The dispute between conservative Cardinal Pell and the more liberal German bishops broke out into the open yesterday, with the Germans saying they felt “dismay and sadness” that Cardinal Pell had fostered division in the Synod, reports Crux.
The German bishops favour a proposal put forth by German Cardinal Walter Kasper to allow divorced Catholics who remarried without an annulment of their first marriage to receive Communion, as determined on a case-by-case basis.
Cardinal Pell and other conservatives oppose the idea, fearing it will dilute the Church’s teaching that marriage is indissoluble.
German Cardinal Reinhard Marx said Cardinal Pell’s recent remarks that set up the disagreement as a battle between supporters of Cardinal Kasper and followers of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI was unhelpful and “contradicts the spirit of cooperation.”
Late Wednesday in Rome, a spokesman for Cardinal Pell told Crux he was “delighted to learn that Marx has explained that there’s no contrast between the Kasper camp and Benedict XVI,” calling it “a welcome surprise.”
The spokesman said Cardinal Pell added that “everyone was awaiting the recommendations on the Synod to the Holy Father with some interest.”
The spat came in the context of the release of reports from the Synod’s small-group sessions, clusters of bishops organised by language that discussed issues related to family life. An English-language group led by Irish Archbishop Eamon Martin summed up the general findings of the entire body: Division on hot-button issues.
On the Communion for divorced Catholics issue, “the vote was evenly divided,” the group reported.
Regarding pastoral support to gay and lesbian Catholics, the “group was also divided.”