With the October Synod on the Family now looming on the horizon, a recent Christian Order editorial really says it all. Be warned though, the Editor, Rod Pead, does not mince his words. This is not recommended reading for the faint-hearted and certainly not for those who dabble in papolatry. It’s lengthy but you won’t want to miss a word. Click on “source” at the end of the extract (or on either of the images on this page) to read the entire editorial – then share your thoughts…
“The new approach that Catholic scholars are taking to Jesus and the scriptures … reflects the presuppositions and procedures [of] Catholic scholars like … Walter Kasper…. Many of the conclusions of [this] ‘liberal consensus’ conflict sharply with traditional Catholic doctrine. … [Its] major achievement … seems to be bringing the church to what can be called the end of Catholicism…. [The point] is not to salvage Catholicism or Christianity but to let go of them… to help people leave the church with a good conscience. “
– Thomas Sheehan, The New York Review of Books,1984
- [A] divine intervention in the sense of a directly visible action of God is theological nonsense. (Jesus the Christ, 1974)
- God’s relation to Moses in the Burning Bush is not “I Am,” but “I am with you. I am for you.” (7/5/14)
- The Church is not against birth control at all. … it’s [the couple’s] personal conscience and their personal responsibility. (5/5/14)
- So if [the divorced-and-remarried] can receive spiritual communion, why not also sacramental Communion? (5/5/14)
– Cardinal Kasper
“In the past few days I have been reading a book by… Cardinal Kasper, a clever theologian, a good theologian…
And that book did me a lot of good.”
– Pope Francis, 17/3/13
Spanning forty years, this thread of quotations pretty much underlines and sums up the current state of play as detailed and analysed in recent editions. We could, therefore, pronounce a simple, emphatic “Oremus!” — and leave it at that.
However, Cardinal Kasper’s influential re-emergence under Francis requires elaboration. Especially when the looming Extraordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops (5-19 October) — called to discuss “pastoral challenges to the family in the context of evangelisation” — is being primed for Kasper’s hobbyhorse: Communion for the divorced-and-re-remarried.
The Modernist proposition
Last February, at the Pope’s behest, the notorious German enumerated to an Extraordinary Consistory of around 150 cardinals, his long-held proposal to sanction that sinful pastoral practice.
Typically, the undermining of the indissolubility of the marriage bond, and related Catholic dogmas pertaining to the Sacrament of Penance and the Holy Eucharist, was presented as a trifle: a “merciful” granting of hard-case “exceptions.”
Sounding more like the king of snake oil salesmen than a prince of the Church, Kasper posited no significant doctrinal change or damaging ramifications at all, selling the supposed “exclusion” of a divorced-and-remarried person from receiving Communion as an “exploitation of the person,” while suggesting an oh-so-reasonable compromise: that “the smallest sector of divorced-and-remarried Catholics who are truly interested in receiving the sacraments” might be admitted to “the sacrament of penance, and then of Communion,” if the person concerned:
- Repents of the failure of his marriage and
- Has cleared up the obligations of his first marriage, if a return to it is definitely ruled out;
- If he cannot abandon the commitments that he has made with his new civil marriage without committing other sins [— these, he recently explained, involve “The breakup of the second family. If there are children you cannot do it. If you’re engaged to a new partner, you’ve given your word, and so it’s not possible.”]
- If he tries nevertheless to live his second marriage as well as he can, in faith, and educating his children in the faith;
- If he desires the sacraments as the source of strength in his situation.
For the diabolically-disoriented Cardinal, in other words, marriage is doctrinally indissoluble but can be dissolved pastorally. The same sulphurous approach he has adopted to ecumenism and religious liberty with the blessing of his favourite pastoral Council, which, he says, “opened the doors without violating the compulsory dogmatic tradition.”
The papal patronage
Once again the open dialogue the Holy Father likes to tout was nowhere in evidence. Instead, to underscore his own stance, not even a token orthodox speaker was chosen to counter Kasper’s two-hour marathon. According to German Cardinal Reinhard Marx, after the address “strong objections” were posed by numerous cardinals, effectively pricking this trial balloon sent up by our über-collegial pontiff to test the collegial temper. Undeterred, Francis then praised Kasper effusively, opening the second day of the consistory (21 February) with this spurious thumbs up:
Yesterday, before going to sleep, … I re-read Cardinal Kasper’s study, and I would like to thank him, because I found in it a profound theology and the serene thought of a theologian. I also found what St. Ignatius told us about, the sensus Ecclesiae, the love of our Mother the Church…. This is called doing theology on one’s knees.
On the contrary, Holy Father, this is to confuse doing theology on one’s knees before God with doing apostasy kneeling before the world! Meanwhile, on the pope’s behalf, the dean of the assembled cardinals, ex-Secretary of State Angelo Sodano, was stressing consistory confidentiality and swearing all to secrecy … with the exception of one Walter Kasper. While his brethren duly kept their counsel, Kasper immediately announced publication of his address in Germany and Italy. He was also granted final right of reply to his opponents in the consistory.
The Catholic response
Providentially, the editor of Il Foglio, the Milan-based neo-conservative daily, upset the liberal apple cart. On 1 March he published the speech worldwide, together with an objective critique by historian Roberto de Mattei. Citing the Church Fathers, de Mattei shredded Kasper’s specious appeal to early Church practice to justify his perverse cause.
Since his thinly-disguised Modernist assault on the Faith cannot withstand Catholic critique, Kasper exploded, venting his spleen on Vatican radio, then sounding off in the Pope’s L’Osservatore Romano, all of which leant further authority to his position. But at least de Mattei’s clear analysis was now available to shed comforting light on the modus operandi of the Kasper-led revolution, which he summarised as follows:
The doctrine does not change; the only novelty concerns pastoral practice. The slogan, which has been repeated for a year now, reassures on the one hand those conservatives who gauge everything in terms of doctrinal declarations, and on the other hand it encourages the progressives who attach little importance to doctrine and entrust everything to the primacy of practice.
By paying lip service to orthodoxy (right belief) and positing sinful practice as orthopraxis (right action), Kasper seeks to disguise his profound incoherence and hyprocrisy. Shortly after the election of his papal patron, for instance, he wrote in L’Osservatore Romano (12/4/13) that the Church “needs to defend the faith against pluralism and postmodern relativism, as well as the fundamentalist tendencies that run from reason.” Yet what could be more irrational than his undoing two thousand years of Sacramental Theology of Matrimony and Penance in order to accommodate the relativistic/pluralistic postmodern world he supposedly deplores; to construct a slippery slope to ever more concubinage, Eucharistic sacrilege, and sola scriptura protestantisation? Source