Cardinal Kasper Debates John the Baptist

Saturday, August 29, AD 2015


John the Baptist:  For Herod himself had sent and apprehended John, and bound him in prison for the sake of Herodias the wife of Philip his brother, because he had married her.

Cardinal Kasper:  Often pastors want to control human life. It’s clericalism.  They don’t trust people and therefore don’t respect the conscience of people.

John the Baptist:  For John said to Herod: It is not lawful for thee to have thy brother’ s wife.

Cardinal Kasper:  Of course, we have to give guidelines from the Gospel and remind people of the commandments of the Lord, but then we should trust that the Holy Spirit is working in the hearts and in the conscience of our people.

 John the Baptist:  But Herod the tetrarch, when he was reproved by him for Herodias, his brother’s wife, and for all the evils which Herod had done;  he added this also above all, and shut up John in prison.

Cardinal Kasper:  Therefore divorced and remarried people should find a good priest confessor who accompanies them for some time and if this second, civil marriage, is solid then the path of new orientation can end with a confession and absolution.  Absolution means admission to Holy Communion.  

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16 Responses to Cardinal Kasper Debates John the Baptist

  • There ain’t a dance out there by any girl that would make me promise half of anything let alone a kingdom.
    Herod must have been stoned and the Bible leaves us to discern it after many years. He was on his fifth goblet of Jack Daniels.
    On a more serious note, the Old Testament repeatedly promise long years of life for righteousness to old testament man as in:

    ” My son, forget not my law; but let thine heart keep my commandments: For length of days, and long life, and peace, shall they add to thee.” Proverbs 3:1-2

    They were also promised no miscarriages in the Sinai Covenant. We are not so promised but are promised a cross. John the Baptist and others under the old law were exceptions and forerunners of the new promise…the cross in matters physical. Moses had full strength of body til he was 120 years old. I doubt any Christian ever had that.

  • ps
    Great contrapunctal contrast. John the Baptist was so non dialogic….so 29 AD….so locust and wild honey.

  • Brilliant. Thanks be to God.

  • I wonder if John the Baptist was being judgmental, the anathema of today’s culture?
    What will Cardinal Kasper say when he finds himself standing beside King Herod in the next life?

  • +Kasper is clearly after money. I think everyone is aware of how the Church is funded in Germany and how big the Church bureaucracy is in Germany and how Germans are rapidly deserting the Church.

    +Marx and +Kasper’s scheme is to take Martin Luther’s approach. Hey, Lutherans and Catholics signed the Joint Declaration, and Lutherans remarry after divorce (this permitted by an ecclesiastical community founded by someone who invented Sola Scriptura and then ignored it when it came to divorce), so why not Catholics? +Kasper and +Marx likely remind the Vatican of how much of their funds come from Germany. So, the FFI gets slapped around, the likes of +Cupich get named to archdioceses and the Roman Pontiff badmouths free market economies – the same economies that enable Catholics of those countries to fund the Vatican (while downplaying the violence committed against Catholics by Muslims).

    Is it any wonder people leave the Church for evangelical pep rallies or for sleeping in on Sundays?

  • I told my 18 yrs of 9th grade CCD students, “you will never be able to say that no one ever taught the truths of the faith.” 1, 2, 5,6,7,8,9 commandments taught in depth, with a fun but serious view of the why’s. Which picked up the other 3 quite well. As for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.

  • “Penguins Fan … Kasper is clearly after money…”

    Yep, 30 pieces of silver to be exact.

  • “bill bannon ….There ain’t a dance out there by any girl that would make me promise half of anything let alone a kingdom.”

    But, you ain’t never seen my grandma do the minuet?

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  • Is Kasper’s end-game merely divorce? I don’t think so.

    It strikes me that, if he can get the Church to declare Christ’s own words subject to interpretation, how much more so Paul’s?

    I suggest to you that the real target isn’t any particular rule but the concept of interpretation of scripture itself. He wants to say “ALL of scripture is subject to the evolution of social norms and must be interpreted in light of Man’s collective wisdom.” How else can one set aside the specific prohibitions against homosexual conduct that have been with the Church since her founding?

    No, I don’t think this is about divorce, it is about something far more important.

  • If Herod was indeed a king, he would have the sovereignty and knowledge of himself to rule instead of cowtowing to political correctness. And as far as his wife of sorts, Herod would have saved St. John for the sake of his sovereign personhood, and not have the man murdered because Herodious did not agree with John’s opinion. Neither one of them, herod and herodius, had any sense of Justice or Sovereignty. Some king, I might add, rotted to death in his tent.

  • Again:James 1: 27 Religion that is pure and undefiled before God and the Father is this: to visit orphans and widows in their affliction, and to keep oneself unstained from the world.
    “to keep oneself unstained from the world” This is the crux of the environmental issues and the save the whales agenda. The only saving of creation that counts in the eyes of God are the orphans and widows. Sitting at Mass Sunday was St. James addressing Pope Francis’ visit to America, admonishing us all “to keep oneself unstained from the world” Relinquish Gaia, the whales, the fracking, the redistribution of wealth already addressed as that issue of religion and our relationship with God: “to visit the orphans and widows in their affliction.”

