We live in a soundbite world. Of that, there is no doubt. Before, during, and after the Extraordinary Synod on the Family last year, the question of whether the divorced and remarried can receive the sacrament of Holy Communion was and continues to be passionately debated.
Sadly, too many Catholics, including some clergy, rely only on the headlines and soundbites to inform themselves and the result of the debate has been growing confusion that somehow the Church has changed it’s teaching on a very fundamental and important issue.
This week, Raymond Arroyo of EWTN’s The World Over did us all a favor in his interview with Cardinal Kasper, one of the main proponents of the proposal to allow some divorced and remarried couples to receive Communion. Over at the National Catholic Register, Arroyo offered excerpts of the transcript of his interview with the Cardinal. Read his entire piece
ARROYO: But you do understand, when a Churchman like yourself, a theologian, an esteemed international figure, a Curial official says: “Here is my proposal, and the Pope agrees with me” that does cause some …
CARDINAL KASPER: Well, this I did not say.
ARROYO: Well you did say, and the quote is: “Clearly this is what he wants,” and the Pope has approved of my proposal. Those were the quotes from the time …
CARDINAL KASPER: No … he did not approve my proposal. The Pope wanted that I put the question [forward], and, afterwards, in a general way, before all the cardinals, he expressed his satisfaction with my talk. But not the end, not in the … I wouldn’t say he approved the proposal, no, no, no.
The Cardinal says that the Pope wanted to open the debate. I couldn’t agree more. Last year I wrote that the Pope sort of arranged a pre-Synod. He knew (we all knew) that there’s a lot of confusion surrounding the issue of marriage. In fact, I’m grateful for the debate. It’s brought forth greatly needed clarity on the teaching. Now, it’s a matter of continuing to clarify and teach so that the confusion is dispelled, a major task set before all of us.
Speaking of confusing, as we look to the Ordinary Synod on the family this coming October, remember the three things you needed to know about a Synod 14, take a deep breath, steady the course, and keep your peace and your sense of humor. (And if you’re looking for something to do this summer, join me in Denver or online for my intensive course on Christian marriage.)
Meanwhile, many thanks to Arroyo for his excellent and respectful interview, as well as to Cardinal Kasper for his willingness to openly discuss his perspectives. I really appreciate the tone in which they engaged each other, a great reminder of how this debate should proceed. Just remember, in his own words, the Cardinal has clarified that Pope Francis has not approved his proposal.
Soundbite – “The Pope did not approve Cardinal Kasper’s proposal.”