PopeWatch: Kasper

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VATICAN-POPE-AUDIENCE

 Oh, we shall allow them even sin, they are weak and helpless, and they will love us like children because we allow them to sin.  We shall tell them that every sin will be expiated, if it is done with our permission, that we allow them to sin because we love them, and the punishment for these sins we take upon ourselves.

Fyodor Mikailovich Dostoevsky, The Brothers Karamazov

 

Rorate Caeli has a very interesting English translation of an interview the Pope did recently with La Nacio, Argentina’s oldest daily newspaper.  PopeWatch was intrigued by this section:

What do you think about the solution put forward by the German cardinal Walter Kasper?

– Kasper´s address to the cardinals last February included five chapters, four of them are a jewel, about the purpose of marriage, open, in depth. The fifth is the question of what do we do with divorcees who have remarried; they are part of our congregation after all. Kasper´s hypothesis is not his own. Let´s look into that. What happened? Some theologians feared such assumptions and that is keeping our heads down. Kasper urged us to seek hypothesis, i.e., he made the first move. And some panicked. And went as far as to say: Communion, never. Only spiritual Communion. And tell me, don´t we need the grace of God to receive spiritual communion? That´s why spiritual communion obtained the fewest votes in the relatio synodi, because nobody was in agreement. Those for it, because there´s not much to it, voted against it; and those who are not for it and would rather go for the other one, because it´s not worth it.

Go here to read the entire interview.  Reading over the quoted passage, PopeWatch has no doubt that the Pope is all in favor of Kasper’s proposal.  Communion for divorced Catholics whose prior marriages have not been annulled may not come to pass due to the likely schism it would cause, but if Pope Francis thought he could implement it without such a schism, PopeWatch suspects he would.

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34 Comments

  1. He’s always campaigning, isn’t he?

    Is it the translation, or does that whole spiritual communion argument make no sense? “Some say” spiritual communion only, but since we “need the grace of God to receive spiritual communion”, then…what? (I assume he’s repeating Kasper’s argument that since spiritual communion is a type of communion, then we should just drop the pretence and go all the way to full communion.)

    But then we get deep into the Franciscan weeds with the whole voting question. (And can I just say how jarring it is for a pope to be openly spitballing with the media about the voting results of a synod, as if he’s a politician or a pundit?) His words are barely coherent, but he appears to be saying that Kasper’s opponents voted against spiritual communion because “there’s not much to it” (meaning, it’s you trivial to bother arguing about?), while the Kasperites wanted to go all the way, and the current spiritual communion status quo “isn’t worth it.”

    But who knows? This is a deeply weird situation.

  2. Surely, Cardinal Walter Kasper is the very last person who needs Pope Francis to explain his views for him.
    Kasper was for thirteen years Dean of the Theological Faculty at Tübingen, where he held the Chair of Dogmatic Theology and he is a prolific author of books and papers.
    He is more than capable of speaking for himself

  3. From the questionnaire issued by the Vatican this week, it appears the Kasper proposal is alive and kicking, despite consistent assurances to the contrary.

    http://www.catholicnews.com/data/stories/cns/1405113.htm

    They aren’t giving up, and that’s understandable–the Pope is in their corner. I disagree with Donald, though–I think he will try to ram this through. His wildly-overpraised speech concluding the Synod hinted at his willingness to use papal authority.

  4. Michael PS,
    Origen, a prolific writer, was so brilliant that Aquinas and Pope Benedict both cited him with admiration yet here he is falling into also an indulgent type of error:
    ” We think that the goodness of God, through the mediation of Christ, will bring all creatures to one and the same end” (De Principiis I.6.1-3).
    And frankly I wonder if his self castration later influenced Pope Sixtus V to introduce the castrati into the papal choirs in the 1580’s which obtained for 300 years until Pope Leo XIII put an end to it in 1878.

  5. “Cardinal Walter Kasper is the very last person who needs Pope Francis to explain his views for him.” – I am with Michael PS regarding Kasper: Kasper is one smart cookie in terms of theological ability and intellectual expertise: the fact that Kasper is Bergoglio’s “portavoz” or mouthpiece should say enough. PF is wholeheartedly “on board” the Kasper train, and it seems PF is limitlessly “wowed” by Kasper’s formidable acumen, which is obvious to everyone why PF had Kasper be the keynote speaker at the Synod.

    The fact that Kasper and Bergoglio are just plain wrong is an unpleasant hindrance to them both in their quest for (as the Dostoevsky excerpt suggests) a universal dispensation from sinful action. Knowing what we know about PF, he wont give up: but will go about his break with traditional teaching in a different way, with a different method. Stay tuned.

