Culture Wars Feature Article

A Report on the Sodomy Synod

by Robert Kempson



The Extraordinary Synod on the Family, held in Rome from October 5-19, has proved to be the most controversial gathering of Catholic bishops since the Second Vatican Council. It has seen open conflict within the College of Cardinals and between bishops. The conflict has been centered on questions surrounding human sexuality but stems from a deeper rift between those who strive to be faithful to the natural law and the teaching of the Catholic Church and those who strive to distort that teaching to bring it into conformity with the revolutionary principles of modernity.


The lead-up to the synod, and the synod itself, were dominated by the proposal made by Walter Cardinal Kasper that validly married Catholics who had divorced and entered into an invalid civil union could be admitted to Holy Communion without amendment of life.

On 17th March 2013, just four days after his election, Pope Francis gave lavish praise to Kasper’s book, Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life, during his first Angelus address:

In these days, I have been able to read a book by a cardinal—Cardinal Kasper, a talented theologian, a good theologian—on mercy. And it did me such good, that book, but don't think that I'm publicizing the books of my cardinals. That is not the case! But it did me such good, so much good ... Cardinal Kasper said that hearing the word mercy changes everything.[1]

The book in question, Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life, reflects Kasper’s longstanding opposition to the doctrine of the immutability of God. In 1967 he had written:

The God who is enthroned over the world and history as a changeless being is an offence to man. One must deny him for man’s sake, because he claims for himself the dignity and honour that belong by right to man…. We must resist this God, however, not only for man’s sake, but also for God’s sake. He is not the true God at all, but rather a wretched idol. For a God who is only alongside of and above history, who is not himself history, is a finite God. If we call such a being God, then for the sake of the Absolute we must become absolute atheists. Such a God springs from a rigid worldview; he is the guarantor of the status quo and the enemy of the new.[2]

In his 2013 work Mercy he pursues the same arguments in more guarded language:

On the basis of its metaphysical starting point, dogmatic theology has difficulty speaking of a compassionate God. It has to exclude the possibility that God suffers with his creatures in a passive sense; it can only speak of pity and mercy, in the active sense that God opposes the suffering of his creatures and provides them assistance. The question that remains is whether this satisfactorily corresponds to the biblical understanding of God, who suffers with his creatures, who as misericors has a heart with the poor and for the poor. Can a God who is conceived so apathetically be really sympathetic? Pastorally, this conception of God is a catastrophe. For a so abstractly conceived God appears to most people to be very distant from their personal situation.[3]

In 1967 Kasper explicitly linked the immutability of God with “a rigid worldview.” It is precisely because God is immutable, Kasper argues, that He “is the guarantor of the status quo and the enemy of the new.” If the revolution against the divine order of creation that was proceeding rapidly in the world was to triumph also in the Church it was necessary that the immutability of God be denied. If the divine nature itself could be made subject to change then everything else, including the moral law, must also be considered mutable. Kasper therefore sought to enchain God to “history” and therefore to “progress” and “evolution”. This error, repeated in essence in his 2013 book, lies at the heart of the whole “progressive” agenda at the synod.

The praise given by the Holy Father to this book did not go unnoticed. Kasper himself shared a revealing anecdote during a public interview at Fordham University in May 2014. He related that after Pope Francis had publicly praised his book an “older cardinal” had insisted: "Holy Father, you should not recommend this book! There are many heresies in it!" The Pope smiled as he told Kasper the story, and reassured him "It goes in one ear and out the other!"[4]


On 8th October 2013 Pope Francis announced that two synods would be held to discuss “The Pastoral Challenges of the Family in the Context of Evangelization.” The first synod would be held from 5-19 October 2014. On 26th October 2013 the Synod Secretariat sent a questionnaire to all bishops’ conferences inviting responses to questions relating to marriage, the family and human sexuality.

Just three days earlier Gerhard Cardinal Müller, Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had published an article in L’Osservatore Romano explaining why it is impossible for there to be any change in the teaching of the Church on the admission of the divorced and ‘remarried’ to Holy Communion.[5] This is clearly an indication that Müller was concerned about the agenda for the synod.