  • An oath to commit evil is not a valid oath. Oaths are promises to God.

  • David Spaulding,
    Precisely. Kasper wants to destroy the Faith, and he’s been pushing this stuff since the 60s, long before the Kirchensteuer was an issue. It’s comforting for many Catholics to think that this is merely about money for the German bishops, but that doesn’t explain why so many of Kasper’s allies come from countries where they have no such monetary incentives. The true explanation is more frightening: like many heretics in history, these men loath the Church and wish to see her destroyed.

“Because Shut Up” He Said

Wednesday, October 15, AD 2014

How do you solve a problem like Walter?

Walter Cardinal Kasper, that is.

Cardinal Kasper, who is leading the charge to allow some civilly divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Holy Communion, has given an interview with Zenit. The entire thing is a dispiriting mess, but the truly horrendous part comes partway through the interview.

I do not see this going on in the Pope’s head. But I think the majority of these five people are open people who want to go on with this. The problem, as well, is that there are different problems of different continents and different cultures. Africa is totally different from the West. Also Asian and Muslim countries, they’re very different, especially about gays. You can’t speak about this with Africans and people of Muslim countries. It’s not possible. It’s a taboo. For us, we say we ought not to discriminate, we don’t want to discriminate in certain respects.

But are African participants listened to in this regard?

No, the majority of them [who hold these views won’t speak about them].

They’re not listened to?

In Africa of course [their views are listened to], where it’s a taboo.

What has changed for you, regarding the methodology of this synod?

I think in the end there must be a general line in the Church, general criteria, but then the questions of Africa we cannot solve. There must be space also for the local bishops’ conferences to solve their problems but I’d say with Africa it’s impossible [for us to solve]. But they should not tell us too much what we have to do. (emphasis mine)

So a Prince of the Church has essentially dismissed the viewpoints of an entire continent, as well as a large chunk of another. This from a Cardinal who only moments earlier had praised Pope Francis because:

Is there any sense that he’s trying to push things in that direction?

He does not push. His first speech was freedom: freedom of speech, everyone should say what he thinks and what he has on his mind and this was very positive.

Well, obviously it’s only positive so long as those backward ninnies from Africa and the Middle East keep their pieholes shut, right Cardinal?

By the way, people should not disregard how awful the rest of the interview is. First, here’s the Cardinal sounding like he would be a good addition to the National Catholic Reporter:

But people feel the Church’s teaching is going to be undermined by your proposal if it passes, that it’s undoing 2,000 years of Church teaching. What is your view on this?

Well nobody is putting into question the indissolubility of marriage. I think it wouldn’t be a help for people, but if you look to the word of Jesus, there are different synoptic gospels in different places, in different contexts. It’s different in the Judeo-Christian context and in the Hellenistic context. Mark and Matthew are different. There was already a problem in the apostolic age. The Word of Jesus is clear, but how to apply it in complex, different situations? It’s a problem to do with the application of these words.

And for those who still think the relatio is nothing to get too worked up about, there’s this gem:

The teaching does not change?

The teaching does not change but it can be made more profound, it can be different. There is also a certain growth in the understanding of the Gospel and the doctrine, a development. Our famous Cardinal Newman had spoken on the development of doctrine. This is also not a change but a development on the same line. Of course, the Pope wants it and the world needs it. We live in a globalized world and you cannot govern everything from the Curia. There must be a common faith, a common discipline but a different application.

But remember kids, you have nothing to worry about. No doctrine is going to change.

You may now resume putting your heads in the sand.

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42 Responses to “Because Shut Up” He Said

  • Good quote from the Bible for the heretic, Cardinal Kasper. “If anyone preaches to you a gospel, besides that which you have received, let him be an anathema.” (Gal. 1:9)

  • Number Seven: “You shall not commit adultery.”

    But hey! They’ll change objective truth and fabricate a substitute as they go.

    Confusion and doubt. Doubt and confusion.

  • And for those who still think the relatio is nothing to get too worked up about, there’s this gem:

    The teaching does not change?
    The teaching does not change but it can be made more profound, it can be different. There is also a certain growth in the understanding of the Gospel and the doctrine, a development. Our famous Cardinal Newman had spoken on the development of doctrine. This is also not a change but a development on the same line. Of course, the Pope wants it and the world needs it. We live in a globalized world and you cannot govern everything from the Curia. There must be a common faith, a common discipline but a different application.
    – See more at:

    I read that quote with as critical an eye as possible and there was nothing it contained which was not true.

    Wouldn’t it be better to provide quotes and dissect them substantively rather than to assume that such quotes are meat for the orthodox lions to devour reflexively?

