The Gauntlet Has Been Cast

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34 Comments

  1. I was told by a traditionalist parish priest a decade ago that Cdl. Kasper traded in heresy. He was seriously dismayed that nothing had been done to muzzle the man.

    ==

    Supposedly, Cdl. Kasper is retired from all posts and is of an age that his position as a Cardinal is now honorary.

    Agreed, the Pope’s remarks as reported are disturbing, but it is conceivable they were pro forma.

  2. The Pope has not said “No, no, a thousand times no,” and told Cardinal Kasper to retire to a monastery in silence, at least not that I am aware. In my diocese, there is a ministry to the divorced who wish to remarry: “The Christian Service Office has available a parish mentor program for those preparing for marriage when a prior marriage exists”. No mention of needing a declaration of nullity is mentioned.

  3. The Pope has not said “No, no, a thousand times no,” and told Cardinal Kasper to retire to a monastery in silence, at least not that I am aware.

    No, only the superior of the Legion of Christ was so instructed.

  4. The marriage covenant is an irrevocable, sacred union between a man, a woman and God. Once a marriage occurs, no human means can destroy the union of husband and wife. The marriage covenant reflects the great love and covenant God has joined with His people (Eph. 5:32). Just as God’s covenant with us is irrevocable, so is the marriage covenant irrevocable.
    Contrary to what many believe, divorce does not end a marriage. Quite simply, divorce is a permanent separation of spouses recognized by the authority who grants it. A divorce does not change or remove the obligations to the marriage bond. Our Lord made this clear in Mark 10:1-12 (see also Matthew 19:1-12) and the Catholic Church upholds this divine truth.
    Moses Allowed Divorce and Remarriage, Jesus Does Not.
    Pope Benedict XVI, then Cardinal Prefect of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), wrote forcefully on the subject of the indissolubility of marriage. He concluded with a quote from the International Theological Commission’s “Propositions on the Doctrine of Christian Marriage”:
    “I would underscore that what is at stake in respect to the teaching of the indissolubility of marriage is nothing less than the Church’s fidelity to the radicalism of the Gospel. The severity does not derive from a purely disciplinary law or from a type of legalism. It is rather a judgment pronounced by Jesus Himself (Mk 10:6ff). Understood in this way, this severe norm is a prophetic witness to the irreversible fidelity of love that binds Christ to His Church. It shows also that the spouses’ love is incorporated into the very love of Christ (Eph. 5:23-32).”
    In short, because marriage is an irrevocable covenant established by God, it is not a mere personal and private act. Marriage consent pertains to the common good and directly affects the Church. Subsequently, a mere personal and private act cannot substitute for a judgment of marriage nullity. In determining such a grave matter, only the Church herself, acting in the name of Christ, has competence to pass judgment.
    Jesus’ teaching itself is embodied in the relevant Church pronouncements and laws. By making it clear that marriage is indissoluble, that teaching enables Christian couples to recognize how great a good true marriage is and to enjoy the blessings which God, from the beginning of creation, intended for man and woman. If the realization of God’s plan were not at stake, it would be possible to scrap Church pronouncements and laws in order to help civilly remarried couples. But since those pronouncements and laws implement God’s plan as revealed by Jesus, [we] cannot do other than adhere to the Good Shepherd’s word.

  5. I see this as an attempt to neuter the catholic church by forces on the outside. The catholics inside that divorce after a valid marriage, for no substantive reason, along with the men and women that practice contraception are in jeopardy with regard to the state of their soul if unrepentant. This group is a “useful tool” to the forces on the outside. At the same time, our leaders on the inside should at least support the direct words of Christ, that marriage is permanent and made so by God. We cannot “undo” a valid marriage.

    To receive the Eucharist unworthily is to bring condemnation upon yourself. God bless Cardinal Burke for “turning the light on.”

  6. There is an interesting passage in St Augustine’s Literal Commentary on Genesis, where he declares, “This good is threefold: fidelity, offspring, sacramentum. Fidelity means that one avoids all sexual activity apart from one’s marriage. Offspring means that the child is accepted in love, is nurtured in affection, is brought up in religion. The sacramentum means that the marriage is not severed nor the spouse abandoned. This is a kind of rule set for marriage, by which nature’s fruitfulness is honoured and vicious sexual vagrancy is restrained.” [ix, 7, 12]
    http://www.augustinus.it/latino/genesi_lettera/index2.htm
    Now both the context and the date of writing in the 5th century makes it clear that he is not using “sacramentum” in its modern, theological sense, which only became a technical term in the 10th century. St Augustine is using it in its everyday Latin sense: the military oath, whereby Roman soldiers swore undying loyalty to their commander and to their comrades. From this, it early acquired the general meaning of a sacred and irrevocable obligation. Sacramentum had a yet earlier meaning, as a pledge given in litigation, consigned in the hands of the Pontiff; again we find the meaning of a vow or dedication, under the sanction of religion

  7. “St. Augustine is using (the term ‘sacramentum’) in its everyday Latin sense: the military oath, whereby Roman soldiers swore undying loyalty to their commander and to their comrades.”

    So that’s where the term “sacrament” originally came from? Didn’t know that. That would seem to indicate that EVERY sacrament carries with it a corresponding promise or obligation on the part of the recipient. The pledge/obligation part is, I suppose, self-evident with regard to Baptism, Confirmation, Matrimony and Holy Orders, but maybe not so much with Holy Communion, Penance and Anointing of the Sick. If ordinary Catholics understood this aspect of “sacrament” better, then perhaps they would also understand why, for example, it is appropriate (and not just being judgmental or petty) to withhold Communion from persons living in or engaging in manifest grave sin.

  8. Elaine Krewer

    The sacraments are also seen as Divine pledges of grace to those who rightly receive them. This harks back to the very earliest use of the word, the legis actio per sacramentum, where a corporeal pledge (pignus), money or some other valuable, was consigned in the hands of the Pontiff as a stake-holder. The sacramental sign is a pledge or security.

    The root word is “sacer” meaning sacred, something belonging to or devoted to the gods. As applied to a person, it can mean cursed – delivered over to the gods’ vengeance.

  9. “This is a kind of rule set for marriage, by which nature’s fruitfulness is honoured and vicious sexual vagrancy is restrained.”
    🙂 St Augustine had quite a way with words.

  10. On pages 205-207 of the book Salt to the Earth then-Cardinal Ratzinger does what is my view the best job of addressing the painfully difficult issue. I think a few excerpts would be in order here.

    “[Divorced and remarried Catholics] are, indeed, members of the Church who, because of a specific situation in their lives, cannot go to Communion. It is beyond doubt that this is a great burden especially in our world, in which the percentages of broken marriages is increasing.

    I think this burden can be carried if it becomes clear that there are also other people who may not receive Communion. The real reason the problem has become so dramatic is that Communion has become sort of a social rite and that one is really stigmatized if one doesn’t participate in it. If it becomes plain again that many people should be saying to themselves: I’ve got a few things to answer for. I cannot go up to Communion as I am now; and if, as Saint Paul put it, the discernment of the body of Christ is once more practices in this way, the situation will immediately take on a different look. that is one condition. The second is tht they have to feel that, in spite of everything, they are accepted by the Church, that the Church suffers with them.

    Of course, that would have to find some expression in the life of a community. And taking this renunciation [not receiving Communion] upon oneself, one does something for the Church and for humanity, in that one bears a kind of witness to the uniqueness of marriage. I think that thisd in turn also has a very important aspect, namely, the recognition that suffering and renunciation can be something positive and that we find a new appreciation for these things. And finally that we also recover the awareness that one can meaningfully and fruitfully participate in the celebration of the Mass, and of the Eucharist, without going to Communion each time.

    The principles have been decided, but factual questions, individual questions, are of course always possible. For example, perhaps in the future there could also be an extrajudicial determination that the first marriage did not exist. This could be ascertained locally by experienced pastors. Such juridical developments, which can make things less complicated, are conceivable. But the principle that marriage is indissoluble and that someone who has left the valid marriage of his life, the sacrament, and entered into another marriage cannot communicate does in fact hold definitively.”

  11. Anzlyne wrote, “St Augustine had quite a way with words.”

    Even better in the original, “Haec est tamquam regula nuptiarum, qua vel naturae decoratur fecunditas, vel incontinentiae regitur pravitas.”

    His complete works are on line.
    http://www.augustinus.it/latino/index.htm

    He was an enormously prolific preacher, author, controversialist and letter writer and one of the last great exponents of the art of Latin rhetoric that had developed in the popular assemblies and law courts of the Roman Republic. Even from a purely literary point of view, he and Bœthius represent the last late flowering of classical antiquity in the West. It could be said of him, as Bl John Henry Newman said of Cicero, “other people wrote Latin, but he wrote Roman.”

  12. Reaching out to the perps as they immolate their victims, as is the case of unrepentant adulterers who persecute their abandoned spouses in front of their own children and the world, will not bring THEM to the repentance and healing of those marriages that the gospel, at least as I believe I was taught it, seemed to teach when I was a boy. It is a very poor gamble and seems to also presume that those faithful spouses and their children are “safely and securely in God’s good graces and in no danger of loosing their faith or salvation.”

    This abandoned husband and father is sick of sympathy for the unrepentant that punishes the truth and the victims but I am more sick with the self righteously holier than thow “good catholics” who find it a pleasure, as I have seen for many years, to pounch upon those in my position who are being destroyed from every side.

    ALL of this is sheer madness. Lip service is given to our souls as our physical, emotional and spiritual existance is being completely undermined, as each of the “sides” in these “battles” basks in its afterglow, and our faith withers and withers.

    I remain Catholic for the sake of the request of two of our five children.

    But my resolve, in spite of my love for all of our kids and the example of struggling faithfulness I have suffered to give to them, is so tenuous that
    believing in a loving God who died on a cross for my sins is becoming more mythological for me by the day and quaint but out of touch with the reality I live.

    Forbear my despair, Don.

  13. A Catholic who has been divorced is NOT excommunicated. One who has divorced and remarried without an annullment cannot receive Communion. Like so many other things, the Church does not communicate her teaching clearly.

    Not too long ago, I was watching one of those prison shows that show up on National Geographic. In a county jail in Colorado was an attorney, put in prison by a vindictive ex wife for contempt of court allegedly failing to pay child support. He wanted out of his marriage. He can’t pay child support in prison and his ex wife won’t drop the charges to allow him to work and pay the child support. His career as a lawyer is finished.

  14. Karl: “believing in a loving God who died on a cross for my sins is becoming more mythological for me by the day and quaint but out of touch with the reality I live.”
    .
    To WHOM will you go? Christ has the words of eternal life? You cannot live another person’s life for them. You can only live your own life.
    .
    Penguins Fan: “One who has divorced and remarried without an annullment cannot receive Communion.”
    .
    He has self-excommunicated himself by the mortal sin of adultery. He cannot receive Communion because he has self-excommunicated himself and this cannot be fixed by anyone but himself, with repentance and restitution. Not even the Pope of Cardinal Kasper can fix this without the free will repentance and restitution of the self-excommunicant.

  15. Mary de Voe wrote, “He has self-excommunicated himself by the mortal sin of adultery”

    No, he has not. A person in mortal sin may not receive the sacraments, but he incurs none of the other effects of excommunication.

    An excommunicated person is forbidden to assist at mass or the divine office and other sacred ceremonies; indeed, these must be suspended, if he cannot be removed; not so a person in mortal sin

    An excommunicated person is not prayed for in the public prayers of the Church; a person in mortal sin may be.

    If an excommunicated person is buried in consecrated ground, he must be removed and the cemetery re-consecrated; not so in the case of a person in mortal sin.

    An excommunicated cleric demits any office or benefice and cannot elect or be elected to any office; not so one in mortal sin.

    An excommunicated person cannot bring proceedings before Church tribunals; a person in mortal sin may.

    For the security and protection of the faithful, most of these effects only apply when the sentence or censure shall have been published or made known by the judge in special and express form, against some certain, specified person (Council of Constance “Ad evitenda scandala”)

  16. Michael Paterson-Seymour: “No, he has not. A person in mortal sin may not receive the sacraments, but he incurs none of the other effects of excommunication.”
    .
    Do all these circumstances pertain to latae sententiae, self excommunication?

  17. Mary de Voe asked, “Do all these circumstances pertain to latae sententiae, self excommunication?”

    Yes, but subject to Ad evitenda scandala, that is, only when the judge declares the censure has been incurred.

    The only latae sententiae excommunications in the current Code of Canon Law are
    • an apostate from the faith, a heretic, or a schismatic (c 1384);
    • a person who throws away the consecrated Eucharistic species or takes and retains them for a sacrilegious purpose (c 1367);
    • a person who uses physical force against the Pope (c 1370);
    • a priest who uses confession as a pretext to solicit the penitent to break the commandment against adultery (c 1378);
    • a bishop who ordains someone a bishop without a papal mandate, and the person who receives the ordination from him (c 1382)
    • a confessor who directly violates the sacramental seal of confession (c 1388);
    • a person who procures a completed abortion (c 1398);
    • accomplices without whose assistance a violation of a law prescribing latae sententiae excommunication would not have been committed (c 1329)

  18. Cardinal Kasper’s address was overall well accepted by the assembled Cardinals. What was not accepted, even within the consistory that day, was his last section on ‘pastoral possibilities’ including the reception of Holy Communion after a period of penance. Cardinal Burke in the above interview certainly threw down the gauntlet, but he is not the first nor the only Cardinal to do so-including Cardinal O’Malley.

    Cardinal Kasper however has done something far worse. The content of his message was for the Cardinals only-where it could be legitimately heard, discussed and debated. Kasper (or those closely allied with him) had the address published. This is exactly the tactic of the dissidents almost fifty years ago surrounding the “birth control issue’-both the leaking of the Papal Commission’s findings and even the dissemination of Humanae Vitae to dissident theologians with dissident note-before the actual publication of the encyclical.

    Kasper has not only done a disservice to the Church in his ‘pastoral possibilities’ ultimately undermining the teaching on the indissolubility of marriage, but has at a certain level harmed ecclesial communion within the hierarchy and the communion of the Church.

  19. Cardinal Donald Wuerl declared in a public forum at Little Flower Church in Bethesda, Md.: “I will not deny Communion to anyone who has not been formally excommunicated.”

    Logically, this would mean that Cardinal Wuerl will allow the divorced-and-remarried to receive Communion.

    But don’t worry. He didn’t really mean it. What he meant was that he will continue to insist that pro-abortion politicians and activists be given Communion.

    For some unpublicized reason, Wuerl has always had a soft spot in his heart for pro-abortion politicians and activists. Also, when in Pittsburgh, Wuerl continued the “Dignity Masses”–i.e., Wuerl had no problem with Masses attended mostly by publicly-announced practicing homosexuals.

    Does the Pope care that Wuerl, Dolan, Chaput, George, O’Malley, and virtually all other bishops in America refuse to deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians and activists?

    There isn’t a scintilla of evidence that he does.

  20. Cardinal Donald Wuerl declared in a public forum at Little Flower Church in Bethesda, Md.: “I will not deny Communion to anyone who has not been formally excommunicated.”

    Logically, this would mean that Cardinal Wuerl will allow the divorced-and-remarried to receive Communion.

    But don’t worry. He didn’t really mean it. What he meant was that he will continue to insist that pro-abortion politicians and activists be given Communion.

    For some unpublicized reason, Wuerl has always had a soft spot in his heart for pro-abortion politicians and activists. Also, when in Pittsburgh, Wuerl continued the “Dignity Masses” for nine years after the Vatican ordered them shut down. I.e., Wuerl had no problem with Masses attended mostly by publicly-announced practicing homosexuals.

    Does the Pope care that Wuerl, Dolan, Chaput, George, O’Malley, and virtually all other bishops in America refuse to deny Communion to pro-abortion politicians and activists?

    There isn’t a scintilla of evidence that he does.

  21. They don’t have to be formally excommunicated- they excommunicate themselves by their public statements and actions . They just don’t have the respect/courtesy to stay away.
    What would it take for the Cardinal to show some respect.

  22. Anzlyne wrote, “They don’t have to be formally excommunicated- they excommunicate themselves by their public statements and actions,”

    but, as I noted above, the Council of Constance in “Ad evitenda scandala” provided that no one (including a bishop) has to act on that fact, unless “the sentence or censure shall have been published or made known by the judge in special and express form, against some certain, specified person.”

  23. Anzlyne,
    Technically, those who commit mortal sin do not excommunicate themselves. However, they do separate themselves from Jesus and His Church; there is a difference.
    To receive Holy Communion while in the state of mortal sin is a sacrilege.
    Sacrilege is a sin against the First Commandment. Jesuit Father, John Hardon, in his Catholic Catechism, defines the term sacrilege as a sin against the first commandment:

    “The term “sacrilege” is commonly used to describe any profanation of what is sacred, for example, perjury or blasphemy. But strictly speaking, a sacrilege is the violation or contemptuous treatment of a person, place, or thing publicly dedicated to the worship or service of God. Thus a sacrilege… is called real when committed against a sacred object, for example, treating the Blessed Sacrament irreverently or administering or receiving the Eucharist in a state of mortal sin. One of the clearest allusions to such irreverent treatment of the Eucharist occurs in St. Paul’s first letter to the Corinthians, chapter 11, verses 29 & 30, when he warned that ‘a person who eats and drinks without recognizing the body (of the Lord) is eating and drinking his own condemnation. In fact, that is why many of you are weak and ill and some of you have died.’ Paul considered the sickness and death of some Corinthians to have been a punishment for irreverence to ‘the body and blood of the Lord.’”

    The fact remains that bishops are stewards of souls, who will one day stand before the Master to give an accounting. Referring to those who aspire to be bishops, St. John Chrysostom wrote, “The loss of one soul carries with it a penalty which no language can represent. For if the salvation of that soul was of such value, that the Son of God became man, and suffered so much, think how sore a punishment must the losing of it bring!” (Homily III: Acts I. 12).

    I have visions of Satan and his minions dancing with joy. He is pretty much assured of the souls of the our pro-abortion politician like Pelosi. He also counts the bishops and priests who hypocritically neglect their responsibilities as stewards of souls.

    What has been sublimated is the fear of God’s justice. Some, clergy and laity alike, want to believe that God will understand their decision to reject Him; that He will overlook our sins because of His love for us. Others, simply do not believe in God’s existence.

  24. There is legitimate disagreement over the use of the canon law calling upon bishops and priests to refuse Holy Communion to those who are in obvious state of not being in full communion with the Catholic Church. The bishops have taken one stand seeking to speak with the individual politician in this case concerning their lack of full communion and to refrain from coming to Holy Communion [people who take a more strict interpretation of the canon frequently forget that this ‘conversation’ is and or has taken place. If the Catholic proceeds to receive Holy Communion even with that pastoral exhortation, the Catholic is committing a sacrilege. If the conversation has not or is not taking place THEN the bishop (in this case) needs to be taken to task.

    I am afraid however that the wrong emphasis often times comes through in all of this debate. Holy Communion is not a ‘prize’ for being a ‘good Catholic’. On the ecclesial sacramental level it represents that one is indeed in full communion with the Church-which obviously many public Catholics are not. On an even deeper level, however, the Sacrament of the Most Holy Eucharist is, to put it simply, dynamite or nitro-glycerin. If you ‘mistreat’ ‘It” [It is really a He-a Him!] you do so at your own peril. This is what Saint Paul is getting at in 1 Corinthians 11. All Catholics need to relook at the Sacrament. All Catholics have to come to terms with WHO it is we are receiving, and whether or not we really are ready to receive the King of Kings.

