Remember, just a couple of weeks ago, when Cardinal Walter Kasper was asked about the publication of Remaining in the Truth of Christ, which responded to his frequent public discussions on the reform of doctrinal disciplines?
Kasper remarked, “that’s how politicians talk.”
We could perhaps say the same about his latest words and apologies concerning his remarks about the African bishops participating in the Extraordinary Synod. The apology goes like this:
“If one of my remarks about Africans was perceived as demeaning or insulting, then I am honestly sorry.”
That apology reeks of “how politicians talk.” It is the standard, “if something I said offended someone, somewhere…” homina, homina we’re all so tired of and never expect to hear from a churchman.
Further in the piece we learn that while Kasper now admits he spoke the words he spoke, and that he spoke them to journalists standing before him, the thing was “not an interview” — even though the journalists identified themselves as such and he never said to them, “this is off the record”.
So, Kasper seeks mercy and makes his apology. For all its parsing, I believe him; we all sometimes speak in ways that do not precisely convey our meaning. I believe he’s sorry, if something he said caused an upsetment amid this brother bishops.
No apology to (or “artful charity” offered, either) to the journalist Edward Pentin, the writer who dared to print Kasper’s words (peripherally) and would have found his career in utter ruins after the Cardinal’s strenuous denials, had he not produced a clear recording.
For Pentin — and seemingly a few others — there is only wrath and a thirst for “justice” that runs along some troublingly paranoid and vengeful lines.
Another comment made by Cardinal Kasper in speaking with Kath.net is quite breathtaking: he talked again about a “deliberate dirty trick” to denounce him. “The fact that Catholic media (and unfortunately a cardinal in person) should participate in it, in order to tear down another position morally, is shameful,” Kasper opined. When Kath.net asked as a follow-up question who that cardinal was, Kasper unfortunately gave no answer. The retired Curial Cardinal announced, however, that “other journalists” are going to take action against such “undignified machinations”.
Der emeritierte Kurienkardinal kündigte aber an, dass „andere Journalisten“ gegen solche „unwürdigen Machenschaften“ vorgehen werden. . .Dass sich daran katholische Medien (leider auch ein leibhaftiger Kardinal) beteiligen, um eine andere Position moralisch niederzumachen, ist beschämend“, meinte Kasper
Holy smokes, your Eminence! Are you suggesting that Edward Pentin, while asking you about your position regarding Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics, somehow tricked you into bringing up the African bishops, so that he could then bury those remarks within the depths of the interview? And that he did this at the behest of Cardinal Burke?
Primo: Cut that out Cardinal, bitte, bitte; it sounds really paranoid and also impossible. On the tape and in the interview it’s clear that no one made a game of getting you to remark about the African bishops.
Secondo: Exactly which “other journalists” within Catholic media are going to act as your henchmen, going after either other Cardinals or other writers?
This does not sound good. You are not handling any part of this situation half as well as Burke seems to be handling the “demotion” that I still think could have profound purposes, should Burke and Francis want that.
The other day someone said we should “stop writing about Kasper.” Well, why? He’s a noted theologian and Prince of the Church who keeps saying notable things. In the presence of journalists. Who write this stuff down, or record it and then write it up.
And there it is.
Cardinal Kasper is 81 years old, and it seems to me he is still fully in his wits. But he has been going at it full steam since February, giving many interviews, traveling, and then participating in the Synod. Perhaps he needs to stand down a bit, go on a repairing lease, as they say, in the countryside, or regroup with a restful, prayerful retreat up at Subiaco, amid the caves of Saint Benedict.
Just for a little while, someplace without microphones, notepads or video cameras.