Cardinal Walter Kasper, close theological adviser to Pope Francis and President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, has categorically denied reports of a “secret meeting” this week in Rome to prepare for the Synod for the Amazon this coming October.

Driving the news

Notorious fake news websites LifeSite and the National Catholic Register published reports Wednesday that a group of activists and Church officials, including cardinals, bishops and priests, were meeting in a convent on the outskirts of Rome to prepare an assault on the traditional Church discipline of a male-only, celibate priesthood at October’s Synod.

For the record

Vatican spokesman Alessandro Gisotti immediately put the lie to LifeSite and the Register, saying that the alleged conspiracy was in fact a “study meeting” of representatives of the REPAM, the Pan-Amazonian Ecclesial Network.

One level deeper

In comments to German paper Die Tagespost, Kasper called the LifeSite and Register reports “completely absurd”, and said “the ordination of women was not an issue at all” at the meeting, “nor the abolition of celibacy.

“No one, as has been absurdly asserted, questioned the sacramental/hierarchical structure of the Church.”

“The fact that there was talk of a creative Christocentric theology in view of the culture of the indigenous peoples of the Amazon has absolutely nothing to do with a cheap ‘ecotheology'”, continued Kasper. 

“Was not it J. Ratzinger / Benedict XVI, who repeatedly drew attention to this somewhat forgotten topic?”, the cardinal asked, fending off ultraconservative criticism of the Synod agenda.