Müller’s fears were more than confirmed on 7th November 2014 when Reinhard Cardinal Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising and member of Pope Francis’s inner council of eight cardinals asserted that Cardinal Müller wouldn’t be able to “stop the debate.” He asserted that “at the Synod everything will be discussed” and that “at the moment it is not possible to say what the results of the debate will be.”[6] The German bishops have a long history of advocating for the admission of the divorced and ‘remarried’ to Holy Communion. A group of bishops, including Kasper, had made such a proposal in 1993.

Many commentators have drawn a connection between these proposals and the notorious ‘Church Tax’, the Kirchensteuer, which all German Catholics are obliged to pay. Those who refuse to pay the tax are excluded from the sacraments, except in danger of death. On the other hand paying the Kirchensteuer brings the right to participation in life of the Church. Naturally, if the ‘remarried’ are excluded from Holy Communion the likelihood that they will pay the tax is also diminished. As the number of practising Catholic continues to decline the German Church faces financial collapse. In has been suggested that the German hierarchies desire to have the divorced and remarried “fully participating in the life of the Church,” as Kasper puts it, is connected to a desire that they continue paying the Church tax.

In this connection it is worth noting that in March 2014 Archbishop George Ganswein, Private Secretary to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, gave an interview to Cologne radio station Domradio in which he accused the German hierarchy of putting pressure on Rome. For the German bishops he said, “Germany is the most important country in the world for the Vatican.”[7]

Any doubts about the purpose of the synod should have been brought to an end when Cardinal Kasper addressed a consistory that was specifically held to discuss the synod. Kasper, the only Cardinal invited to give such an address, used the opportunity to propose the admission of the divorced and ‘remarried’ to Holy Communion without amendment of life.

His speech was followed by a short discussion during which it seems that over four-fifths of the Cardinals present spoke against Kasper, who responded to the hostile reaction by stressing that he was acting for the Pope and concluded his remarks by thanking “the Holy Father for his friendly words and for his confidence in having entrusted me with this report.” [8]

Fr Federico Lombardi, the Pope’s press officer, told the press that the Pope had called on the Cardinals to deal with the problems facing the family without “casuistry” and that Kasper’s speech was “in great harmony” with the words of the Pope.[9]

The next day the Pope once again lavished praise on Kasper: “Yesterday, before falling asleep, though not to fall asleep, I read, or re-read, Cardinal Kasper’s remarks. I would like to thank him, because I found a deep theology; and serene thoughts in theology. It is nice to read serene theology. It did me well and I had an idea, and excuse me if I embarrass your Eminence, but the idea is: this is called doing theology while kneeling. Thank you. Thank you.”[10]

One week later, on 28th February 2014, Pope Francis preached against “casuistry” in the context of marriage and divorce:

And this is the trap: behind casuistry, behind the casuistic way of thinking, there is always a trap. Always! Against people, against us, and against God, always! ‘But is it lawful to do this? To put aside one’s wife?’ And Jesus responded asking them what the law said and explaining why Moses had instituted that law in that way... when a man leaves his father and mother and joins himself to a woman, when he makes himself one flesh with her and goes forward and when this love fails, because it fails so many times, we have to feel the pain of the failure, we have to accompany those persons who have experienced this failure of their own love. Not to condemn them! To walk with them! And to not take a casuistic attitude towards their situation.[11]


Kasper’s speech was published a few weeks after the February consistory under the title The Gospel of the Family, with the Pope’s words of praise on the back cover. Around the same time a collection of extracts from homilies of Pope Francis was published under the title The Church of Mercy. The foreword was written by the dissenting Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Cardinal Nichols. His predecessor at Westminster, Cormac Cardinal Murphy-O’Connor, reputed to be a close advisor of Pope Francis, told Vatican Insider on 3rd March: “when the cardinals elected Bergoglio they did not know what a Pandora’s box they were opening, they did not know what a steely character he was, they did not know that he was a Jesuit in very deep ways, they did not know who they were electing.” Asked if he foresees a change in the Church’s teaching on the divorced and ‘remarried,’ Murphy-O’Connor replied: “The doctrine of the Church develops by going out in a different direction. That is to say, it changes in an indirect way. And it could develop in the question of the divorced and remarried.”[12]

Support also came from Germany where, at a roundtable discussion in Madgeburg, Cardinal Marx revealed that he would present to the synod a document containing the signatures of the majority of German bishops, which would follow similar line to the “Kasper proposal.”[13]

