the interview yourself.
Grant Gallicho, at Commonweal writes that Kasper is not a racist. I doubt anyone of good will ever thought he was; I merely said his words sounded condescending, which they did. He also notes that English is not Kasper’s first language. Noted. I was raised around Germans for whom English was a second language and he seems pretty fluent to me, but perhaps he was confused from so many questions and noise all about? Looking forward to hearing him on the tape. As far as I’m concerned, it’s still shaking out.
But a first thought, off the cuff? I think God’s hand is in all things and if all of this was a “big misunderstanding” involving miscommunications or whatever? Well, it seems to have resulted in South Africa’s Cardinal Napier being invited into the writing of the final synod document, and that is a good thing. More writing straight with crooked letters.
I’m not sure I will buy any argument that Napier’s involvement was long-planned; if it was, he’d have already been involved. But you know, the workings of heaven are often called “big coincidences.”
I’m hearing some very heartening things about this synod, from people on the ground, and it all sounds much more promising than what we are hearing/surmising through bits and pieces. Will write on them a bit later today, so check back.
UPDATE: Having listened to the tape several times, and I’m wondering if Kasper, like Father Benedict Groeshel, is simply speaking without thinking about how his words will be received.
A possibility, yes? I think so! But then again, I’m a girl who often misspeaks — or more accurately, speaks without strategy — and am more fluent on paper, which is why I thought Groeshel should be given a little room for mercy, and I may end up saying the same thing, here: perhaps Kasper has had a Groeshel-esque moment.
Set, O Lord, a guard over my mouth;
keep watch, O Lord, at the door of my lips!
Anyway, We know all things work to God’s own purpose, in ways we cannot understand. This happened. What will follow from it? We need to keep watching!
And yes, comments still closed.
UPDATE: I think Cardinal Kasper has missed an opportunity to practice his own lessons in mercy and pastoralism