  • Walter Kasper deserves to be sent to a Cistercan (sic) monastery for the rest of his days. He is obnoxious and revolting. By extension, our Holy Father allows him to run around wherever he wants and says nothing about Kasper’s rantings.

    Remember a year and a half ago when the Rorate combox went into meltdown over Bergoglio? They were right. Pope Francis is supposed to come to Philadelphia next year. I would not cross the state to see him. Hell, i would not cross the street to look at him.

  • As for Kasper one could say: “We specialize in quality guess work.”

  • Psalm 55, in small part,
    If this had been done by an enemy
    I could bear his taunts.
    If a rival had risen against me,
    I could hide from him.
    But it is you, my own companion,
    my intimate friend!
    How close was the friendship between us.
    We walked together in harmony
    in the house of God…
    The traitor has turned against his friends;
    he has broken his word.
    His speech is softer than butter,
    but war is in his heart.
    His words are smoother than oil,
    but they are naked swords.

  • Liberal progressives are the ultimate racists. Always have been. Always will be.

  • They keep saying teaching won’t be changed- we learned from the “spirit” of Vatican 2 that you don’t need to change teachings as long as you change practice– and eventually practice becomes the belief- lex orandi credendi etc
    Read “Gradualism” and the Inevitability of Doctrinal Change at Queering the Church

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  • A vast gulf separates the cultures of Africa and Asia from that of nations long christened.

    As Jacques Maritain said of the United States, “In a more general way, if we bear in mind some of the remarks previously made, how could we be surprised at the existence of an unquestionable diffused religious inspiration in the background of the American lay or secular common consciousness? What is the objective meaning of that transmutation which I have pointed out, of the sufferings of the poor and the wounded into a new strength and a new hope, — if not a Christian meaning projected into the sphere of temporal, social and political existence? Except under the shadow of the Gospel such a phenomenon could neither take place nor make sense in human history… At this point let me insist that the religious inspiration with which we are confronted in the temporal consciousness of this country is not a particular religious creed as defined in the spiritual order of religion and religious truth itself, but rather a projection of religious belief into the temporal order, — a temporal projection of religious belief which holds in actual fact even for many who have slipped away from religious faith, though it can obviously preserve its vitality only if in many others it is not cut off from living religious faith. So the existence of this common religious “temporalized” inspiration is compatible with the astonishing multiplicity of religious creeds and denominations which history, as we observed, has caused to come about in the spiritual structure of the American nation.”

  • Synod on the Family.
    Integrity and sobriety or no supper.

  • Kasper says that Jesus’s quote on marriage is clear. Kasper then says it is a complex situation. Typical liberal diatribe.

  • I have had to increase my blood pressure med dosage. I believe in the One Holy Catholic and Apostolic Church. I will go and receive the Sacraments and believe that I am doing the right thing. I will not adhere to this diabolical blather. Yesterday while having breakfast at the local restaurant there was a full out verbal battle due to an article in the St. Paul paper. The confusion and arrogance of practicing Catholics was astounding. Or maybe I’m totally wrong. (And I was very Christian about the whole thing as I wanted to go back to my primal ranting’s) It’s really hard to turn the other cheek and be charitable.

  • Tamsin, You have hit the nail right on the head with your psalm.

  • If I die soon I want them to put this on my gravestone, “She died from a broken Catholic heart”.

  • Jeanne, take heart. Many post Vatican II Catholics don’t know the teachings that were preached and taught before Vatican II. Vatican II was a disaster. This present regime will not teach doctrine with which they disagree. Of course, Catholics are not learning some of the teachings of the church.

  • Pat, laughter is the best medicine, even in these dark and deadly times. We must laugh lest we cry all the time. I especially liked Eccles’ recent “Bitter Disagreement at the Synod (664AD)” and “Catholic Church Endorses a Dalek Lifestyle”, especially his use of Bacon’s Pope painting. Talk about subverting the subversives! #winning

  • joe DeCarlo wrote, “Many post Vatican II Catholics don’t know the teachings that were preached and taught before Vatican II”
    The principle underlying every heresy is that 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.
    As Cardinal Manning insisted, “No Catholic would first take what our objectors call history, fact, antiquity and the like, and from them deduce his faith ; and for this reason, the faith was revealed and taught before history, fact or antiquity existed… The Church, which teaches him now by its perpetual living voice, taught the same faith before as yet the Church had a history or an antiquity… In truth, and at the root, is not this inverted and perverse method a secret denial of the perpetual office of the Holy Ghost? The first and final question to be asked of these controversialists is : Do you or do you not believe that 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 now as in the beginning: the same yesterday, to-day, and forever: its own antiquity and its own history.”

  • “The principle underlying every heresy is that 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.”

    Quite untrue.

  • it is too long to quote, but take a look at the First Vatican Council’s writings concerning Jesus saying to Peter, “Upon this rock I will build my church.” Then Take a look at what Pope Francis said about the same quote. You will see a major difference.

