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Cardinal Kasper: the controversy over Amoris Laetitia is now over

Cardinal Kasper (CNS)

The controversy over Amoris Laetitia has come to an end, Cardinal Walter Kasper has said.

The admission of divorced and remarried people to the sacraments in certain individual cases is now the only correct interpretation of the document, he claimed, following the official publication of the Pope’s letter to the Buenos Aires bishops.

In an op-ed 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.”

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”.

The cardinal said admitting people in objective states of sin to the sacraments has its basis in traditional teaching “especially that of Thomas Aquinas and the Council of Trent.”

“It is not a novelty, but a renewal of an old tradition against neo-scholastic constrictions. As proven experts of the doctrine of Pope John Paul II have shown, there is no contradiction with the two predecessors of Pope Francis.”

Cardinal Kasper was one of the main figures pushing for the Church to admit divorced and remarried couples to Communion under certain circumstances – 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, especially with regard to Amoris Laetitia.

Among the objections to interpretations of Amoris, they said it was erroneous to think that those who have divorced and remarried can receive the Eucharist without making a firm resolution to avoid sexual relations.

However, in his op-ed, Cardinal Kasper said Pope Francis stood “firmly on the ground of the Second Vatican Council, which has taught that conscience is the most secret core and sanctuary of a man. There he is alone with God, Whose voice echoes in his depths. (Pastoral Constitution Gaudium et Spes, 16).”