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Cardinal Pell: Communion for divorced and remarried not majority position

Cardinal George Pell has been an outspoken critic of Cardinal Kasper's proposal (CNS)

Cardinal George Pell has rejected claims that the majority of synod members accept Cardinal Walter Kasper’s proposals for Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.

Speaking to Catholic News Service on October 16 about the publication of working-group reports from the synod, the Australian cardinal also criticised the midterm report published on October 13.

Cardinal Pell, the prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy, said that only three out of 10 small groups of synod members accepted Cardinal Kasper’s controversial proposals.

“Communion for the divorced and remarried is for some – very few, certainly not the majority of synod fathers – it’s only the tip of the iceberg, it’s a stalking horse. They want wider changes, recognition of civil unions, recognition of homosexual unions,” he said.

“The Church cannot go in that direction.”

In a controversial interview with the journalist Edward Pentin earlier this week, Cardinal Kasper claimed that the majority of synod fathers backed proposals to allow at least some divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion.

He also indicated that the Pope was in favour of the proposals, though Francis has yet to comment publicly on the issue.

The midterm report was delivered by the synod relator Cardinal Péter Erdő of Esztergom-Budapest, who has the job of drawing together the results. It summarised the interventions of the first week and was noted for its conciliatory language towards Catholics in irregular relationships, such as cohabitation and same-sex unions.

Cardinal Pell described the report as “tendentious” and “skewed” and said that it “didn’t represent accurately the feelings of the synod fathers.”

He also said the participants decided unanimously to publish the working-group reports in order to give Catholics a truer picture of the nature of discussions.

“We wanted the Catholic people around the world to know actually what was going on in talking about marriage and the family and, by and large, I think people will be immensely reassured,” said Cardinal Pell.

“We’re not giving in to the secular agenda; we’re not collapsing in a heap. We’ve got no intention of following those radical elements in all the Christian churches, according to the Catholic churches in one or two countries, and going out of business.”