Bishop Fellay: Cardinal Kasper Quite Logical and Perfectly Consistent …

bpbernardfellay_01You were received by Cardinal Müller on September 23rd.  The communiqué from the Vatican Press Office repeats the language of the 2005 communiqué issued after your meeting with Benedict XVI, which already said that the parties would “proceed gradually and over a reasonable period of time… with a view to the envisioned full communion.”  The 2014 communiqué, on the other hand, speaks about “full reconciliation.”  Does this mean that you are starting over at the beginning? 

Yes and no, depending on the perspective that you take.  There is nothing new, in the sense that both our interlocutors and ourselves, we realize that doctrinal differences still exist—which had been made quite clear during the theological discussions in 2009-2011—and that because of this we were unable to sign the Doctrinal Preamble that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has proposed to us since 2011.

But what is new?

There is a new pope and a new prefect heading the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.  And this recent interview shows that neither they nor we want a break in our relations:  both parties insist that it is necessary to clarify the doctrinal questions before there is any canonical recognition.  This is why, for their part, the Roman authorities are demanding the endorsement of the Doctrinal Preamble which, for our part, we cannot sign because of its ambiguities.

Another new fact is the current aggravation of the crisis in the Church.  On the eve of the Synod on the Family, serious, well-founded criticisms made by several cardinals against Cardinal Kasper’s proposals about communion for the divorced-and-remarried are coming to light.  This has not been seen in Rome since the criticisms by Cardinal Ottaviani and Bacci in their Short Critical Study on the New Order of Mass (the “Ottaviani Intervention” of 1969).  But what has not changed is the fact that the Roman authorities still do not take our criticisms of the Council into account, because to them they seem secondary or even illusory, given the severe problems in the Church today.  These authorities do recognize the crisis that is convulsing the Church at the highest level—now among cardinals—but they do not consider that the Council itself could be the main cause of this unprecedented crisis.  It is like a dialogue of deaf people.

Can you give a specific example?

Cardinal Kasper’s proposals in favor of communion for divorced-and-remarried persons are an illustration of what we blame on the Council.  In the talk that he gave to the cardinals during the Consistory on February 20th of this year, he proposed doing again what was done at the Council, namely:  reaffirming Catholic doctrine while offering pastoral overtures.  In his various interviews with journalists he harps on this distinction between doctrine and pastoral practice.  He says that theoretically doctrine cannot change, but he introduces the notion that concretely, in reality, there are some situations in which the doctrine cannot be applied.  Then, in his opinion, only a pastoral approach is capable of finding solutions… at the expense of doctrine.

Cardinal Kasper is quite logical and perfectly consistent:  he proposes applying pastorally to marriage the new principles concerning the Church that were spelled out at the Council in the name of ecumenism:  there are elements of ecclesiality outside the Church.  He moves logically from ecclesial ecumenism to matrimonial ecumenism.  Thus, in his opinion, there are elements of Christian marriage outside of the sacrament.  To look at things concretely, just ask spouses what they would think of “ecumenical” marital fidelity or fidelity in diversity!  Similarly, what are we supposed to think about a so-called “ecumenical” doctrinal unity that is united in diversity?  This sort of result is what we denounce, but the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith either does not see it or else does not accept it.

How are we to understand the expression from the Vatican communiqué:  “proceed gradually?” 

The mutual desire of Rome and in the Society of Saint Pius X to continue doctrinal discussions in a broader, less formal framework than in the previous discussions.

Cardinal Kasper’s proposals in favor of communion for divorced-and-remarried persons are an illustration of what we blame on the Council.  In the talk that he gave to the cardinals during the Consistory on February 20th of this year, he proposed doing again what was done at the Council, namely:  reaffirming Catholic doctrine while offering pastoral overtures.  In his various interviews with journalists he harps on this distinction between doctrine and pastoral practice.  He says that theoretically doctrine cannot change, but he introduces the notion that concretely, in reality, there are some situations in which the doctrine cannot be applied.  Then, in his opinion, only a pastoral approach is capable of finding solutions… at the expense of doctrine.

For our part, we blame the Council for making this artificial distinction between doctrine and pastoral practice, because pastoral practice must follow from doctrine.  Through multiple pastoral concessions, substantial changes have been introduced in the Church, and its doctrine has been affected.  This is what happened during and after the Council, and we denounce the same strategy that is being used today against the morality of marriage.

But was it only pastoral changes in the Council that indirectly affected doctrine?

No, we are in fact obliged to note that serious changes were made in doctrine itself:  religious liberty, collegiality, ecumenism….  But it is true that these changes appear more clearly and more evidently in their concrete pastoral applications, because in the conciliar documents they are presented as simple overtures, just hinted at, with much left unsaid….which makes them, in the words of my predecessor, Fr. Schmidberger, “time bombs.”

