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Card. Kasper proposes midway of ‘rigorism’ and ‘laxism’ for Family


Vatican City, 11 March 2014: The Gospel of the Family is the title of a book, to be published this week in German and Italian. It features the reflection with which Cardinal Walter Kasper introduced the forthcoming Synod on the family to cardinals gathered with Pope Francis at February’s consistory.

In an interview with Vatican Radio, Cardinal Kasper said: my main intention was not to speak about divorced and remarried people but to speak about the Gospel of the family. I think the majority of young people want stable relationships, want to live in a family and therefore the Church has to help them so I wanted to build up a new, better, more deeper understanding of family life.

Then I spoke also about the situation when people fail with their family life and the Church has to be close to them, to help, support and encourage them and there my proposal (was) to find a way between ‘rigorism’ (strictness) – which cannot be the way of normal Christians – and a pure ‘laxism’ (leniency) I think this can be the only approach of the Church today.

I maintain the full teaching of the Church but the teaching has to be applied to concrete situations, as Jesus did it and as Pope Francis does it very often. The doctrine of the Church is not an ideology in the clouds but God wants to be present, close to his people.

It’s obvious if you see the answers to the questionnaire of the secretariat of the synod to see that there is a difficulty, an abyss….so the Church has to bridge this abyss. It does not mean pure appeasement policies, but the Church must explain in a new way what is family and matrimony in order to help people and at the same time remain faithful to the Gospel.

I do not like to speak of revolution….there were doctrines of the Holy Office before the (Vatican) Council against ecumenism, yet the Council found a way not to destroy or negate the doctrine, but to find ways to interpret it in an adequate way….and I ask myself why it could not be possible also with other doctrines.

Blessed John Henry Newman wrote a famous essay on listening to the faithful in matters of faith. Therefore we have to listen to people living family life – not just listen to people living in celibacy – both belong to the people of God, but the great majority are not these people.Source: VR Eng