  • Donald R McClarey

    Every heresy, without exception, claimed that the Church of its day had departed from some pristine truth and appealed to the Church of the New Testament, or the Church of the Fathers or what have you, against the Magisterium that condemned them.
    Invariably, they were condemned as innovators and invariably they claimed to be preserving, or to be restoring, the primitive doctrine of the Church.

  • The pope says that everyone can be saved. Not according to what I learned during the pre-Vatican II days. Our priests and clerics constantly quoted Jesus, I am the Way, the Truth and the Life. The Only way to the Father is through me.” Notice, Jesus said the ONLY way. The pope said that Jews and Muslims pray to the same God. That is not what I was taught in my 12 years of Catholic school. Jews and Muslims do not go through Jesus to get to God. Jesus said to the Jews, “If you don’t believe that I am He, you will die in your owns sins.” Has any post vatican II pope preached that. “Those who are baptized and believe will be saved. Those who don’t believe are already condemned.” When was the last time you heard a pope proclaim those teachings of Jesus. We heard constantly during the pre-Vatican II days. The Modernists are either giving us half the teachings of Jesus or none all. Why doesn’t the pope quote the above to the world? Isn’t he supposed to teach what Jesus taught?

  • What you say MPS is simply factually incorrect. Explain to me how what you say applies to the Modernists, the Albigensians, Islam, if that is considered a Christian heresy, Docetism, Ophites, Montanists, and the list could go on for a very long length.

  • I had said starting some months ago that this synod when announced, and as it came to into formation, would be the category-5 disaster it is now come to be. Some assailed this position as Bergoglio-hating, the contemporary ecclesiastical equivalent of race-smearing in politics today.
    Sorry, but like the nation, we have a leadership problem. The facts I see: a not-very-theologically erudite pontiff as organizational leader, who prefers to lead from behind, who historically has kept intellectual company with very strange bedfellows (his amanuensis, the late Card. Martini; Rabbi Abraham Skorka of Buenos Aires, who has openly called him “a revolutionary”; ex-Franciscan and radical Leonardo Boff [who blames the US for the cause of 9-11: see his essay”What Caused 9-11?”]; or Bergoglio’s oft-expressed admiration for equally radical lib theo Gustavo Gutierrez). I can go on: a strange pontiff who attributes supreme value to the vague concept of “dialogue”, yet is a heavy Argentine authoritarian when opposed; and one who has a very weak Catholic philosophical and historical education (yes, I know he has a licentiate in philosophy, but it was earned in 1960 from the San Miguel, Buenos Aires theologate—not known as a strong theological center— and his later theological education in the 1960’s prior to ordination was undoubtedly deficient in being able to effectively critique the new philosophical existentialism underpinning Rahner, Schillebeeckx, Kung, and other Nouvelle Theologie-types).

    There is his oft-hidden failure at advanced studies in theology at Frankfurt, especially the false claim that he finished his doctorate and thesis. This is important because it does matter now: Kasper, Danneels, and Lehmann are really running things (say what you want, but these 3 are profoundly skilled), and they have the clout and support of the progressive European cardinalate now in collegially exercising their control over the “Roman” Catholic Church. Everyone is confused now, and Bergoglio calls it a positive development.

  • The plot thickens. According to this (you’re going to need to use google translate) not only does Cardinal Kasper deny saying these words, it sounds like he denies even giving this interview.

  • Good post, Steve.

  • The Zenit link is now 404.
    “Ich bin schockiert. So habe ich nie über Afrikaner geredet und würde ich auch nie reden. Ich stelle fest: Von Zenit hat sich mir in diesen Tagen und Wochen nie jemand vorgestellt und mich nie jemand um ein Interview gebeten. Niemand von Zenit hat von mir ein Interview erhalten.”
    “I am shocked. I’ve never said anything like that about Africans, and I never would. Please note: Nobody from Zenit contacted me in the past days or weeks, and nobody asked for an interview. Nobody from Zenit got an interview from me.”

  • The journalist who conducted the interview has evidently released a recording of said interview, so . . . .

    Stay tuned.

  • . . . And here’s the reporter, Edward Pentin, providing audio proof of the interview.

    But don’t judge Cardinal Kasper too harshly. He was likely mistranslated/quoted about not giving the interview in which he was mistranslated/quoted speaking as he did about Africans.

  • “The journalist who conducted the interview has evidently released a recording of said interview, so . . . .”

    Perhaps the Cardinal is living out gradualism. He is a liar but is seeking to come closer and closer to living the true life of a Christian. We should see him not as a liar, but accept him as someone who has particular gifts to bring to the Christian Community. Perhaps his particular gifts are those of developing age old doctrines to be more in line with the Modern, German mindset.

