Oct 21, 2014
When the history of this year's Synod on the Family is written, there will be any number of people and ideas that will be seen as winners or losers in the process. But of all the synod's surprises, Cardinal Walter Kasper's collapse of credibility stands in a category of its own.
For the second time in as many pontificates, Cardinal Kasper embarrassed not only himself, but the pope as well. This time, it seems unlikely that his progressive reputation can be salvaged.
Four years ago, just before Pope Benedict XVI's trip to England, Kasper said in an interview: "When you land at Heathrow Airport, you sometimes might think you have landed in a third world country." Outrage ensued, and Kasper quickly bowed out of the trip, with health issues being the official explanation.
Now he's done it again. He told veteran Vatican journalist Edward Pentin last week that at the Synod on the Family, "[The Africans] should not tell us too much what we have to do." He also said: "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."