Between February and October 2014 Kasper relentlessly promoted these proposals, giving numerous interviews to a variety of publications, TV and radio stations. In addition to arguing for his core proposal he expressed his “esteem” for two leading American dissenters Elizabeth Schüssler Fiorenza and Elizabeth Johnson. A book by Johnson had recently been condemned by the United States Conference of Catholic Bishops and a few days earlier Cardinal Müller had criticised the Leadership Conference of Women Religious (LCWR) for giving her their Outstanding Leadership award. Kasper said to his audience at Fordham University that her condemnation “is not a tragedy and we will overcome.”[14]

In promoting his plan for re-admitting the divorced and remarried to communion, Kasper created formidable opposition among the College of Cardinals. Five Cardinals—Gerhard Müller, Raymond Burke, Carlo Caffara, Walter Brandmüller, and Velasio de Paolis—contributed, with four other scholars, published Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church as a comprehensive rebuttal of Kasper’s arguments. Kasper also generated The Gospel of the Family: Going Beyond Cardinal Kasper's Proposal in the Debate on Marriage, Civil Re-Marriage and Communion in the Church with a foreword by Cardinal Pell. Cardinals Angelo Scola and Marc Ouellet also wrote articles opposing Kasper’s proposal in a special edition of the journal Communio.

There are indications that such pressure riled and discomfited both Kasper and the Pope. La Croix reported that the Holy Father was said to be “displeased” by those cardinals who made contributions to Remaining in the Truth of Christ. It also reported that he “demanded” that Cardinal Müller not take part in promoting the book.[15] On 18th September 2014 Cardinal Kasper told Il Mattino:

I agreed upon everything with him. He was in agreement. What can a cardinal do, except be with the Pope? I am not the target, the target is another one. . . . They know that I have not done these things by myself. I agreed with the Pope, I spoke twice with him. He showed himself content. Now, they create this controversy. A Cardinal must be close to the Pope, by his side. The Cardinals are the Pope's co-operators.[16]

Kasper’s leading opponents however remained unbowed. In particular Raymond Cardinal Burke rose to the fore as the leading champion of Catholic moral teaching. During a series of interviews given before and during the synod he called for the Kasper proposal to be rejected and for the pope to publicly reaffirm Catholic doctrine.

Another powerful response to Cardinal Kasper came from Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Astana in Kazakhstan who spoke of an “interior split” within the Church which “will blow up and show” that “the real crisis in the Church . . . is anthropocentrism, forgetting the Christocentrism. Indeed, this is the deepest evil, when man or the clergy are putting themselves in the centre when they are celebrating liturgy and when they are changing the revealed truth of God, e.g. concerning the Sixth Commandment and human sexuality.”


Unfortunately, for some decades some clergy have accepted these ideas of the world. Now however they are following them publicly. When these things continue, I think, there will be an interior split in the Church of those who are faithful to the faith of their baptism and of the integrity of the Catholic faith. There will be a split with those who are assuming the spirit of this world and there will be a clear split, I think. One can imagine that Catholics, who remain faithful to the unchangeable Catholic truth may, for a time, be persecuted or discriminated even on behalf of those who have power in the exterior structures of the Church.[17]

On 24th June 2014 the instrumentum laboris of the synod was published. This document, which was to serve as the agenda for the assembly, included the Kasper proposal as one of ideas proposed for discussion. The preface also prepared the way for the acceptance of such proposals at the synod by stating:

From the beginning of his pontificate, Pope Francis has emphasized that “the Lord never tires of forgiving: never! It is we who tire of asking his forgiveness.” (Angelus, March 17) This accent on mercy has had a great impact even in matters relating to marriage and the family, in that, far removed from every kind of moralism, it confirms the Christian outlook on life and opens new possibilities for the future, no matter what the personal limitations or the sins committed. God’s mercy is an opening to an ongoing conversion and a continuous rebirth.”[18]

The pre-synod period was marked by continuing controversy between supporters and opponents of the Kasper’s proposal. Cardinal Kasper accused his opponents of engaging in ‘politics’ while Cardinal Burke insisted that his proposal “needs to be clarified and off the table.” He hoped that the Synod would “recommend to the Holy Father that the discussion now go in a fruitful way for fostering married life and the family.”[19]