    That scene in “The Last Crusade where Indiana Jones has made it into the chamber where the Holy Grail is and the Nazi stooge comes in after him, having killed, used etc so many to get there. The Austrian professor picks out what is supposedly the Grail, gives it to him and he takes and drinks. Immediately his life leaves him, and he disintegrates. Dear LORD, what do we think really happens when anyone unworthily, ill -prepared and not in full comunion with the Church dares to receive the Most Blessed Sacrament?

  25. In Ex Omnibus Christiani Orbis (16 October 1756) Pope Benedict XIV, perhaps the greatest canonist to sit in the chair of St Peter, dealt with the question of Jansenists who had not been formally excommunicated and who requested the Holy Viaticum

    “ In these circumstances they [parish priests] should, delaying any decisions, address the sick person with all gentleness and mildness, not like one who disputes and is anxious to convince. They should show him the reasons why the conduct of his life is suspect and implore him to come to his senses. Then they should convince him that although they are prepared to administer the Body of Christ, and actually may even administer it, this will not itself make him safe before the tribunal of Christ. If indeed he had not repented, it will make him guilty of a new and horrible crime, eating and drinking judgment on himself. In addition they will administer the sacrament of the Body of Christ to him for no other reason than to obey the Church, which strives to avoid public scandal, and to prevent infamy for the sick person himself. Although she considers him to be a sinner in the sight of God, she does not recognize him as a public and notorious sinner in her tribunal.”

    We can only admire the moderation and prudence of this great jurist.

  26. “…the Council of Constance in “Ad evitenda scandala” provided that no one (including a bishop) has to act on that fact, unless “the sentence or censure shall have been published or made known by the judge in special and express form, against some certain, specified person.”
    .
    Secretary Kathleen Sebelius of the Department of Health and Human Services was prohibited by her bishop from the Sacrament of Holy Eucharist. This was made public. To her credit Sebelius has refrained from approaching the Sacrament.

  27. AMEN! Amen! Before the full fire of my conversion took hold of me, it was December of 2008. At Holy Mass, just before going up to receive our Lord, just after praying, “Lord I am not worthy to receive you, but only say the word and I shall be healed, I heard in my heart, very distinctly “DO NOT receive me.” So I didn’t. I cried. Tears ran down my cheeks.

    I understood that moment that I needed to take care of my sin, repent and do what is right and just. I shook at the thought of telling my, the man who I called my husband for three years. Would he understand? Would he leave me? I brought this up to my confessor who reassured me, DO NOT receive our Lord because I had been married outside of the Church, after divorcing my first husband. Thus the annulment process began and the 4 years of deep repentance, and CHASTITY (my current husband and I living as brother & sister) began.

    I was able to receive our Lord after a time of not having relations with my, the man I called my husband and grew through our Lords grace, to understand it truly IS Him in the Eucharist, after many years “thinking” maybe it was Him. In that time, I fell in love with our Lord.

    During the time I could not receive, I attended Holy Mass daily anyway, and when it came time to receive Him, it was as if I was chained to the pillar, receiving my lashes for my sin against Him. It was very painful and He shared this with me, so I would grow closer to Him.

    It’s VERY important NOT to be in a state of Mortal sin when receiving Him. Straight couples, or homosexual. We are ALL called to chastity and when we refuse to use that grace of His, we are refusing Him. When you refuse Him in “Spirit”, please don’t receive Him in the flesh.

    I am posting this for all souls today, cohabitation before marriage, engaging in sexual relations before marriage and for all homosexual relations as to when NOT to receive our Lord in Holy Communion. To receive our Lord in a state of Mortal Sin is receiving death.

    Blessed is the one who listens to me, watching daily at my gates, waiting beside my doors. – Proverbs 8:34

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