  • Your list, Mr.McClarey, proves his point. All of those groups claimed a continuation either of true past teachings or secret dogmas for the imitated. In many instances, the historical records make the claims plausible if not accurate or valid. The Montanists claimed the gift of prophecy passed to them from Agabus, and the daughters of Philip the Evangelist. There is no reason to doubt the sincerity or earnestness of the claim. Montanus and his followers would have been only a century out of the closing of the Apostolic age with its public prophesy, open canon and a forming, nascent church. We see a similiar pattern with those groups which held Docetist or Adoptionist beliefs, which very plausibly trace back to the very beginning. Even Marcion of Sinope and his ditheism touched upon what must have been an already old and popular tradition explaining the relationship of Gentiles and Jews in the event of Christ. An attempt to extricate Christianity completely from Jewish sources and influence has been a constant and perennial heresy; with 20 centuries behind it, it has much as claim as the pristine and historical tradition as the orthodox positions.

    What Mr.Paterson-Seymour fails to explain is how this relates to the present situation. Are we really discussing Donatist zealotry here? With all past heresies, however ancient the tradition claimed, there was always an equally known, if implicit, tradition passed on- it’s understand and consequence later explicated upon. That tradition, in this case, has already been sussed out and codified starting with the diminishing western Roman empire up until the industrial period and the attempted sociological creation of medical and scientific sexual characters distinguished in the hetero and homosexual characters. As the western empire faded, we may trace our Christian tradition by the seismic shift in the general attitude on human sexuality (from the pagan Roman active/passive dichotomy to a male/female one) and marriage. We no longer discuss legitimate concubinage like they did at the Council of Toledo in 400 AD. Every nation the Church has evangelized among has had matrimonial traditions that chaffed against the Christian one. But she patiently wore down these old practices and replaced them with her own understandings. .

    As the ambiance of our matrimonial beliefs are more Protestant-influenced than Catholic, I can think of no other time when the Church seemed eager to capitulate to the demands of foreign cultures. There are many of us who are having trouble reconciling the attitude of Cardinal Kasper with the previous 20 centuries. And when he dismisses the African and Asian bishops, how are we to comprehend this? Is the Church universal and not beholden to one nation (or group of nations) or is the Church from his Excellency’s perspective nothing more than a mouthpiece for the current opinions of the European and American elite?

  • I apologize for this second post, but I thought br-tag (with brackets of course) separated paragraphs. Could someone please inform me on the proper html tag so I don’t make one long post again.

  • “Your list, Mr.McClarey, proves his point. All of those groups claimed a continuation either of true past teachings or secret dogmas for the imitated.”

    Secret dogmas for the initiated of heresies was not the point that MPS was asserting. For example, the Montanists called their movement the New Prophecy. Their focus was not on the past of the Church but rather the future which was to be shaped by their prophecies. Some Montanists claimed that their visions superceded the authority of Paul and even that of Christ. Like most heresies any reference to the history of the Church was mere window dressing to support their radical deviation from the Church.

  • Ah, Paul, but did you make me laugh at your characterization of Kasper’s denial. This is good for I cannot imagine the good bishops of Africa taking his characterizations of their teachings as mere “taboos” too kindly. Perhaps something good can come of this Synod now that the Left’s cards are laid out.

  • Donald R McClarey wrote, “the Montanists called their movement the New Prophecy”

    Indeed they did, but their movement can be seen as an assertion of the charismatic element in the early Church, noted by Hmmmmm (prophecy,glossolaly &c, against the growing institutional model.

    This, by the by, has been a recurring theme, whether one looks at Mediaeval heresies, like the Brethren of the Free Spirit, the Anabaptists of Munster during the Reformation and their successsorsover the centuries, from the Society of Friends, the Camisards with their child-prophets, the “swoonings” at the first Methodist meetings or the Irvingites of Victorian England. Then one has the Quietists and Jansenist convulsionaries of the 17th & 18th centuries.

  • Steve Phoenix wrote, “Kasper, Danneels, and Lehmann are really running things (say what you want, but these 3 are profoundly skilled)”

    Indeed. Not only was Cardinal Kasper Professor of Dogmatic Theology at Tübingen, one of the most celebrated schools of theology in the world for the past 200 years, but he was for 13 years Dean of Faculty there. He was a student of Josef Geiselmann and, in point of learning, he has few rivals in the hierarchy.

  • “can be seen as an assertion of the charismatic element in the early Church,”

    The orthodox defenders of the Faith who struggled against Montanism for centuries certainly did not see them in that light, and they were absolutely correct. Montanism, if it had triumphed, would have turned the Church into a wholly new faith, governed by ongoing revelations to their self-appoint prophets.

  • I like Chesterton’s definition of heresy –misrepresenting a facet of truth as the totality of truth (something like that).

  • Ernst Schreiber wrote, “I like Chesterton’s definition of heresy –misrepresenting a facet of truth as the totality of truth (something like that).”