  6. …Oh, by the way: do I understand that the SSPX is supposed to be “in schism”? And that is over what break with Christ’s teachings? And so where does that put the Bergoglio-Kasper camp?

  7. Michael Paterson Seymour,

    What do you think of Kasper’s views about opening communion to the divorced? What am I failing to appreciate about his position at Tübingen? How wise is it we listen to a German bishop at this time, considering the problems the Church is having there?

    I’m not in a position to determine these things. Whatever the outcome, I will trust it as what the Holy Spirit will allow and what our bishops counsel. But the more the subject is brought up, I feel more apprehensive about the whole thing; and that’s coming from someone who is sympathetic to the issue. When Cardinal Kasper starts talking about Catholics not able to live up to heroic virtue, praising dissenting theologians for fighting with the Pope, openly criticizing Cardinal Müeller et al.; I becomes a bit hesitant. Even though these things do not inform us on the substance of his views on marriage (which is no doubt carefully considered and indeed often persuasive) they do give me doubts about going “full-in” on his wisdom and guidance.

    But what really gets my back up is all this talk about ‘baptized pagans’. We must change the Church disciplines because of “baptized pagans;” many Catholics today are nothing but “baptized pagans”. I have a whole bunch of questions of this: What is this baptized pagan he is going on about? Uncatechized Christians? Protestants? Aquatic Mongol hordes? Who gets to decide who is still a pagan after baptism? Who is supposed to be in charge of the faith and morals of the flock? Why are are we throwing our hands up and saying we must change and accommodate these baptized pagans? Who put them in charge of the Church? And when was it that beliefs and not communion with Rome that made one a Christian? Are these pagans in communion with us? If so, why aren’t the Protestants, Orthodox, Muslims, Jews, Hindus, Buddhists, Jainist, et al also allowed? What makes these people so different that they can receive baptism but remain pagan? Is it really more accurate to say “baptized pagan” when it seems a euphemism for perfectly fine and well understood words like ignorant, heretic, apostate, lapsed, heterodox, or schismatic?
    There is something about the whole concept of baptized pagans that strikes me as an affront against the power and purpose of the sacraments, especially baptism. If such a people exist in the Church, that is on the bishops and us (in that order.) And what is their plan to alleviate this problem? Nothing, but finagle a need viewpoint until it is more pleasing to a majority or easier to implement with these pagans purportedly running around inside the church. There is a an old Jewish question, “How does God pray?” that is answered, “He prays that His attribution of mercy overcomes His attribution of justice.” We should be very careful when attempting to discern both.

  8. Can anyone explain the Eastern Orthodox position on this? I would assume they don’t just dismiss Our Lord’s clear statements in the gospels.

  9. Michael P-S, allow me to pile on.

    By the standard you set, no-one would ever need to argue on behalf of someone else’s ideas, as long as those ideas were recorded somewhere for reference. Ironic, since much of your own blog commenting consists of quoting eminent men from the past, whose writings can presumably speak for themselves.

    The Holy Father, for whatever reason, has been lauding Cardinal Kasper since the earliest days of his pontificate, and has become increasingly open about his support for Kasper’s proposal to allow people living in objective grave sin to receive the Eucharist. You’d have to ask him why he seems so darn keen on this specific issue, but it may be a result of the severe damage to Kasper’s credibility following on his remarks at the Synod.

    Pope Francis seems shrewd enough to understand that explicit support for Kasper’s proposal would likely revive the Church’s long-dormant immune system, but he is free to signal his inclinations in a large number of semi-plausibly deniable ways: by his insults directed against those opposed to Kasperism, by his invocation of a mysterious “God of surprises”, by his decision to promulgate the rejected paragraphs of the final relatio, by his personnel selection decisions, among others.

    I agree that Kasper doesn’t need the pope to speak for him, but the Holy Father does appear to have shouldered the burden nonetheless.

  10. The Dostoevsky quote is perfect.
    Should be read to the pope.

    Also, I appreciate this comment “There is something about the whole concept of baptized pagans that strikes me as an affront against the power and purpose of the sacraments… ”
    And…. “barely coherent”

  11. “Can anyone explain the Eastern Orthodox position on this? I would assume they don’t just dismiss Our Lord’s clear statements in the gospels.”

    The thing you have to remember Tom is that the Greeks were under the thumb of the Emperor. The position on divorce was the one that applied to civil law under the Emperors that allowed divorce. History is replete with examples of Orthodox Church leaders who came into conflict with Emperors who were enthusiastic devotees of “serial monogamy”, and they long fought against this, before giving way grudgingly over time.

    Many current Orthodox leaders have deplored the rise in divorce. Their position allowing divorce under certain circumstances used to be more theoretical since divorce rarely occurred. Now their cultures have the same divorce mentality that has ravaged the West.

    A good look at history behind the Orthodox stance on divorce is at the link below:

    http://chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it/articolo/1350879?eng=y

  12. Steve Phoenix asks, “do I understand that the SSPX is supposed to be “in schism”? And that is over what break with Christ’s teachings?”
    What has schism to do with Church teaching? “Schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.” (Canon 75)

    If we try to define the Church by her teaching, or the faithful by their tenets, we end up in a vicious circle; “The true church is that which teaches the true faith” and “The true faith is what the true church teaches.”

    As Mgr Ronald Knox pointed out, Catholics do have a test, which is not merely circular: “the fideles, be they many or few, be their doctrine apparently traditional or apparently innovatory, be their champions honest or unscrupulous, are simply those who are in visible communion with the see of Rome.”

    He adds that “there can be little doubt that, in the West, our labelling of this party as orthodox and that as heterodox in early Church history comes down to us from authors who were applying this test of orthodoxy and no other.” Why did those who anathematized Nestorius come to be regarded as “Catholics” rather than those who still accept his doctrines? In this case and every other, the “orthodox party” turns out to be simply the party that had the Bishop of Rome in its camp.

    Unlike wrangles over Church teaching, submission and communion are tests remarkably easy of application; just what one would expect of the criterion of a divine message, intended for all, regardless of learning, capacity or circumstances.

  13. Anzlyne,

    Seems to me that there are a good number of our Bishops that are throwing the sacraments under the bus. Archbishop Cupich for instance has said that he will not ‘politicize’ the ‘Communion Rail’ with politicians who are publicly pro choice and/or pro SS Marriage. He sees the Eucharist as a sacrament of ‘Reconciliation and Conversion’. So…….who needs Confession? I do believe the Eucharist is the prime target here. The very heart of the Church.

  14. Michael P-S,

    I’ve seen you make this point several times, and it doesn’t exactly get more persuasive with repetition.

    I admire Msgr Knox, but in this case he is ludicrously wrong. His test is indeed “remarkably easy of application”, but then so is Islam. Knox’s test effectively replaces Christ with an idol in the form of the man who happens to occupy the Throne of Peter at any given time, and reduces “orthodoxy” to a matter of this idol’s whims and passing fancies.

    St Paul’s warnings in Galatians 1:8 and 2 Corinthians 11:4 clearly refute Knox’s test. But hang on: I suppose that by the Knox Test, St Paul was only necessarily orthodox while St Peter was on the Throne, right? Well, never mind, then!

  15. Yes, I fully expected that Michael PS would undergo contortions and perform entrechats in order to maintain the fiction that the SSPX, and for that matter, the FFI Franciscans, their sisters; the CMRI’s; and all the other groups that hold traditional Catholic belief, are “schismatic”, and so ignore the elephant in the living room of a Bergoglio papacy and a Kasper vice-regency. It is better to deny the obvious than come to terms with it.

    It is better to deny that Paul resisted Peter “to the face” at the Council of Jerusalem (Gal. 2) (sounds like Paul was a “schismatic” to me, based on Canon 75); It is better to ignore St Vincent of Lerins, who of course does not base his definition of the “one,holy, Catholic ,apostolic” faith and tradition solely on a [possibly defective] papacy (“Quod ubique, quod semper, quod ab omnibus creditum est” (“That which has been believed everywhere, always, by all”). It is better to deny Bellarmine and Suarez’ reasoned evaluations that there is the possibility that a pontiff may diverge from the Faith, and what that would mean. It is better not to see a leadership of a pontiff, and cardinalate, and episcopacy, that simply seem to think they know better than Christ’s explicit teachings (specifically Mt. 19:6).

    And so where will Cardinals Pell and Burke be, some day soon, when the Bergoglio-Kasper Church issues an “executive order” re-writing the Catholic sacrament of Marriage? Pope Francis nor C. Kasper will not stop their pursuit of their plan. You just go right along with that, Michael PS.

  16. Steve Phoenix
    The Assyrians, the Armenians, the Copts and the Ethiopians would all embrace Vincent of St Lérin’s famous dictum, along with the Orthodox, High Church Anglicans and the SSPX. They would all come up with different check-lists, of course, and who is to choose between them? The doctrines they do hold, they hold as speculative opinions of their own, not on the authority of a living teacher who expounds them.
    How Bellarmine and Suarez are to be reconciled with Canon 1404 (prima sedes a nemine iudicatur (“The first See is judged by none”) I leave to those who believe the teaching of the Church is something to be searched for in the records of the past rather than something to be heard and accepted in the living present and who deny the perpetual office of the Holy Spirit.

  17. Murray wrote, “Knox’s test effectively replaces Christ with an idol in the form of the man who happens to occupy the Throne of Peter at any given time…”
    On the contrary, it rests on the belief that, in Cardinal Manning’s words, “there is a Divine Person teaching now, as in the beginning, with a divine, and therefore infallible voice; and that the Church of this hour is the organ through which He speaks to the world?
    If so, the history, and antiquity, and facts, as they are called, of the past vanish before the presence of an order of facts which are divine namely, the unity, perpetuity, infallibility of the Church of God: the body and visible witness of the Incarnate Word, the dwelling and organ of the Holy Ghost.”

  18. Again, as I expected, Michael PS opts for, instead of Simon Peter, Simon Says: the Holy Spirit is uniquely moving in a Bergoglio (Gargoglio?) papacy that ignores both Scripture and tradition (something we thought that even Novus Ordo V2 types would agree on). You see, St Vincent of Lerins’ rule is out the window, or we would have to agree with the Assyrians, Copts, etc (even as Bergoglio moves to admitting that the Greek Orthodox were “right” in terms of divorce and remarriage). You see, Bellarmine and Suarez, they were “all in the past”: the same Holy Spirit with the Catholic message was speaking a different word then, than now. I think now I understand.

  19. Looking on the bright side of things, not even the Assyrians, the Armenians, the SSPX, nor any authority in Chrstendom has ever asserted that we believe that “all dogs go to heaven..” Don’t we just have a great ‘Simon Says’, er, Simon Peter and sovereign Pontiff?

  20. Don McC – I am pretty new to your blogs but am already convinced that you are three people.
    There is a simple solution the problem of divorced catholics and communion. One spouse should simply murder the other and then be eligible for remarriage. They can make a sincere confession about the murder. In the case of most males, they may recover their children and save money on alimony.
    The learned intellectual arguments on this issue are meaningless. The words of The Word are very plain and no pope or bishop can set them aside. But let us not forget that Jesus gave communion to Judas. Many divorced and remarried Catholics go to communion regularly. Many cohabiting couples also take communion. Baby killing politicians take communion. It is their souls in peril. The Church should simply teach what she has always taught. Or shall we get a proximity card to wear around our necks that will verify our Easter duty and good standing for the Sacrament? The Synod was hatched for nefarious purposes to undermine Church teaching for no other purpose than conforming to the Modernism of contemporary immorality. Otherwise, it has no purpose. Does our Church want to support faithful marriage and families? Then it would. How? The clerics have no idea what a struggle it is for middle class parents to send kids to Catholic school. Every parish should be encouraged to support families and catholic school education by founding local endowments, safe from sex abuse litigation, to provide monies for teachers salaries at the nearest school. Staff the endowments with volunteers. Give them investment guidance to things like the Ave Maria Dividend Fund. Encourage baby boomer grandparents to make it their second most important charity. Reduce tuitions for Catholic students. Feed the lambs. Evangelize our own children. Its very easy to tell if the Church cares about the flock or only wishes to fleece it.

  21. “Or shall we get a proximity card to wear around our necks that will verify our Easter duty and good standing for the Sacrament?”

    That it not what is at stake. What is at stake is that the forces behind the Synod wish to state that Catholics living in adultery in second marriages may worthily receive Communion.

  22. Steve Phoenix: Looking on the bright side of things, not even the Assyrians, the Armenians, the SSPX, nor any authority in Chrstendom has ever asserted that we believe that “all dogs go to heaven..” Don’t we just have a great ‘Simon Says’, er, Simon Peter and sovereign Pontiff?”
    .
    I have got your name right. One Hail Mary. Thank you.
    .
    “All dogs”? NO, only those dogs who are the form of a person’s Guardian Angel. Opus Dei founder, Josemaría Escrivá, who could see his Guardian Angel was often accompanied by his Angel in the form of a dog. The question arises: Why would a soul in heaven seeing God in the Beatific Vision need anything else to be perfectly happy? Dogs have no reason to be happy in heaven.

