World News

‘Painful’ dispute over Amoris is over, says cardinal

Cardinal Walter Kasper said critics failed to appreciate the ‘importance of personal conscience’ (Getty)

Cardinal Walter Kasper has said that he believes the controversy over Amoris Laetitia may be coming to an end.

In a comment piece for the German-language edition of Vatican Radio, translated by CNA, Cardinal Kasper said that “with the official publication of the letter from Pope Francis to the bishops of the Buenos Aires region, the painful dispute over the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia is hopefully over”. The letter by Francis was published in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the official Vatican record.

John Paul II and Benedict XVI reaffirmed the traditional teaching that the divorced and remarried cannot receive ­Communion unless they have previously been to Confession. This would involve a resolution to separate or to live as “brother and sister”.

However, since the publication of Amoris Laetitia the world’s bishops have been divided, with some reaffirming traditional doctrine and some, such as the bishops of Buenos Aires, saying that avoiding sex may not be possible.

Cardinal Kasper said that admitting people in objective states of sin to the sacraments has its basis in traditional teaching. It was, he said, “a renewal of an old tradition against neo-scholastic constrictions.”

He said that the “great majority of God’s people have already received [Amoris Laetitia] with gratitude and may now feel confirmed,” and accused critics of “one-sided moral objectivism” that fails to appreciate “the importance of the personal conscience in the moral act”.

Cardinal Kasper was key in pushing for the Church to admit divorced and remarried couples to Communion – to the extent that the idea became known as the “Kasper proposal”.

In September, 62 priests and scholars signed a “filial correction”, saying the Pope’s words and actions risked leading Catholics into false doctrines – including the idea that the moral law might be impossible to follow, and that the remarried could receive Communion without living as “brother and sister”.

Friar and EWTN host dies at 75

A founding member of the Franciscan Friars of the Renewal has died aged 75.

Fr Andrew Apostoli “embodied Franciscan spirituality, and was as dedicated a priest as any I have ever known”, said Cardinal Timothy Dolan of New York. “All who came into contact with him soon knew of his love for Jesus, his humility and gentleness.”

Fr Apostoli was a regular host on the TV network EWTN.