16 October 2014

UPDATED: Why isn't the media covering Cardinal Kaspar's words about the African Bishops?

DEVELOPING: His Eminence Cardinal Kaspar has denied both having an interview with Zenit and speaking about the African Bishops. This is curious. And a bit bizarre.

UPDATE: Edward Pentin has released a statement in response to Cardinal Kaspar's claims above. Pentin says:
His Eminence Cardinal Walter Kasper spoke to me and two other journalists, one British, the other French, around 7.15pm on Tuesday as he left the Synod hall.
I transcribed the recording of our conversation, and my iPhone on which I recorded the exchange was visible. I introduced myself as a journalist with the [National Catholic] Register, and the others also introduced themselves as journalists. I therefore figured the interview was on the record and His Eminence appeared happy to talk with us. In the end, I posted the full interview in ZENIT rather than the Register [more].
 This doesn't look good for Cardinal Kaspar.


In an interview yesterday with Zenit about the ongoing drama that is the Third Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops, His Eminence Walter Cardinal Kaspar all but said the African Bishops should be quiet:
ZENIT: It has been said that he added five special rapporteurs on Friday to help the general rapporteur, Cardinal Peter Erdo. Is that because he’s trying to push things through according to his wishes?

Cardinal Kasper: I do not see this going on in the Pope’s head. But I think the majority of these five people are open people who want to go on with this. The problem, as well, is that there are different problems of different continents and different cultures. Africa is totally different from the West. Also Asian and Muslim countries, they’re very different, especially about gays. You can’t speak about this with Africans and people of Muslim countries. It’s not possible. It’s a taboo. For us, we say we ought not to discriminate, we don’t want to discriminate in certain respects.
ZENIT: But are African participants listened to in this regard?
Cardinal Kasper: No, the majority of them [who hold these views won’t speak about them].
ZENIT: They’re not listened to?
Cardinal Kasper: In Africa of course [their views are listened to], where it’s a taboo.
ZENIT: What has changed for you, regarding the methodology of this synod?
Cardinal Kasper: I think in the end there must be a general line in the Church, general criteria, but then the questions of Africa we cannot solve. There must be space also for the local bishops’ conferences to solve their problems but I’d say with Africa it’s impossible [for us to solve]. But they should not tell us too much what we have to do.
I cannot agree with Cardinal Kaspar in this, for two reasons.

Africa is one of the places in the world where the Church is booming. It is not booming, to put it mildly, in Germany. It may well be that the African Bishops know something the German (and even European and North American) Bishops do not.

This Synod has been touted as an opportunity for everyone to speak freely, without, as Pope Francis said, without fear:

Everyone needs to say what one feels duty-bound in the Lord to say: without respect for human considerations, without fear. And, at the same time, one must listen with humility and welcome with an open heart what the brothers say.

It seems that Cardinal Kaspar, who has claimed only to be expressing the thoughts of the Pope with his suggestions about the reception of Holy Communion for divorced and civilly remarried Catholics, has not taken these words of the Pontiff to heart. What Cardinal Kaspar advocates by telling the African Bishops to be quiet is simply not synodality.

At the same, if the African Bishops should not tell the European and North American Bishops what they have to do, why can the North American and European Bishops tell the African Bishops what they have to do? Surely there cannot be two approaches issued by the Synod for two different parts of the world; that would only bring the Catholic Church under the umbrella of the Anglican Communion, which is impossible.

As I keep looking at the Cardinal's words, my bewilderment grows. His words makes no real sense and have a tinge of racism to them, though some are denying this.

This morning, though, what strikes me most is that Cardinal Kaspar's words about the Africans have been blasted across the secular media wires. Why? Had Cardinal Burke, Muller, or Pell made the same comments, they would be rightly blasted left and right.

It seems to me that the only reason the secular is not covering Cardinal Kaspar's words is because his proposal regarding the reception of Holy Communion is precisely what the media wants to the Synod to decide. As such, they cannot shed a negative light on Cardinal Kaspar.

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