  23. Michael Paterson-Seymour: “How Bellarmine and Suarez are to be reconciled with Canon 1404 (prima sedes a nemine iudicatur (“The first See is judged by none”) I leave to those who believe the teaching of the Church is something to be searched for in the records of the past rather than something to be heard and accepted in the living present and who deny the perpetual office of the Holy Spirit.”
    .
    Pope Francis “leaves” the papacy when he commits himself to less than orthodoxy. “The first See remains the first See and Pope Francis is Pope in name and becomes the pretender to the throne of Peter. The Chair of Peter is not empty but contains the spirit of Pope Francis (the Holy Spirit of Pope Francis) as he ought to be. How far will Pope Francis leave from the Chair of Peter? Pope Francis may become a “baptized pagan’ while still in the Chair of Peter.
    .
    It is orthodox Catholics who will do the work of Pope Francis through the Holy Spirit while Pope Francis is on sabbatical.

  24. Shawn Marshall: “Feed the lambs. Evangelize our own children. Its very easy to tell if the Church cares about the flock or only wishes to fleece it.”
    .
    This is way off the thread, but I have had “fleece” in mind all night. So remove it if you please. The House has passed Amnesty and we cannot educate our own posterity in the truth. “We, the people…”, every taxpayer, want to claim a tax deduction of the charity of amnesty.

  25. Shawn Marshall asks, “[S]hall we get a proximity card to wear around our necks that will verify our Easter duty and good standing for the Sacrament?”
    This idea of communion tokens was first proposed by John Calvin and Pierre Viret in 1560 and became very common in Presbyterian congregations. They were issued by the Elders to those whose walk and conversation they deemed qualified them for admission to the sacrament
    In Scotland, some Episcopal churches copied the practice.
    18th & 19th century examples, usually brass or pewter, are highly collectable.

  26. Mary de Voe wrote, “Pope Francis “leaves” the papacy when he commits himself to less than orthodoxy.”
    But what, then, is “orthodoxy”?
    Wittgenstein said, “There is one thing of which one can say neither that it is one metre long, nor that it is not one metre long, and that is the standard metre in Paris.—But this is, of course, not to ascribe any extraordinary property to it, but only to mark its peculiar role in the language-game of measuring with a metre-rule.—Let us imagine samples of colour being preserved in Paris like the standard metre. We define: “sepia” means the colour of the standard sepia which is there kept hermetically sealed. Then it will make no sense to say of this sample either that it is of this colour or that it is not.”
    The pope’s teaching is like Le grand K, the standard by which orthodoxy is tested.

  27. Spiritual communion is between the soul and Jesus Christ, Who knows the soul, intimately. The priest giving Holy Communion does not know the soul, intimately, and therefore, cannot be placed in the position of having to know the soul, intimately.
    .
    “Communion for divorced Catholics” ought to read: Holy Communion for divorced Catholics. If the communion with divorced individuals who have not rectified their marriage situation is allowed, than their unholy communion will bring chaos into the Catholic Church community.
    .
    I am a divorced Catholic. It is not an oxymoron. It is a desert where flowers bloom. If my ex-spouse passes, I will stay in the desert where flowers bloom.

  28. Michael Paterson-Seymour: Mary de Voe wrote, “Pope Francis “leaves” the papacy when he commits himself to less than orthodoxy.”
    But what, then, is “orthodoxy”?
    Wittgenstein said, “There is one thing of which one can say neither that it is one metre long, nor that it is not one metre long, and that is the standard metre in Paris.—But this is, of course, not to ascribe any extraordinary property to it, but only to mark its peculiar role in the language-game of measuring with a metre-rule.—Let us imagine samples of colour being preserved in Paris like the standard metre. We define: “sepia” means the colour of the standard sepia which is there kept hermetically sealed. Then it will make no sense to say of this sample either that it is of this colour or that it is not.”
    The pope’s teaching is like Le grand K, the standard by which orthodoxy is tested.
    .
    Please note that what Wittgenstein wrote is about physical matter and physical measurements.
    With the Holy Spirit, God, the dimension of the personification of the Papacy of Pope Francis and his Catholic Church in time and space takes on the relevance of the Church, the saints in heaven and the suffering in purgatory and militant on earth, fighting the battles against darkness as our duty.
    .
    Wittgenstein talks of “standards”. Jesus Christ is the “Standard” of the Catholic Church. When Pope Francis is on sabbatical, Jesus Christ fills the Chair of Peter…”before all ages”.
    .
    When Pope Francis became the Vicar of Christ, Pope Francis sits on the Chair of Peter. Should Pope Francis go on sabbatical, Jesus Christ still is seated on the Chair of Peter.
    .
    (Apply this to Obama and you have given yourself the First Amendment.)

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