Cardinal Kasper should apologise for dismissive remarks about African bishops, says pro-family coalition

ROME, 15 October 2014: Cardinal Walter Kasper should apologise for dismissive remarks, made in an interview published today, about African bishops and their place in the Synod on the Family.

The cardinal said that the African bishops “should not tell us too much what we have to do”. (See Notes for Editors below). Cardinal Kasper was speaking about the opposition by African bishops to the homosexual agenda. This agenda was inserted into the Synod mid-way report, released on Monday to widespread alarm. (See “Pro-family Catholics reject Synod mid-way report, calling it ‘a betrayal’“)

Maria Madise, Voice of the Family’s coordinator, said: “Cardinal Kasper should apologise for his dismissive remarks about African bishops. His remarks are patronising and discriminatory. Cardinal Kasper’s remarks are similar to remarks he made in 2010, when he said that “when you land at Heathrow [airport] you think at times you have landed in a Third World country”. (See “Pope aide pulls out of trip after Third World jibe“, BBC, 15 September 2010)

Miss Madise added: “African bishops have equal status in the Synod and have every right to say that the universal Church should maintain its opposition to the homosexual agenda.”

In June, John Smeaton, Voice of the Family’ co-founder, was given a standing ovation by Nigeria’s bishops for an address praising them and their country for its pro-family culture. Mr Smeaton said: “Bishops around the world should follow the Nigerian bishops’ lead and speak out for strong policies against the subversion of the truth and meaning of human sexuality.”

Notes for Editors:

From the interview with Cardinal Walter Kasper by Edward Pentin, Zenit, 15 October 2014:

[Kasper]: The problem, as well, is that there are different problems of different continents and different cultures. Africa is totally different from the West. Also Asian and Muslim countries, they’re very different, especially about gays. You can’t speak about this with Africans and people of Muslim countries. It’s not possible. It’s a taboo. For us, we say we ought not to discriminate, we don’t want to discriminate in certain respects.

[Pentin]: But are African participants listened to in this regard?

[Kasper]: No, the majority of them [who hold these views won’t speak about them].

[Pentin]: They’re not listened to?

[Kasper]: In Africa of course [their views are listened to], where it’s a taboo.

[Pentin]: What has changed for you, regarding the methodology of this synod?

[Kasper]: I think in the end there must be a general line in the Church, general criteria, but then the questions of Africa we cannot solve. There must be space also for the local bishops’ conferences to solve their problems but I’d say with Africa it’s impossible [for us to solve]. But they should not tell us too much what we have to do.

About Voice of the Family:

Voice of the Family can be contacted by email to enquiry@voiceofthefamily.info or by telephone on +39 33 833 09443 (Italian mobile) or +44 (0)20 7820 3148 (UK landline)

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Voice of the Family is an international lay coalition of major pro-life and pro-family organizations that has formed to offer expertise and resources to leaders of the church, the media, NGOs, and governments before, during, and after the Catholic Church’s Synod on the Family. The Synod will be held from October 5 to 19 in Rome.

Voice of the Family consists of 18 member organizations from nine nations on five continents. Members include:

The following truths are at the heart of Voice of the Family’s work:

  • Sacramental marriage, binding parents together in an indissoluble union, is the greatest protector of children both born and unborn.
  • The artificial separation of the unitive and procreative dimensions of the sexual act is a major catalyst of the culture of death.
  • Parents are the primary educators of their children and it is through the education and formation of parents, and future parents, that the culture of life will be built.

Voice of the Family has published a position paper for the Synod which in summary says:

  • The Extraordinary Synod on the Family has been called to respond to the “widespread cultural, social and spiritual crisis”, which threatens the family today.
  • The Synod provides an important opportunity to take concrete steps to address this crisis and give renewed impetus to the “New Evangelisation”.
  • If the Synod is to be effective it is essential that the teaching of the Church is affirmed clearly and without ambiguity.
  • All proposals which result from the Synod must be founded on the truths of the natural moral law and Divine Revelation.

Our position paper can also be read in: