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Cardinal Kasper says Pope Francis is launching a ‘new phase’ of Vatican II

By on Friday, 12 April 2013

Cardinal Walter Kasper (CNS)

Cardinal Walter Kasper (CNS)

Cardinal Walter Kasper, retired head of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has said that Pope Francis is beginning a “new phase” of the Second Vatican Council.

The cardinal made the case in an article in Italian in the Vatican newspaper L’Osservatore Romano. According to an English translation by the commentator John Thavis, the cardinal referred to the Pope’s comments about a Church “for the poor”, adding: “Pope Francis, from the first day of his pontificate, has given what I would call his prophetic interpretation of the Council, and has inaugurated a new phase of its reception. He has changed the agenda: at the top are the problems of the Southern hemisphere.”

Cardinal Kasper praised Benedict XVI for promoting a balanced view of the Second Vatican Council. He said it was wrong to see the Council as a disaster and assume “everything that happened after the Council also happened because of the Council”.

He said: “For most Catholics, the developments put in motion by the Council are part of the Church’s daily life. But what they are experiencing is not the great new beginning nor the springtime of the Church, which were expected at that time, but rather a Church that has a wintery look, and shows clear signs of crisis.”

He added that “the Church needs to take seriously the legitimate requests of the modern age. It needs to defend the faith against pluralism and postmodern relativism, as well as the fundamentalist tendencies that run from reason”.

The cardinal also said the global make-up of the Church had changed dramatically since the Council, with more than two-thirds of Catholics now living in the southern hemisphere.

  • Benedict Carter

    Clearly there would be some kind of time-lapse in any event, as with any human endeavour. No reaction of any seriousness is instantaneous.

    The Great Apostasy really got under way in the 1950′s amongst the clergy but can be traced back as far as they are concerned to the Modernists at the end of the 19th Century. It is demonic in origin and of course changes in society – most due to the Second World War and its aftermath – helped the process along.

    To that extent, Vatican II was the end rather than the beginning of a process; but for the ordinary layman, the process of rot and corruption and sacrilege commenced with the Council.

  • Jeffocks

    I hope the ‘new phase’ does not have to mean undoing the balance that Pope Benedict was establishing. I would agree that there needs to be a global focus on the poor and the consequences of the massive wealth inequalities between North and South which doesn’t do any of us any good. It is wrong economically, politically, socially as well as morally and Pope Francis is right to focus on it. But I think a focus on the poor in the southern hemisphere doesn’t mean we should ignore the crisis of the Church in Europe and some of the developed nations. Orthodox Churches have seen a 16% rise in the US and also Canada and a growing interest in Europe. Orthodox teachings and spirituality are appealing to many who have a thirst for engagement with the deep traditions of the Church and as enshrined in the mysteries of her sacramental life. This should also be the province of the Catholic Church in Europe. We should be fulfilling the need in Europe for deeper engagement through traditional spirituality, and, as Pope Benedict wanted study (bibles and catechisms in every home, lively study groups in every parish :) etc.) It is only in such activities that we find the resources to deal with the consequences of secularism and impoverishment as other have discussed here.

  • scary goat

    Yes, I agree, in your case it is about “the poor” and you don’t differentiate between modern/traditional but my point was that caring for the poor is not “the right” way to go and caring about liturgy is not “the wrong” way to go. The traditionalists are concerned that there is too much emphasis on “as long as we care for the poor nothing else matters too much” but to us it does matter and we feel that a false division is being made. The emphasis should always be on both. We are concerned that the issues surrounding the liturgy are likely to be sidelined while everyone is concentrating on “the poor”. We need both.

  • scary goat

    Our local SSPX place gets lots of French and Polish people.

  • scary goat

    Dr. Falk. I don’t think it’s really very useful hinting at who you might be or what you might know. Either tell us or don’t, it’s up to you, but hinting serves no purpose.

  • Julian Lord

    What has followed Vatican II is a collapse

    The crisis that you refer to commenced before Vatican II — and IMO, it started in the 15th Century.

