In this thought-provoking address given to the College of Cardinals, Cardinal Walter Kasper—whom Pope Francis has called “a superb theologian”—discusses everything that is beautiful about the family, without avoiding its problems.
According to Cardinal Kasper, the family functions as a small “domestic church” that can be a privileged route to evangelization. He speaks of this “domestic church” in a broad sense that includes the nuclear family as well as communities, parish groups, and other organizations. Cardinal Kasper considers the rediscovery of the “gospel of the family,” the family’s place in the order of creation, and the vision of the family in the Book of Genesis and in God’s plan. The cardinal then reflects on the structures of sin within the family, including family problems, tensions between men and women, and the suffering of women and mothers. Finally, he concludes with a discussion of the family in the Christian order of redemption, drawing from the Gospels and other New Testament texts about the family, such as St. Paul’s Letter to the Ephesians. He discusses marriage as a sacrament and its sanctifying grace. Cardinal Kasper also mentions the issue of those who have remarried after divorce. He stresses the need to unite pastoral care, the words of Jesus, and an understanding of divine mercy in responding to these Catholics.
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Take a look at the Walter Kasper Collection for more works by Cardinal Kasper.
Walter Kasper is a cardinal in the Roman Catholic Church and president emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity. He was born in 1933 in Brenz, Germany. He was ordained in 1957, and was a professor at Tübingen University for 25 years. In 1989, he became bishop of one of Germany’s largest Catholic dioceses, Rottenburg-Stuttgart. While there, he visited every one of the 1,000 parishes in the diocese. He was elevated to cardinal in 2001, and cardinal-priest in 2011. He served as president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity from 2001 to 2010. He is the author of Mercy: Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life.