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Cardinal Kasper says Mueller's manifesto spreads 'confusion and division'

Cardinal Walter Kasper (CNS)

Kasper suggested Müller was following the path of Martin Luther by working 'behind the Pope's back'

Cardinal Walter Kasper has released a criticism of Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s “Manifesto of Faith,” accusing it of containing half-truths and blanket statements that could lead to division and confusion in the Church.

In a statement on katholisch.de, Kasper said that while the manifesto “contains many statements of faith that every upright Catholic can wholeheartedly affirm,” some of the truths in it “are pointed out so pointedly that it fades out the other half.”

On February 8, Cardinal Gerhard Müller, former prefect of the Vatican’s doctrinal office, published a “Manifesto of Faith,” which he described as a response to Catholics who have requested that he issue a “public testimony about the truth of revelation” in response to “growing confusion about the doctrine of the Faith.”

The manifesto addresses five areas of Catholic doctrine: Christology, ecclesiology, sacraments, morality, and eschatology, the branch of theology that addresses death, judgment, heaven, and hell. Each section draws heavily from references to the Catechism of the Catholic Church.

In his document, Müller quotes the catechism, noting that “Anyone conscious of a grave sin must receive the sacrament of Reconciliation before coming to communion.” He adds that “from the internal logic of the sacrament,” that norm applies to “divorced and civilly remarried persons, whose sacramental marriage exists before God, as well as those Christians who are not in full communion with the Catholic Faith and the Church.” He also reiterated that the Church cannot ordain women to the priesthood and affirmed Church teaching on the existence of heaven and hell.

Kasper, who has been an outspoken advocate of the admission of the divorced-and-remarried to Holy Communion, accused Müller of making “unacceptable blanket statements,” such as the assertion that “the conscience of the faithful is not sufficiently formed.”

“It is undoubtedly true that the confession of the Triune God constitutes a fundamental difference in belief in God and the image of man from other religions. But are there not similarities, especially with the Jews and the Muslims, in the belief in the one God? And are not these similarities today fundamental to peace in the world and in society? Half the truth is not the Catholic truth!” Kasper charged.

He also said that he was “totally horrified” to read Müller’s statement that failing to teach the truths of the Catholic faith “it is the fraud of Antichrist.”

Kasper suggested that Müller was following the path of Martin Luther: “One who rightly advocates reforms in the Church, but wants to pursue these behind the Pope’s back and enforce them in opposition to him? I would find that hard to believe. For that could only lead to confusion and division. That could unhinge the Catholic Church.”