The most striking revelation of the immediate pre-synod period, however, was made public on 20th September by Marco Tossati of La Stampa, who revealed that a Cardinal had been heard explaining how the Extraordinary Synod was going to be manipulated in order to achieve the desired result. This would be done in three ways; the first, which had already been accomplished, was that all interventions by synod fathers had to be submitted by September 8. This made possible the second strategy, which was to read all the interventions carefully to ensure that any points contrary to the desired agenda could be answered in the most effective way possible before the speaker even had chance to speak. The third strategy was simply to prevent certain synod fathers from even addressing the assembly. They would be told that there was no more time for interventions but that their views would be taken into account in the final report. “A modest observation from a poor reporterconcluded Tossati “if one has such an elaborate and shrewd plan, why speak of it in front of perfect strangers at a sumptuous dinner?”[20] Tossati’s revelation alerted participants and commentators to the very real threat of manipulation at the synod and increased the pressure on those controlling the event. At a pre-synod press conference on October 3rd Cardinal Baldisserri, head of the Synod Secretariat, broke under pressure as journalists questioned the lack of transparency; “you should come up here if you know everything, maybe you should be a synod father,” he snapped at a female reporter. [21]


The synod began with an opening sermon from Pope Francis condemning “evil pastors” who “lay intolerable burdens on the shoulders of others, which they themselves do not lift a finger to move. ... Synod Assemblies are not meant to discuss beautiful and clever ideas, or to see who is more intelligent.”[22]

Concern that this was a direct attack on Cardinal Burke, and other defenders of orthodox moral teaching were given extra weight by an interview given by the Holy Father to Argentinean newspaper La Nacion. The Pope was asked by the interviewer if he was “worried” about the book Remaining in the Truth of Christ. In his reply Francis said that he enjoyed “debating with the very conservative, but intellectually well-formed bishops.”[23] But he said “The world has changed and the Church cannot lock itself into alleged interpretations of dogma.”

During the first week each synod father was given four minutes to address the assembly. For the first time in the history of the modern synod neither the texts of the speeches nor detailed summaries were provided. Rather the Vatican press officers simply gave brief overviews of what had been said. It quickly became apparent that these summaries presented an unbalanced impression of the interventions. For example on the first day of the synod the English speaking spokesman, Fr Thomas Rosica, stressed the need for the Church to abandon language such as “intrinsically disordered” and “living in sin.” He also spoke of the “law of graduality.” Both of these concepts would be central to the ‘progressive’ assault on Catholic doctrine that would unfold over the next two weeks. While the interventions of the synod fathers were not made public, a speech by a lay couple who spoke on the importance of welcoming homosexual couples into the family was immediately released. The Prefect of the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Müller, was among those who spoke out against such manipulation. He insisted that “all Christians have the right to be informed about the intervention of their bishops.”[24] Cardinal Burke told Il Foglio: “it seems to me that something is not working well if the information is manipulated in a way so as to stress only one position instead of reporting faithfully the various positions that were expressed. This worries me very much, because a consistent number of bishops do not accept the idea of a break with traditional Church teaching, but few know this.”[25]


The most notorious example of manipulation was the interim report presented to both the synod fathers and the press on Monday 13th October. This document purported to be based on the interventions of the synod fathers. Among the grave errors contained in this document we can identify: 1) the opening of the way for the adoption of Kasper’s proposal on the reception of Holy Communion by the divorced and ‘remarried’; 2) calls for the Church to “value” homosexual orientation, and 3) calls for the Church to focus on the supposedly positive elements of sinful unions, such as cohabitation. Bishop Athanasius Schneider later commented: “In the sections on homosexuality, sexuality and “divorced and remarried” with their admittance to the sacraments the text represents a radical neo-pagan ideology. This is the first time in Church history that such a heterodox text was actually published as a document of an official meeting of Catholic bishops under the guidance of a pope, even though the text only had a preliminary character.”[26]

This report was immediately hailed as a revolution in the Church by the media. Many synod fathers on the other hand insisted that it was not an accurate reflection of the interventions in the synod hall. The division was evident during the very press conference at which it was released. Cardinal Erdo, the Relator General, and Archbishop Bruno Forte, the Special Secretary, were present. When asked about the meaning of the passages relating to homosexuality Erdo pointed at Forte and said “he who wrote the text must know what it is talking about.” It seems generally accepted that the document was largely written by Forte, a dissenting theologian who was a disciple of the late Cardinal Martini, Archbishop of Milan.

