Cardinal Walter Kasper addressed the Extraordinary Consistory on the Family Thursday morning about how to rediscover and proclaim the “gospel of the family.” Cardinal Kasper spoke to about 150 Catholic cardinals on the morning of Feb. 20 after brief remarks by Pope Francis, who discussed “the beauty of the family and marriage,” as well as the family’s joys, hopes, struggles and sufferings. Father Federico Lombardi, S.J., the director of the Holy See Press Office, summarized the cardinal’s speech, the text of which will not be released. Fr. Lombardi said the cardinal discussed everything that is beautiful about the family without avoiding its problems, Vatican Radio reports. The cardinal discussed the need to convey the beauty of the “gospel of the family,” on the grounds that the truth convinces through beauty. Cardinal Kasper, the past president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, discussed the family as a small “domestic church” that can be a privileged route to evangelization. He discussed this “domestic church” in a broad sense that includes the nuclear family as well as communities, parish groups and other organizations. Fr. Lombardi said the speech was not an effort to anticipate the upcoming Extraordinary Synod on the Family, which will be held Oct. 5-19. He said the cardinal’s speech was also “in harmony” with Pope Francis’ words. Cardinal Kasper discussed 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 discussed the structures of sin within the family, including family problems, tensions between men and women, and the suffering of women and mothers. He concluded 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 discussed marriage as a sacrament and its sanctifying grace. The cardinal also mentioned the issue of those who have remarried after divorce. He stressed the need to unite pastoral care, the words of Jesus, and an understanding of divine mercy in responding to these Catholics. Cardinal Kasper referred to Pope Francis’ Jan. 24 address to the prelates of the Roman Rota, in which the Pope spoke about the validity of marriages and affirmed that the legal and pastoral dimensions of marriage are not opposed. According to Fr. Lombardi, the cardinal placed great importance on the “law of gradualness,” by which he meant the advancement towards new ways of exploring the mystery of redemption in Christ.
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