Kasper: “The pope is not a liberal. He is a radical.”

The heart of our pope is focused on the center of the beatitudes: “Blessed are those who are merciful…”


Greetings…I agree completely! The Sermon on the Mount for me stands out as the foundation of the Church!

Can anyone tell me what the Pope actually said that makes him such a liberal??? I tend to agree that Pope Francis is a radical in that he is focusing on love above everything else, on mercy and on going out and bringing the Church’s teaching to the city. I believe this is radical, not because it is a new teaching of the Church, but because it has not been our focus for some time. Nothing of what I have heard from the Pope indicates anything liberal? Someone please point me in the direction of this news if I am wrong.

You are not wrong.

Just days before the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops opens its annual fall meeting, German Cardinal Walter Kasper, often called the pope’s theologian, had a not-too-subtle message for the American church.

Enough said. It seems he is coming down hard on an American electorate which overwhelmingly just voted for a government not having its top priorities immigration reform and fighting poverty.

It’s natural Huffington Post would be all over it.

The origin of the word radical is “forming the root; inherent.” In this sense, I believe Pope Francis is radical; but not according to the meaning the word has taken on, that is, revolutionary. There is nothing revolutionary about caring for the poor: it is inherent to Jesus’ teaching as well as the Hebrew Bible.

Right. Radical is a little bit ambiguous. The Tea Party had been labelled radical by many as well.

Same article was already posted here:


Reproducing the short excerpts given of Cardinal Kasper’s speech:

Pope Francis wants a “missionary church” with an open door, not “a self-centered, self-pitying church immersed in its own suffering.”

Not everyone sees Francis as “the beginning of a new spring in the church,” said Kasper. “Every pope will have his opponents and enemies.”

“The pope is not a liberal. He is a radical.” By radical, he means returning to the origins of a church rooted in mercy, said the cardinal, author of a new book, “Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life.”

he described Francis as “a pope of surprises” and “a Jesuit through and through” with “a holy impatience with our divisions.”

“the churches are too wrapped up in their own concerns. … The church cannot be self-centered, revolving around itself, but a church on the move,”

These affirmations are susceptible of a number of interpretations.

What is a ‘missionary church’? The Church has always been missionary.

What does “self-centred, self pitying…immersed in its own suffering” mean? As far as I can see, pretty much anything you like.

“a holy impatience with our divisions” - what divisions is he referring to? Divisions between the denominations? Between ‘progressive’ and’ conservative’ Catholics? Who knows?

How does the Church “revolve around itself?”

For a prelate who got a medal for “excellence in scholarship and leadership in religious studies”, this is rather woolly language.

What some people mean by “mercy” is doing evil that good may result: thus the term “mercy killing.” Thus the act of giving Communion to couples living in mortal sin, and that of blessing same-sex unions, are called “merciful” even though they do great harm to those involved, not to mention the grievous offense against God.

Well said. The Holy Father just seems to me to be calling on Catholics to refocus. Instead of focusing so much on just a couple of the social issue teachings that has been the focus for some time now. As I search forums such as this one I see a lot of discussion topics about abortion and homosexuality/SSM.

Yeah, you never hear Pope Francis and The Tea Party used in the same sentence…thankfully!

The problem is that a lot of people disagree with the Church on the sinful acts of abortion, premarital sex, etc, and a lot of these people are partaking in these things. I think we need to emphasize that these acts are wrong, not de-emphasize focusing on these things.

The percentage of Catholics who disagree with the Church’s infallible teachings is too high. If we don’t focus on these issues, how will they know what the Church has always taught and will taught?

None of which Francis supports. Anyone who says he does is attacking a straw man. Nor will it ever come to that.

Honestly, I’m glad Francis is calling us to refocus, like SyNoe said. We’ve beaten the dead horse of abortion and marriage into a maggot-infested pulp.

I was so relieved when Francis told the faithful to put those issues on the back burner (not that I support changing doctrine, mind you). I’m just sick of us being the Church of anti-this, that, and the other thing.

I’m tired of my fellow Catholics (metaphorically) masturbating over how righteous they think they are, and how persecuted we are by the leftists, hedonists, and nihilists (if we told a Christian in Iraq that we’re being “persecuted”, his response would be, “that’s cute. My daughter was just raped right before having her throat cut with a broken bottle”.)

And all this hooplah about Cardinal Burke’s “exile” to Malta? Give me a freakin’ break. I live on the other side of the planet. That decision will affect me when pigs fly.

Francis said at the beginning of his papacy that the Church needs to stop navel-gazing. And I agree. He has helped me realize that life in Christ does not mean having a lock-step, my-way-or-the-highway attitude that ostracizes anyone who expresses independent thought.

Sure, Benedict XVI was a great theologian, but under him the hierarchy had grown sclerotic and complacent. He just didn’t have the management skills. I’m happy that God has given us Francis. Anyone who labels him a liberal or a modernist or whatever is ignoring the full scope of his papacy.

:thumbsup: Everything in your post so so very well said. I would think all faithful Catholics should be happy God called Francis to the papacy. It must have meant God saw the Church needed a refocus and needed the voice of Francis and his skills to lead it at this time in its history.

All that said, I am not a liberal or a modernist by any stretch of the imagination. I would defend the Church’s most controversial teachings to the death. All I’m saying is that we need to give it a rest.

The Pope may have put a positive spin on it, but he’s still talking about abortion and marriage…A LOT. Still the same focus, just different angle.

I am well aware of that. You just don’t hear about it because it doesn’t fit the narrative the media wants.

And you have no idea how long I’ve had that rant bottled up inside. Felt so good to write that, even if only a few people read it. :choocho:

You’ll have to ask the Holy Father. My guess would be though he would tell you by putting those issues on the backburner, doesn’t mean you are not a child of the Church. In fact he has assured all of us that he is a son of the Church. But what the faithful believe on abortion and on what constitutes marriage have already been emphasized so much for quite some time now that I think people know the Church opposes abortion in all cases and opposes SSM. And people/Catholics shacking up or engaging in premarital sex know what the Church teaches about those things. They’d have to almost be living under a rock not to since the focus has been on those things for so long. As Jack said, it’s not necessarily about changing doctrine on any of this. But about tone (gentler) and what God is leading the successor to St Peter to call Catholics to focus on now.

Congratulations on getting that one off your chest! I AM a liberal and NOT a Catholic or Christian. Still, I would not want the Pope to change Church doctrine (not that he could) since I feel some things in the Church must remain inviolate or else, eventually, nearly everything will disentangle. I feel the same about my own religion even though I am not an Orthodox Jew.

DISCLAIMER: The views and opinions expressed in these forums do not necessarily reflect those of Catholic Answers. For official apologetics resources please visit www.catholic.com.