The next day Wilfrid Cardinal Napier, Archbishop of Durban, told journalists that the report put the Church in a position that was “virtually irredeemable.” The content of the report was “not what we’re saying at all.”[27]

George Cardinal Pell, Prefect of the Secretariat of the Economy, said that “radical elements” were using proposals for the reception of Holy Communion by the remarried as a “stalking horse” for further changes in the Church’s teaching on human sexuality.[28] Cardinal Burke told Catholic World Report: “I wholeheartedly agree with what Cardinal George Pell and Cardinal Wilfrid Fox Napier have stated regarding the manipulation of the Synod Fathers by means of the Relatio post disceptationem. It is clear that whoever wrote the Relatio has an agenda and simply used the authority of a solemn meeting of Cardinals and Bishops to advance his agenda without respect for the discussion which took place during the first week of the Synod.”[29] 


After the release of the interim report on 13th October the synod fathers separated into small groups to suggest amendments. On the morning of Thursday 16th October the reports of the small groups were handed to the synod authorities, and it was immediately announced that, contrary to the usual practice, the reports would not be published. This caused immediate uproar in the synod hall as cardinals and bishops rose to their feet, one after the other, to demand publication. It is reported that the synod secretariat was booed and jeered for around fifteen minutes until Pope Francis indicated to Cardinal Baldisserri that the reports could be published. The importance of publication was clearly explained by Cardinal Burke:

There was an attempt not to publish the reports and to have Father Lombardi once again filter their contents, but the Synod Fathers, who up to that point were not given any direct means of communication with the public, insisted that the reports be published. It was critical that the public know, through the publication of the reports, that the Relatio is a gravely flawed document and does not express adequately the teaching and discipline of the Church and, in some aspects, propagates doctrinal error and a false pastoral approach. . . . I consider the publication of the reports of the ten small groups of critical importance, for they demonstrate that the Synod Fathers do not accept at all the contents of the Relatio.”[30]

The publication of the interim report ensured that the final report had to reflect more accurately the contributions of the synod fathers. In the final version the controversial passages on homosexuality were removed entirely and replaced with short restatements of Catholic teaching. The passages on the reception of Holy Communion for the divorced and ‘remarried’ remained in an amended form but failed to achieve a two-third majority. Calls for recognition of the positive aspects of sinful unions remained in the final draft and were accepted by the synod fathers. In fact Pope Francis ordered that all the rejected paragraphs remain in the draft. Because this document will be the basis for the agenda for the next synod the Pope thus ensured that discussion of Kasper’s proposal will continue during the Ordinary Synod in October 2015.

It is not only the content of the final document but also its omissions which should cause grave concern. Even though the synod was called to deal with the crisis facing the family there is not one single mention of abortion, in vitro fertilisation, or euthanasia. Nor is there any mention of the serious threat posed to the civil freedoms of those who remain faithful to moral law and the teachings of the Church. Finally the section of contraception, far from strongly reasserting the Church’s teaching, is phrased in such a way that it would seem open to couples making a choice in ‘conscience’ to use contraception. This ambiguous sentence reads: “we should return to the message of the Encyclical Humanae Vitae of Blessed Pope Paul VI, which highlights the need to respect the dignity of the person in morally assessing methods in regulating births.”

A false understanding of conscience in relation to contraception was being advocated by Cardinal Kasper in the period before the synod. For example on October 1 he told Vatican Radio that Paul VI:

was concerned to remain in the truth and not give up something, but I think it’s also a question of the interpretation of this encyclical Humanae Vitae because he was the first pope who spoke in ‘personalistic’ terminology about marriage – it was new! So in the light of this general approach we have to interpret what he said about contraception and so on, and I think what he said is true, but it’s not a casuistic we can deduce from it [sic], it’s an ideal and we have to tell people, but then we have also to respect the conscience of the couples.[31]

The whole approach of the document is that the Church must conform to the requirements of the modern world. The document refuses to reassert the teaching of the Church on the central issues of our age, while at the same time trying to find ways to tolerate, even approve, sinful choices. In so doing the synod fathers betray the most vulnerable among us.