  • scary goat

    I’m inclined to think we have a chicken and egg situation here. Which came first? Or are they inseparably intertwined? I don’t think VII destroyed the world….more like it refused to save it. The world was probably going that way anyway, but IMHO the Church needs to stand firm and offer an alternative to the world. I hear some people saying that numbers in the Church have increased since VII….but I would have thought there is a question of quality/quantity. (and I don’t mean that as a form of snobbery). There were discussions further up the thread about numbers who aren’t flocking to SSPX. I’m actually not very sure that it’s about numbers. I would have thought the Church is what it is….and people have free will to accept or reject. Moving the goalposts to make it more “user-friendly” means that a lot of people may well be buying into something without really understanding what it is they are buying into….and those who do understand are likely to be alienated by a “watered down” version. It all sounds a bit like an organisation on a PR mission. For me, the Church needs to be clear….and people need to have the choice.

  • Julian Lord

    The last paragraph of this is very interesting…..isn’t that pretty much what SSPX say?

    It’s a more objectively orthodox presentation of the same fundamental concerns, yes.

  • scary goat

    Good points, Jeffocks.

  • Neocat

    Without being pedantic Benedict, these people who attend SSPX churches are by definition not Catholic, they are still lapsed as they are not attending a Roman Catholic Church. I presume the attendees know this. I would not like to give a false impression.
    Also I looked up where my nearest SSPX church was, it’s in Gateshead, a very long way from me. With such a huge catchment area to bring people ( people who are undoubtedly very passionate) in from, I would be worried if I could not get a reasonable attendance.
    However, as I will say again, my local Latin Mass gets about 40 people from a whole city, my local Catholic Church gets a few hundred from its parish.

  • scary goat

    Well, yes, there’s that too.

  • scary goat

    ps. As I also commented on the Luther thread (in response to a later reply) In the parable of the prodigal son, yes the father gives his son a huge welcome when he returns….but no where in that story does the father go crawling after his wayward son. On that thread it was relevant to the issue of protestantism….here it may also to be relevant to the Church and the world.

  • John rice

    Benedict Carter you comment is spot on and it is a great shame that the Catholic media and our priests and bishops who know what you say is true feel compelled to continue the Orwellian double speak that is the essence of the fanatical control freaks of V11. It will not be until the last of the V11 ageing hippies is sealed in their coffins that truth will once more be heard.

  • An onlooker

    Is that the royal ‘we’?

  • Benedict Carter

    Not Catholic?

    !!!! They recently celebrated Mass in St. Peter’s. !!!!

  • Benedict Carter


  • scary goat

    Obviously not. Is that supposed to be funny?

  • Adrian Johnson

    I can say the same about the reverent, theologically rich and beautiful liturgy of the Anglican Ordinariate. It fosters a dynamically contemplative take on the Church and understanding “the signs of the times”

  • Adrian Johnson

    Unless people like Benedict Carter alert me to prelates who teach and model heresy, I am so temperamentally trusting that I tend to obey and be uncritical of them unless I get “a bad feeling” that they’re “not kosher.’ (Whereupon, i check what they teach against the catechism.)

    Benedict Carter practices what Our Lord preached: to be “Innocent as doves, but wise as serpents’ because we need to be alert to “bad shepherds” who “teach another Christ” than in the Gospels. To condemn bad shepherds’ teachings is only to warn people like me not to be misled by them; it is not to condemn them personally–only God can do that.

  • samhille

    Our Lady warned all! She told of the evil spirits and evil human philosophies that would lead to the destruction of souls: LaSallete! 100% truth! Mr. Carter, ONWARD CATHOLIC SOLDIER!

  • Adrian Johnson

    If I remember correctly, Thomas Aquinas said that heresy was a worse sin than murder for exactly the reason Parasum gives. And I ain’t gonna argue with Aquinas.

  • Neocat

    Did I miss the reconciliation ? Are the SSPX now in communion with Rome ?
    I have today read that SSPX Priests are valid, which creates a interestingly legalistic grey area, so I may have pedantically set my own legalistic trap on the lapsed issue.
    However the SSPX are in Limbo, and may be the next Old Catholic Church, even Anglicans used to Catholic before a disagreement, and can even claim apastolic succession strictly speaking ( so they claim ).

