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Cardinal Walter Kasper (CNS/Paul Haring)

Cardinal Walter Kasper warned the leaders of the German synodal path initiative that their plans were “overshooting the target” for synodality and will not “end well”. Source: The Tablet.

Cardinal Kasper, a former president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, said there was no legitimate reason for establishing a “synodal council” where bishops and lay Catholics share decision-making, as the initiative intends.

In an interview with theological journal Communio last week, he cited the Vatican’s sharp criticisms of the plans.

“Simply to continue now with this project despite Rome’s criticism and create a fait accompli can only be understood as a defiant challenge and cannot end well,” he said.

“Such a synodal council would, without doubt, mean violating sacramental structure and would limit or even do away with bishops’ leadership authority. It would have greater power than the bishops conference, which – according to the present code of canon law with few exceptions – is an advisory body,” he said.

“I therefore cannot see how when one is ordained bishop one can publicly take on an office and the duties that come with it and then give them up.”

He said he was open to the idea of setting up a “kind of administrative jurisdiction or a complaint office”, and that there was nothing to prevent the further development if regular advisory talks between the bishops’ conference and the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK).

“Things only become problematic when a synodal council lays down that a bishop is canonically or morally bound to do something.”

The ZdK vice-president, Thomas Söding, was quick to reply to Cardinal Kasper’s criticism.

Writing in Communio, Mr Söding said that a bishop’s rights were in no way restricted by the council and the council project was “completely on track” with Pope Francis’ reforms.


German synodal path ‘cannot end well’ warns Kasper (By Christa Pongratz-Lippitt, The Tablet)