    Absolutely. Mgr Ronald Knox pointed out that “traditional Christianity is a balance of doctrines, and not merely of doctrines but of emphases. You must not exaggerate in either direction, or the balance is disturbed. An excellent thing to abandon yourself, without reserve, into God’s hands; … but, teach on principle that it is an infidelity to wonder whether you are saved or lost, and you have overweighted your whole devotional structure… Conversely, it is a holy thing to trust in the redeeming merits of Christ. But, put it about that such confidence is the indispensable sign of being in God’s favour, that, unless and until he is experimentally aware of it, a man is lost, and the balance has been disturbed at the opposite end”

    Thus, “Quietism exaggerates only a little the doctrine of the mystics about simplicity in prayer, about disinterested love. Quakerism does but enthrone in dangerous isolation the truth of God’s presence within us. Jansenism is the vigilant conscience of Christendom overshadowed by a scruple. Methodism is the call back to Christ in an age of Deism.” Hence, “Almost always the opposition is twofold; good Christian people who do not relish an eccentric spirituality find themselves in unwelcome alliance with worldlings who do not relish any spirituality at all.”

  • “I like Chesterton’s definition of heresy –misrepresenting a facet of truth as the totality of truth (something like that).”

    Absolutely. One of my Protestant pastors used a very wise & clear analogy in this regard when teaching on various points in scripture. His analogy in regard to truth was often a well worn dirt road with deep ditches on either side. He said that truth needed to be on the middle of the road because if you went to one extreme or the other you would end up in a ditch (either on one side or the other of the road.).

  • “Not only was Cardinal Kasper Professor of Dogmatic Theology at Tübingen, one of the most celebrated schools of theology in the world for the past 200 years, but he was for 13 years Dean of Faculty there. He was a student of Josef Geiselmann and, in point of learning, he has few rivals in the hierarchy.”

    The Bible speaks of learned fools who think themselves wise. Does Cardinal Kasper not understand the connection between Biblical marriage and theology–the very nature of our God? How sad that is to me. Has he imparted such warped theology to others in his positions of such authority & influence? God forbid!

  • “…Mgr Ronald Knox pointed out that “traditional Christianity is a balance of doctrines, and not merely of doctrines but of emphases…”

    So VERY true in my experience. This is why you can often find some “truth” in almost any faith.

PopeWatch: Walter Cardinal Kasper

Friday, May 9, AD 2014



PopeWatch has long regarded Walter Cardinal Kasper as the Cardinal most likely to confuse heresy with Catholicism. (That is no small feat considering some of the other cardinals in the running for that title.)  His latest remark, in which he repeats the Pope’s alleged agreement with the statement that 50% of all marriages are invalid (How on Earth would either of them know?) is not heretical per se, just profoundly, profoundly stupid.  Father Z quotes and comments on canon lawyer Ed Peters’ trip with the Cardinal to the woodshed:

The distinguished canonist Ed Peters writes about the reckless comments made by Card. Walter Kasper the other day at Fordham University.  My emphases and comments.

Even if the pope said it, it was reckless to repeat it

Cardinal Kasper, in a lengthy interview that shows no let-up in his push to change Church discipline on marriage said, among other things, “I’ve spoken to the pope himself about this, and he said he believes that 50 percent of marriages are not valid.” [?!?]

I am stunned at the pastoral recklessness of such an assertion. Simply stunned. [As we all should be!]

Suppose the cardinal had claimed that “50 percent of ordinations are not valid”. [!] Would not such a claim, coming from an internationally-renowned prelate and attributed to a pope, have a shattering effect on the morale of deacons, priests, and bishops around the world? Would not especially those clergy laboring under vocational difficulties immediately conclude that their difficulties were the consequence of having been invalidly ordained, whereupon most of them would just give up? And would not those preparing for holy orders be paralyzed with fear over proceeding to ordination until whatever is behind such a massive invalidity rate were discovered and remedied? Of course they would.

Well, if tossing out a comment to clergy alleging rampant invalidity of holy orders would be pastorally unthinkable, by what right does the cardinal casually tell laity that 50% of their marriages are invalid—even if the pope did say it? Does turmoil among married persons in the wake of such a remark not matter to any except those who suffer it? As I said, I am stunned that such a remark was made, [IN PUBLIC!  Sometimes priests will kick ideas around in private as they discuss problems today, but that doesn’t mean they a) think everything they kick around and b) would be so abysmally dumb as to repeat the conversation from their pulpits on Sunday.] even if it was a mere repetition of another’s views.

But, no matter who said it—and I have no patience left for this string of ‘guess-what-the-pope-supposedly-told-me’ disclosures—let me outline several reasons why the claim that ‘half of all marriages are null’ is not just reckless, it’s also wrong.

I preface my remarks thus: I worked in diocesan tribunals for more than 10 years and concluded that hundreds of the marriage cases I saw therein were canonically null; I have been married for nearly 30 years; and I have seen, in my own family and among my closest friends, dozens of successful and failed marriages, some of those latter being canonically null, others just ruined. In short, my perspectives here are at least as professionally credentialed and as personally experienced as anyone else’s. [Haudquaquam dubitandum’st.]