In the proposals of Cardinal Kasper, where do you see a pastoral application that makes more evident a doctrinal change introduced during the Council?  Where do you see a “time bomb?” 

In the interview that he granted to the Vaticanist Andrea Tornielli on September 18th, the Cardinal says:  “Church doctrine is not a closed system: the Second Vatican Council teaches us that there is a development, meaning that it is possible to look into this further. I wonder if a deeper understanding similar to what we saw in ecclesiology, is possible in this case (i.e. that of divorced Catholics who have remarried civilly).  Although the Catholic Church is Christ’s true Church, there are elements of ecclesiality beyond the institutional boundaries of the Church too. Couldn’t some elements of sacramental marriage also be recognized in civil marriages in certain cases? For example, the lifelong commitment, mutual love and care, Christian life and a public declaration of commitment that does not exist in common-law marriages.”

 But if the doctrinal discussions in 2009-2011 accomplished nothing, what good is it to resume them, even in a broader fashion? 

Because, following the example of Archbishop Lefebvre, who never refused to go to Rome at the invitation of the Roman authorities, we always respond to those who ask us about the reasons for our fidelity to Tradition.  We could not shirk this responsibility, and we will fulfil it in the spirit and with the obligations that were defined by the last General Chapter.

But since you just mentioned the audience that Benedict XVI granted me in 2005, I remember saying then that we wanted to show that the Church would be stronger in today’s world if it upheld Tradition; I would also add:  if it proudly recalled its bi-millennial Tradition.  I say it again today, we wish to contribute our witness:  if the Church wants to end the tragic crisis that it is going through, Tradition is the response to this crisis.  This is how we manifest our filial piety toward eternal Rome, to the Church, the mother and teacher of truth, to whom we are deeply devoted.

You say that this is about giving witness; it is not rather a profession of faith?

One does not exclude the other.  Our Founder liked to say that the theological arguments with which we profess the faith are not always understood by our Roman interlocutors, but that does not relieve us of the duty to recall them.  Moreover, with his characteristic supernatural realism, Archbishop Lefebvre added that the concrete accomplishments of Tradition:  the seminaries, schools, priories, the number of priests, brothers and sisters, of seminarians and lay faithful, also had a great value as proof.  Against these tangible facts no specious argument can hold up:  contra factum non fit argumentum.  In the present case, we could translate this Latin adage by the saying of Jesus Christ, “A tree is judged by its fruits.”  And in this sense, while professing the faith, we must give witness to the vitality of Tradition.   Source

Comment:

If you can highlight one point made by Bishop Fellay which outshines the rest, share it with us. I can’t get past the (obviously rhetorical) question: “why isn’t Bishop Fellay Pope?”

The Spectator Sees The Best of the Game

Divorce and remarriageI am a divorced and remarried Catholic. I attend Mass every week. When my children want me to take them up to Holy Communion, I walk along behind them and cross my arms over my breast. My youngest is particularly keen on going up for a blessing, although he wants to know when he can get ‘the bread’. I say, ‘When you understand why it isn’t “the bread”.’

It has never occurred to me to present myself for Communion when I have not sought — for various reasons that I won’t discuss here — to have my first marriage annulled. I know I am not a good Catholic, and I am living a life that the Church considers to be adulterous. Yet I am in good spirits, as I hope in God’s mercy. But I do not presume upon it. My Catechism says that is a further mortal sin, as would be the unworthy reception of Holy Communion.

People in my state are explicitly encouraged, in the Catechism, to attend church, and to make a spiritual communion, as I do each week. I have the hope that one day I will be in a state of grace and able to receive Holy Communion again. I hope that, despite my ongoing sin, God nonetheless hides me in the shadow of his wings; that Mary, hope of sinners, has her cloak of mercy cast about me. I am a poor Catholic but I am also a believing Catholic. Yet there is a faction within the Church that evidently considers ‘believing Catholic’ to be a hopelessly old-fashioned clique that they must get shot of, alongside lace mantillas and kneeling at the Communion rail.

Holy Communion, for most of the bishops of England and Wales, appears to have become Protestant by default. Instead of the real presence of Christ in the Eucharist — a presence we should tremble to receive at the best of times — Communion is now a sign, a symbol, a mere shared meal, an ‘expression of community’.

Next week an Extraordinary Synod of Catholic bishops, summoned by Pope Francis, will meet to discuss the family. Catholic reformers are full of hope that, under his guidance, the bishops will liberalise the Church’s teaching on divorced and remarried Catholics. The liberal Tablet magazine devoted a cover story to the subject. It filled me with dismay. The article began by quoting Cardinal Walter Kasper, the leading liberal cardinal: ‘The church’s blanket ban on divorced and remarried Catholics receiving Communion…’.