  • Neocat

    By the way, did you have a comment on my observations on the the SSPX little big takeover ? I think your over egging your claims,

  • James M

    It’s amusing, in a rather depressing way, that the Vatican is getting round to what Abp Lefebvre said many years ago – and was pilloried for saying. I suppose shamefully late is better than never.

  • Donna G

    I was amused to read your generalisations about “the southern hemisphere Catholics” and to find out that I suffer from poverty and injustice. Where I live in the southern hemisphere, the primary problem is spiritual poverty. A church devoted to addressing poverty, inequality and injustice won’t do (and hasn’t done) anything to help that.

  • PaulF

    This is so right on the mark that I couldn’t possibly improve on it. Apart from your last sentence I support everything you say here. Vatican 2 praised the spirits of Antichrist, the spirit of the world that rejects the truth about Jesus, and you cannot do that without drawing a biblical curse on yourself. See the words of the prophet Daniel to Belshazzar after the hand wrote on the wall (Daniel 5:23ff).
    When our pastors correct this and return to praising the true God only and never praising the religions of Anthichrist, then you will see the opposite result, the explosion of the abundant blessing of God which Jehoshaphat and his people experienced in 2 Chronicles 20:21ff.
    Praise God, his Holy Spirit will see to it that our pastors soon lead us into this new phase of healing and blessing in our church.

  • Peter

    Of course, there are wealthy developed parts of the southern hemisphere and there are undeveloped poverty-stricken parts of the northern hemisphere. Southern hemisphere is more of a metaphor like the North-South divide in global equality, while there are many rich in the South and many poor in the North.

    Northern hemisphere or southern, the bulk of those who call themselves Christians suffer in one way or another, either through poverty or oppression or both.

    If those who able to, try to help their brothers and sisters around the world in need, become aware of their plight and express their solidarity with them, this will bring its own spiritual blessing a thousandfold, satisfying all or most of the spiritual hunger in those communities that give.

  • Peter
  • Peter

    A visiting African priest once said to congregation of a parish in the South of England that he could feed his own parish community for a year with the food he sees thrown away in the parish refuse bins.

    How condescending is it to recount that?

  • Peter
  • jdumon

    Card. Kasper should be cautious: If Pope Francis twice asked the portuguese bishops to consecrate his pontificate to Our Lady of Fatima, certainly the outcomes of that consecration never will be those he is expecting from a “new phase of Vatican II”.
    In fact the Fatima’s messages of our Lady were quite the opposite of the council Vatican II with the sad and rotten fruits we reaped until now.
    In the case the Pope Francis who just took the helm of the Church under our Lady’s control, would steer in a wrong direction, She will correct him into the right bearing.

  • scary goat

    Hi Peter. That was quite nice actually. I am guessing that’s the entrance hymn? Could you provide a link to the complete Mass…I would be interested to watch it. A couple of points: that’s hardly what springs to mind when you say tribal dancing….I can see that, as an entrance hymn for example that is quite appropriate to their culture…also when we are talking about “traditional” please note the style of dress…all the girls have skirts below the knee etc. I think I prefer that (in that culture) to “shine Jesus shine” and hot-pants! (in the west).

    I can’t help wondering if those people might not equally like a TLM if it were available to them? And I can’t help thinking that while that may well be appropriate in their culture, and it looks quite respectful in terms of that culture, still many countries have a long history of the TLM and there was no need to change that where it was accepted as the norm.

    I am interested to see the whole Mass, because while that is fine as an entrance hymn, it is insufficient to form an opinion on the whole situation. The reason those of a more traditional mind have a bit of a problem with the NO is that reverence and understanding of what the Mass is has been undermined. As others have mentioned, there have been abuses (and the NO may be inclined to be open to abuse). There is not *necessarily* a problem with the NO if it is done faithfully and reverently.

    The traditional view tends to be “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it”. It is difficult to know how those people might have responded to a TLM if what they have been given is the “fixed” version. I am not *necessarily* against that form of the Mass….I don’t feel that the small clip provided is sufficient.

    Thanks :-)

  • Alphonsus_Jr

    Essential reading:

    The Catechism of the Crisis in the Church by Fr. Matthias Gaudron

  • James Callender

    Keep taking the medication!

