A new book on the family by Cardinal Walter Kasper, expanding on the ideas that he explored in a speech to the February meeting of the College of Cardinals, will soon be published in German and Italian editions.
In his lengthy address to the consistory, looking forward to the October meeting of the Synod of Bishops, which will be dedicated to the family, Cardinal Kasper suggested a new pastoral approach to Catholics who are divorced and remarried. The German cardinal told Vatican Radio that he introduced the subject with the encouragement of Pope Francis, who “wanted an open discussion about an urgent problem.”
Cardinal Kasper’s address was not made public, and reporters received only a short summary. But The Gospel of the Family, the new volume by the former president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, offers a fuller treatment of the theme.
“I maintain the full teaching of the Church, but the teaching has to be applied to concrete situations,” Cardinal Kasper said in his Vatican Radio interview. He explained that the Church must find ways to reach out to divorced and remarried Catholics, “to help, support, and encourage them.” His own suggestion, he said, was an attempt to avoid both “rigorism” and “laxism” in that effort.