1. Marriage is, before anything else, a natural contract. Any claim, therefore, about “marriage”—including the shocking claim that half of all marriages are invalid—must be true about marriage as entered into by the great majority of the world’s population; that, or it must be abandoned. So, does Cdl. Kasper really think that half of the marriages around the world are invalid? If not, he should never have expressed himself so.

2. But perhaps the prelate only had in mind sacramental marriages (marriages entered into by two baptized persons) when he asserted that half of all marriages are null. But, if sacramental marriage perfects natural marriage and if grace builds on nature, what would make Christian marriage less stable than natural marriage?

Actually, a few things come to mind.

Some Catholic marriages are invalid for reasons having nothing to do with natural law, because they were, say, entered into by boys under age 16 contrary to Canon 1084 or by renegade priests contrary to Canon 1087. But those invalid marriages represent a proverbial drop in the bucket of invalid unions; their presence hardly allows one to claim that half of all marriages among the baptized, or even among Catholics, are invalid.

Admittedly one source of canonical nullity has no foundation whatsoever in natural law, yet accounts for thousands of invalid marriages among Catholics: what I have described as the outdated requirement of canonical form. But, while this requirement allows tens of thousands of Catholics to walk away from ‘marriages’ that we would require Protestants (and indeed all non-Catholics) to honor, violation of form does not occur in numbers that would make half of all marriages, even among Catholics, let alone among Protestants, to say nothing of non-Christians, invalid. Not even close.

Or perhaps Cdl. Kasper wants to take on the “automatic sacramentality” point of Church teaching on marriage (see 1983 CIC 1055), and from there tease out a contractual invalidity argument for any sacramentum fidei attentatum sine fide, but I’ve seen nothing so complex offered yet.

Well, there is much more to say, but keeping in mind that this is only a blog post, let me conclude by reminding all that a long, long, tradition of Church teaching recognizes humans’ natural capacity for marriage, reminds Christians that the grace of matrimony adds to the stability of marriage, and presumes the validity of all marriages unless and until it is proven otherwise.

In short, the validity of marriage far exceeds the odds one enjoys in a coin toss.

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31 Responses to PopeWatch: Walter Cardinal Kasper

  • Instant communication worldwide is new to modernity. Imagine if everything Pope Alexander VI said was communicated to the whole Catholic world. Oi Veh. Or Pope Julius II talking about his daughter Felice spending too much in Venice. It may not seem like it but all these modern Popes are a dream compared to some from the Renaissance. The Synod itself will not let the Eucharist be received unworthily and I’m the one who believes the two previous Popes got their death penalty pacifism into the catechism successfully and that that will get murder victims killed for centuries to come where influential at all. But God will stop any error on the Eucharistic reception. I have perfect confidence In this.

  • I’ve heard that moral sin is like an umbrella–it provides a barrier between the “rain” of grace and the body. If this is true, a lot of marriages these days aren’t receiving much grace from the Sacrament (of matrimony of even the Eucharist I suppose). And because of rampant fornication, contraception, abortion and the “divorce culture” a lot of marriages are in a much shakier position than they were during my parents’ days (baptized, but non-Catholics, and not especially Sunday-services going either.)
    Similar was among the Romans at the time of Christ I think; I am not sure among the Jewish people. And yet Christ was crystal clear–no divorce.

  • “Or Pope Julius II talking about his daughter Felice spending too much in Venice.”

    Actually I have always had a soft spot in my heart for the soldier Pope, for all his sins. Unlike the Borgia he, as Pontiff, was concerned with building up the Church. New Advent gives a balanced and judicious assessment of him:

  • Donald R McClarey

    They have some of his cannon at Perugia, their breeches bearing his arms. The have inscriptions taken from the versicle and response at Mattins. Around the touch-hole are the words “Domine, labia mea aperies” [O Lord, open Thou my lips] and around the muzzle, “Et os meum annunciabit laudem tuum” [And my mouth shall shew forth Thy praise].

  • The only reason why Cdl. Kasper gets away with this garbage is the Pope won’t tell him to shut up. If Pope Francis would stop making his own stupid remarks, and crack down on the cardinals and bishops who do likewise, a lot of the confusion that we now have in the church would not exist.

  • I’m beginning to wonder how many degrees of separation there were between Cdl. Kasper and the younger Bella Dodd.

  • Scary thought there Art! at least Cain had a mark on him so people knew him.

    Interesting picture of mortal sin as an umbrella DJ. makes me wonder about having to be in a state of grace to receive grace / / / whence the intervention on our behalf? the pope says people should not “interfere spiritually” with the lives of others.

  • Isn’t praying for other people a type of spiritual intervention?
    As to the umbrella analogy, not sure where I heard it, but I am pretty sure it was in reference to the need to go to Confession.