Where to start? The Church does not ban anybody from receiving Communion other than non-Catholics (and there may be exceptions) and those too young to understand what they are receiving. Rather, nobody may receive God in the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin. Even before I remarried, and I use the term in a legal sense, since I cannot sacramentally remarry, I did not always present myself for Communion. Often I would be in a state of serious sin and had not found the time or organised myself enough to go to confession. The fact is that nobody in a state of serious sin — whatever that sin may be, in this case, adultery — is able to receive Christ worthily. To receive him unworthily is to commit a further mortal sin.

The Tablet article was called ‘The Case for Mercy’ and, reading it, I felt like pleading for us suckers who actually believe the basics: sin, confession, absolution, the Real Presence and the like. What Cardinal Kasper appears to want to do is to tempt a generation of people into weekly mortal sin. How is that merciful? How is that helping? Is it impossible for liberal theologians to combine their reforming fervour with actual logic? Allow a divorced and remarried person to receive Holy Communion and you are saying one of two things: either that it is not adulterous to have sex outside the marital bond, or that one may harmlessly receive the Most Holy Eucharist while in an ongoing state of mortal sin — a sin one firmly intends to commit again as soon as convenient.

There is no way that either of those things can be true, and the Church’s teaching be true. If sin doesn’t matter, what was the point of the Crucifixion? Why did Christ not stop with a ‘community meal’ on Maundy Thursday and skip that whole bothersome deal the next morning?

There are ways that those civilly divorced and remarried can be admitted to Holy Communion. Make it easier for them to obtain a declaration of nullity. Here is an area where the Church could be more sympathetic, could grant dispensations and exemptions in matters of process. The power of ‘radical sanation’ — granted for various reasons — to make a marriage whole could also be administered more often. That power does actually exist. Where the Church can legitimately change is in matters of tradition and practice — but not doctrine or dogma. Here, we sinners are protected from the human failings of individual priests and bishops by the infallibility of the Church. Some traditionalists protested when altar girls were permitted; I remember asking in one forum if the Bishop had the right to do this (yes), then if it had been done to say it was wrong was — equally as much as in the other direction — to say the Church was wrong.

Theologically, the Church is like a giant tower in Jenga; pull out one brick and you topple all the others. We cannot admit that sex outside marriage isn’t adulterous, nor can we say that mortally sinful people can receive Holy Communion. But we can look harder at the powers given to the Church to declare and discern when somebody is in a state of sin or where, for genuinely merciful reasons, a union can be made whole, by powers already granted to our bishops by the Holy Spirit.

Nothing will ever persuade me to receive Holy Communion in a state of grievous sin, unless for a serious reason. I once did so, when I discovered that a Protestant at my sister’s wedding had approached the priest, taken the Host and put it into his pocket. The poor priest hesitated but the man had walked away. He was foreign and hadn’t understood. I went to find him at the reception and he said ‘I didn’t want to interrupt the line’. I asked if I could have the Host from his pocket, I made a quick act of adoration and contrition and I ate it, despite being at that time not fit to receive. It seemed the lesser of two evils, and certainly that was my intent. I believe that under the circumstances, it was valid to consume the Host (although I am not sure). One day I hope to do so again. But I understand that the Church, while it strives to emphasise mercy, cannot do so by encouraging sin. Communion is not, as the Tablet journalist I Twitter-debated this with said, just ‘for the saints’, that is true. But nor is it, as he put it, ‘a help for the journey.’ It is the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist. However unfashionable that may be, it remains true.  Source

This article first appeared in the print edition of The Spectator magazine, dated 4 October 2014

Comment

This is an interesting insight, is it not, straight from one of the horses’ mouths, so to speak. Share your thoughts on the above article, which I think, by any yardstick, is an important contribution to the “debate” on a key topic of the forthcoming Synod on the Family. There’s an old saying, the onlooker (spectator) sees the best of the game. I think that is very true in this case – what do you think?

Christian Order: The Kasper Apostasy…


ChristianOrder
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 n
ot 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 Cardinal Kasper 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:

  1. Repents of the failure of his marriage and
  2. Has cleared up the obligations of his first marriage, if a return to it is definitely ruled out;
  3. 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.”]
  4. If he tries nevertheless to live his second marriage as well as he can, in faith, and educating his children in the faith;
  5. 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

Most Christians Not Called To Be Heroic – Kasper Strikes Again….

Image.- In a recent interview with Commonweal, Cardinal Walter Kasper discussed his proposal that divorced and remarried persons might receive Communion, suggesting that Christians aren’t called to be heroic.

“To live together as brother and sister? Of course I have high respect for those who are doing this,” he told Commonweal’s Matthew Boudway and Grant Gallicho, referring to divorced partners who have entered into a new civil marriage.

“But it’s a heroic act, and heroism is not for the average Christian.”  Click on photo of Cardinal Kasper to read the rest of this report.   Then tell us your thoughts.