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WASHINGTON, D.C., June 5, 2015 (ChurchMilitant.com) - German Cardinal Walter Kasper is denying the pope ever accepted his proposal to allow the divorced and civilly remarried to receive Holy Communion.
In an interview with EWTN's Raymond Arroyo that aired Thursday night, Kasper backtracked on his earlier statements.
ARROYO: But you do understand, when a Churchman like yourself, a theologian, an esteemed international figure, a Curial official says: "Here is my proposal, and the Pope agrees with me" that does cause some …
CARDINAL KASPER: Well, this I did not say.
ARROYO: Well you did say, and the quote is: "Clearly this is what he wants," and the Pope has approved of my proposal. Those were the quotes from the time …
CARDINAL KASPER: No … he did not approve my proposal. The Pope wanted that I put the question [forward], and, afterwards, in a general way, before all the cardinals, he expressed his satisfaction with my talk. But not the end, not in the … I wouldn’t say he approved the proposal, no, no, no.
For decades, Kasper has promoted the possibility of relaxing Church discipline on the sacraments by allowing those in invalid, non-sacramental marriages to receive Holy Communion, contrary to longstanding practice, which allows only those in the state of grace to receive the Body and Blood of Our Lord. As Scripture notes, those who leave sacramental marriages and civilly remarry are committing adultery, a grave sin, and are therefore in a state of mortal sin and forbidden to receive Communion.
Some clergy have explained that allowing those in adulterous unions to receive Communion would essentially destroy the doctrine of the Eucharist and dilute the meaning of Holy Matrimony; therefore changing the discipline is an impossibility.
Last year, after Kasper put forth his proposal as keynote speaker at the Extraordinary Consistory of Cardinals in February 2014, the Pope praised his talk as "serene theology," and had it translated into multiple languages. Kasper also offered various interviews in which he indicated the Pope agreed with his position, leading many to believe the Holy Father would welcome this radical change in Church discipline.
After Kasper made his racist remarks about African bishops — for which he received a great deal of criticism — and was then caught lying about it, he seems to have fallen out of favor with the Holy Father, who appears to be distancing himself from the German prelate.
Kasper's latest remarks reveal a marked loss of confidence in the Pope's attitude toward Kasper and his proposal.