Pope didn't approve plan to allow divorced Catholics to receive holy Communion, says German cardinal

German Cardinal Walter Kasper walks in St. Peter's Square after the end of a meeting held at the Synod Hall at the Vatican in this Oct. 2, 2014 file photo.Reuters

German Cardinal Walter Kasper has retracted a previous a statement attributed to him where he allegedly said that Pope Francis was supportive of his proposal to allow divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to receive the holy Communion after a period of repentance.

Such a proposal is considered a major departure from the Church's teaching on Communion, marriage and divorce.

In an interview Cardinal Kasper granted to Raymond Arroyo of the Catholic News Agency last week, the German prelate said contrary to what was reported, Pope Francis "did not approve my proposal."

What the pontiff wanted, according to Kasper, was for the "question" to be put before a gathering of cardinals.

Kasper, often called "the Pope's theologian," was also earlier quoted as saying that a "growing majority" of synod members supported his position and that he was simply promoting what Pope Francis wants.

The cardinal, whose position for decades has gathered both stern criticism from conservative theologians and euphoric support from other church leaders, spoke last week at a Georgetown University conference on the Second Vatican Council.

During the conference, the cardinal said he was determined to push forward his proposal as he showed little signs of being discouraged with the opposing views expressed by a number of bishops worldwide.

He has, "in many ways," influenced the conversation of October's Synod of Bishops on the Family in Rome, wrote the Catholic News Agency.

Kasper underscored that under his proposal, divorced and civilly-remarried Catholics have to go through a nullity process aside from the penitential process before being allowed to receive the holy Communion.

"This is another process, but if people, well, if they have the statement of nullity, they can come to holy Communion: That's clear."