“This pope is not a liberal pope. He is a radical pope! … This pope goes back to the gospel. … I told the pope, ‘Holy Father, there will be a controversy [after the consistory]. … The pope laughed and told him, ‘That’s good, we should have that!’ … I do not know if my proposals will be acceptable…. I made them in agreement with the pope, I did not do them just myself. I spoke beforehand with the pope, and he agreed.” …
Kasper said he was confident that the process of debate that Francis had launched on the topic of family life and sexuality would in the end produce some significant reforms, in part “because there are very high expectations.”
He noted that the church has often changed, or “developed,” over the centuries, and quite recently in the 1960s when, for example, the Second Vatican Council reversed long-standing teachings against religious freedom and dialogue with other believers.
Kasper reiterates that he’s not advocating a change in the church’s dogma on the sanctity of marriage, but a change in the “pastoral practice” about who can receive Communion. “To say we will not admit divorced and remarried people to Holy Communion? That’s not a dogma [noumenon]. That’s an application [phenomenon] of a dogma in a concrete pastoral practice. This can be changed.” [Behold the rank Kantianism!]
Kasper said it is the voice of the faithful that has made the difference. “The strongest support comes from the people, and you cannot overlook that,” he said.
“If what people are doing and what the church is teaching, if there is an abyss, that doesn’t help the credibility of the church,” he said. “One has to change.”
Centuries ago, the Arians were not demanding a change in dogma, either, opting instead to disseminate their heresy through lived worship and pastoral changes. Where traditional liturgy easily spoke of Christ as God, the Arians preferred to tone down such abstruse language, speaking of Christ as the most Godlike creature [homoiousios]. Thus, based on popular expectations and customs, it was precisely by challenging and altering “merely disciplinary” matters in the liturgy–or as Kasper would say, changing “concrete pastoral practice”–that Arianism took root. Don’t be deceived: we’re enduring the same kind of assault on a different front.