The final session of the synod was held on October 18. In his closing speech Pope Francis delivered a blistering attack on “traditionalists” and “intellectuals,” condemning:

a temptation to hostile inflexibility, that is, wanting to close oneself within the written word, (the letter) and not allowing oneself to be surprised by God, by the God of surprises, (the spirit); within the law, within the certitude of what we know and not of what we still need to learn and to achieve. From the time of Christ, it is the temptation of the zealous, of the scrupulous, of the solicitous and of the so-called – today – “traditionalists” and also of the intellectuals.

This was widely interpreted as an attack on those who had sought to uphold Catholic orthodoxy, as was his further criticism of those who, he said: transform the bread into a stone and cast it against the sinners, the weak, and the sick, that is, to transform it into unbearable burdens.”

 The Pope concluded: “now we still have one year to mature, with true spiritual discernment, the proposed ideas and to find concrete solutions to so many difficulties and innumerable challenges that families must confront.”[33] Cardinal Marx drew out the the implications of this statement when he claimed that: "The doors are open -- wider than they have ever been since the Second Vatican Council. The synod debates were just a starting point. Francis wants to get things moving, to push processes forward. The real work is about to begin.”[34] Cardinal Burke, in one of his strongest interviews to date, told the Catholic News Service:

in a short period of time, how much we have descended and gone away from the truth of our faith and the truth of the moral law in society in general. But the fact that these kinds of questions are being seriously discussed in the church should shock us all and awaken us to the need today to give an heroic witness to the truth of the indissolubility of marriage from attacks from within the church herself.[35]

Bishop Athanasius Schneider also gave some remarkable reflections in an interview granted to Polonia Christiana. His judgement on the bishops of the ‘progressive’ party was that

such bishops try to legitimize their infidelity to Christ’s word by means of arguments such as “pastoral need”, “mercy”, “openness to the Holy Spirit”. Moreover they have no fear and no scruples to pervert in a Gnostic manner the real meaning of these words labelling at the same time those who oppose them and defend the immutable Divine commandment and the true non-human tradition as rigid, scrupulous or traditionalist. 

In a stirring call to young Catholics he said:

Catholic young people have to say to themselves: I refuse to conform to the neo-pagan spirit of this world, even when this spirit is spread by some bishops and cardinals; I will not accept their fallacious and perverse use of holy Divine mercy and of “new Pentecost”; I refuse to throw grains of incense before the statue of the idol of the gender ideology, before the idol of second marriages, of concubinage, even if my bishop would do so, I will not do so; with the grace of God I will choose to suffer rather than betray the whole truth of Christ on human sexuality and on marriage.[36]

As the Church moves towards the Ordinary Synod in 2015 the battle lines are drawn and the “interior split” separating the cult of God from the cult of man is perhaps more clearly visible than ever before.CW

This article appeared in the January 2015 issue of Culture Wars.

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[1] Full Text: Pope Francis’ Angelus Address, 17 March 2014, The Catholic World Report, [Accessed 27 November 2014],

[2] “Gott in der Geschichte”, Gott heute: 15 Beiträge zur Gottesfrage, (Mainz, 1967) Translation of passage taken from “The New Pastoral Approach of Cardinal Kasper to the divorced and “remarried””, 12 April 2014, Documentation Information Catholique Internationales, [Accessed 2 December 2014],

[3] Walter Kasper, Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life, trans. William Madges (New York, 2014), p11

[4] David Gibson, Cardinal Kasper is the 'pope's theologian', National Catholic Reporter, 3 June 2014, [Accessed 25 November 2014],

[5] Gerhard Ludwig Cardinal Müller, Testimony to the Power of Grace: On the Indissolubility of Marriage and the Debate Concerning Civilly Remarried and the Sacrament, [Accessed 27 November 2014]

[6] The Synod on the Family, Kasper and the Call for Mercy, 26 February 2014, Rorate Caeli [Accessed 25 November 2014],

[7] Very Relevant: Exclusive for La Stampa: - What exactly happened in the February Consistory, anyway? Majority of Cardinals against Kasper Doctrine - And Müller's strong words on "public opinion", 26 March 2014, Rorate Caeli, [Accessed 25 November],

[8] The full text of Kasper’s address and his response was published as Walter Cardinal Kasper, The Gospel of the Family (New York, 2014), p43

[9] Junno Arocho Esteves, Fr Lombardi: Consistory Focused on Pastoral Vision of the Family, 20 February 2014, Zenit, [Accessed 25 November 2014],

[10] Pope Francis expresses support for Cardinal Kasper’s ‘serene theology’ on the family, 21 February 2014, Rome Reports, [Accessed 25 November 2014],