  • scary goat

    It’s not condescending. It is a statement of fact and a comment on the greed and wastefulness of people here.

  • scary goat

    Not so sure about that one….it’s a bit difficult to understand what’s going on. Again everyone very respectfully dressed…the dancing doesn’t seem too over the top….there may not be anything wrong with it as such….but would there be anything wrong with a TLM either? Have they ever had a chance to experience one? Is all the “dancing” really necessary? People do learn and adapt from culture to culture (otherwise they wouldn’t be there at all)…how do we know they wouldn’t adapt to a TLM? Why are we making that assumption?

  • Peter

    Precisely; it is neither condescending nor arrogant nor patronising to tell things as they are, which is that there are shameful imbalances in the global Catholic family.

    If we call ourselves Catholics and claim to belong the global family of the universal Church, we should not tolerate these extremes of deprivation just as we would not tolerate them in our own families.

  • scary goat

    Ok. I half agree with you here. I don’t think “extremes of deprivation” is necessarily the case. I often use similar statements to my own children….not because people in Jordan (where I lived for many years) are extremely deprived, but because I don’t like the casual attitude people have to waste here. Yes, I agree with you that we are wasteful and greedy and it’s disgusting.

    I still don’t think simply providing money (although I do that as well) is the answer to major political problems, or religious ones. In Jordan, although the people are poorer and not so wasteful as here, their spiritual health, family values, community spirit etc. are far far better. Education standards are higher, religious observance is higher, and it is noticeable that people are more cheerful and less stressed. Yes they are (on average) materially poorer than here, but there are vast social problems here that are rare to find in Jordan.

    Peter, I am not disagreeing with you about wealth/poverty issues….I just don’t think that’s the be all and end all. I loved Pope Benedict’s teaching on conversion of the heart. To me this is the MOST important thing…because everything else springs from that. With conversion of the heart we will all try to make it a better world for everyone…that’s different from having an “agenda”.

  • Joshua Speed

    Change the Liturgy and you change everything.
    That is truth in stone. The proof is what happened to the Catholic Church after Vatican II–the transformation from Catholic to Protestant.
    Only the Orthodox Church has remained faithful to Tradition.

  • Joshua Speed

    Not the Holy Spirit but another spirit, and not a good one. Smoke.

  • Joshua Speed

    The average Catholic parish Mass in 2013: lay ministers, Protestant hymns, bad vestments, guitars, watered down ceremony. No wonder the churches are empty.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    Predominant passion, what? But we need to pray,let us all, please.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    Criticism and Prophecy are WELCOME. They help to build up humanity in some way or other. BUT the CRITICS and PROPHETS must be little humble knowing they too have feet of CLAY., and that people may start asking for their CREDENTIALS.

  • Thomas Poovathinkal SSP

    Good words. THANKS.

    But left to myself I am an ignorant man. Once again thanks.

  • Sheryl Bordelon Deshotel

    Not to worry. The pope is infallible.

  • James M

    If they are valid – why was Abp. Lefebvre criticised for voicing them ? Ther is no way the Church can avoid condemning itself: either it was deaf then, or it is guilty of human respect now. Either way, it is behaving in a grossly immoral, even deceitful, fashion. And it is practicing relatativism. At best this is proof of relativism. It is impossible to respect the V2 Church & its apparatchiks for such cowardice, self-delusion, and dishonesty. Your admission is a very powerful accusation of the V2 Church. It really is as Soviet as it seems – no wonder, given its fornicating with Communism.

  • BallzCola

    There is a culture of hostility among traddies to the Church! Go to any traditionalist blog (Rorate Caeli for example) and read the comments. The venom and hostility towards regular Catholics, the Pope and the clergy is enough to make one sick. The cult-like behaviour and constant whining of victimhood is enough to turn anyone off Catholicism.

    And why should the clergy encourage a form of the Mass (the TLM) adored by fascists, conspiracy-theorists, crypto-nazies and cultists?

  • Terry Lynn Madeleine Dillon

    Is this to be Protestant and Muslim Fundamentalism Papa Francesco is going after, perhaps?

  • Chris DesRochers

    I feel blessed to observe mass with the Oblates of the Virgin Mary.