[11] The Pope’s homily of February 28, 2014 and communion for "remarried" divorcees: A Trial Balloon, Multiple Ironies, Unanswered Questions, 28 February 2014, Rorate Caeli, [Accessed 25 November 2014],

[12] Gerard O’Connell, Murphy-O’Connor: Francis is open, honest and made people feel free, Vatican Insider, [Accessed 25 November 2014],

[13] ACHTUNG! As in Vatican II, the Germans seem to be Preparing a Coup for the Synod, 26 September 2014, Rorate Caeli, [Accessed 25 November],

[14] David Gibson, Cardinal Kasper, the ‘pope’s theologian,’ downplays Vatican blast at U.S. nuns, 6 May 2014, Religion News Service, [Accessed 25 November 2014],

[15] Cinq cardinaux rappellent leur ferme position doctrinale avant le Synode sur la famille, 17 September 2014, La Croix, [Accessed 25 November 2014],

[16] Intervista al cardinale Kasper: «Vogliono la guerra al Sinodo, il Papa è il bersaglio», 18 September 2014, Il Mattino, [Accessed 25 November 2014],

[17] Interview with Bishop Athanasius Schneider - May 2014 - full text, Latin Mass Society, [Accessed 25 November 2014]

[19] Cardinal Burke: Stop Communion debate now, 2 October 2014, Catholic News Service, [Accessed 25 November 2014],

[20] EXPLOSIVE - The Pianist: "How I Plan to Manipulate the Synod At Will" One of our most important translations, 22 September 2014, Rorate Caeli, [Accessed 27 November 2014],

[21] You should come up here if you know everything’: Cardinal fires back as press questions Synod’s ‘lack of transparency’, 3 October 2014, Lifesitenews, [Accessed 25 November 2014],

[22] Pope Francis' Homily at Opening Mass of Extraordinary Synod on the Family, 5 October 2014 , Zenit, [Accessed 25 November 2014],

[23] Pope Francis distances himself from ‘very conservative’ bishops, 8th October 2014, Lifesitenews, [Accessed 27 November 2011],

[24] Top Vatican cardinal wants family speeches public, 9 October 2014, Daily Mail, [Accessed 25 November 2014]

[25] Full Text of Cardinal Burke's Major Interview to Il Foglio on the Synod, 16 October 2014, Rorate Caeli, [Accessed 25 November 2014],

[26] Bp. Athanasius Schneider on the Synod, "manipulation", and the "neo-pagan" and heterodox midterm relatio - Midterm relatio a stain on the honor of the Apostolic See, 5 November 2014, Rorate Caeli, [Accessed 25 November 2014]

[27] Voice of the Family were present at the press conference

[28] Cardinal Pell: Synod says no to secular agenda, 16 October 2014, Catholic News Service, [Accessed 2 December 2014],

[29] Cardinal Burke to CWR: confirms transfer, praises pushback, addresses controversy over remarks by Cardinal Kasper, 18 October 2014, Catholic World Report, [Accessed 25 November 2014],

[30] Cardinal Burke to CWR: confirms transfer, praises pushback, addresses controversy over remarks by Cardinal Kasper, 18 October 2014, Catholic World Report, [Accessed 25 November 2014],

[31] Card Kasper: Synod to model Pope's "listening magisterium", 1 October 2014, Vatican Radio, [Accessed 25 November 2014],

[32] Pope Francis speech at the conclusion of the Synod, 18 October 2014, Vatican Radio, [Accessed 25 November 2014],

[33] Pope Francis speech at the conclusion of the Synod, 18 October 2014, Vatican Radio, [Accessed 25 November 2014],

[34] Christa Pongratz-Lippit, Cardinal Marx: Pope Francis has pushed open the doors of the church, 28 October 2014, National Catholic Reporter, [Accessed 25 November 2014],

[35] Cardinal Burke: ‘I’m Praying Very Fervently That This Coming Year This Confusion Will Stop’, 30 October 2014, CNS News, [Accessed 25 November 2014],

[36] Bp. Athanasius Schneider on the Synod, "manipulation", and the "neo-pagan" and heterodox midterm relatio – Midterm relatio a stain on the honor of the Apostolic See, 5 November 2014, Rorate Caeli, [Accessed 25 November 2014]





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