  • “Admittedly one source of canonical nullity has no foundation whatsoever in natural law, yet accounts for thousands of invalid marriages among Catholics: what I have described as the outdated requirement of canonical form “

    It is abundantly clear that the learned Doctor has never had to live with the consequences of a system that permits informal marriages. I have. Actions for declarator of marriage were being raised against executors well into the 1980s, many little more than blackmail

    Until 1940, in Scotland, marriage required no notice, no formality and no record of any kind. The law (which was the Pre-Tridentine canon law) was that mere consent, deliberately given, was alone sufficient to constitute a marriage; add to which that a mere promise of marriage, followed by consummation, or a living together as man and wife, with the habit and repute of marriage, but without either formal consent or promise, amounted also to a marriage, for in these cases consent was presumed. This, no doubt, is the system Dr Peters would like to restore.

    Marriage has consequences affecting others, so it is of the utmost importance that the matrimonial consent should be accompanied with evidence easily accessible; so that the rights and interests of others may not be exposed to the hazard arising from any uncertainty as to the effects of previous latent subsisting engagements, whether that hazard may arise from the fraud of one of the contraction parties, or from causes of a less culpable nature, caused by uncertainty as to the legal effects of previous conduct.

    Above all, questions of legitimacy should be avoided, by making the proof of marriage so easily accessible, by means of public records, that the claims of future generations by inheritance in the course of lawful descent, may be traced in the most certain and effectual manner.

  • Here’s another great post from the good doctor on the subject. Unfortunately he doesn’t cite ancient Scottish law practices nor does he quote obscure French philosophers speaking about unrelated matters, thus it might not meet everyone’s standards.

  • “Unfortunately he doesn’t cite ancient Scottish law practices nor does he quote obscure French philosophers speaking about unrelated matters, thus it might not meet everyone’s standards.”


  • Stephen Dalton: “The only reason why Cdl. Kasper gets away with this garbage is the Pope won’t tell him to shut up..”, and the rest of the merry band of Sherwood Forest as well.
    Well, you are right, Mr. Dalton, but the present “melee-theology” is by design with PF, who has no clearly defined positions because he doesnt seem to know that much, bluntly speaking. He would rather the Kaspers, the Mullers, the Baldisseris and even the mad-cow-diseased theologians like Leonardo Boff (remember, who called Ratzinger a “religious terrorist” and says Israel is a “fundamentalist terrorist state”, yet is remarkably circumspect on Iran) and Gustavo Gutierrez, both of whom he has been in personal communication to obtain their input to theological development—it is these inmates that are presently running the asylum.
    However, since Kasper while at Fordham recently had the remarkable chutzpah to laugh off the Sacred Congregation for the Faith’s notifications to him (“With me, they went in one ear and out the other,” he reputedly said), I assume we are equally given the right to dismiss his, and all of PF’s circus’, theological reflections as well.

  • Makes sense to me MPS- “Above all, questions of legitimacy should be avoided, by making the proof of marriage so easily accessible, by means of public records, that the claims of future generations by inheritance in the course of lawful descent, may be traced in the most certain and effectual manner.”

  • Mortal sin, as I understand it, is a barrier to grace but an imperfect one. If it were perfect, no one would ever repent of anything. As for the 50% number, I wouldn’t be surprised if it’s true. Legitimate, monogamous, consented-to marriages with the intent to stay together forever – I’d like to believe they’re more common, but human nature is weak enough to start with and society isn’t doing it any favors.

  • Sounds to me suspiciously like the 50% of all marriages end in divorce statistic that gets bandied about.
    Also sounds to me like a certain Cardinal agrees with certain Protestant critics about Annulment being a Catholic word for “divorce.”

  • Cardinal Kasper is selling his book, pure and simple. Of course in the process he is also putting forth a certain ‘theology’ of the German speaking world concerning not simply marriage but the Church and a whole array of related subjects (even if not immediately expressed).

    Besides the actual issue of “the Family” and its obviously related subject of ‘divorce and remarriage’ I also see something deeper going on. A certain understanding of Church etc has been propagated by “the German Church and theologians’ [Ratzinger an Mueller are some exceptions] from the 60’s on. Rooted in certain philosophical and their related theological currents, ‘the German Church (Austria included as well as the Benelux countries) has been in the forefront of ‘the spirit of Vatican II’ and other ‘idealist’ portrayals of Church and life in the Church. Part of their power and influence comes from the fact that the Catholic universities,Catholic theologians etc,. the bishops, priests, churches themselves are all funded by taxes of German/Austrian Catholics. This gave a huge amount of money-power within “Germany” and also within the Church funding so many charities etc.[ the positive side] however, there is a superiority etc that also accompanies all of this and makes American exceptionalism both outside and inside the Church to be almost nothing.

    A movement which began really in response to the publication of Humanae Vitae of dissent emanated first from here-and coordinated then throughout the Western countries. It was not simply birth control that they had a problem with but with the use of papal authority evidenced etc in the encyclical and what they perceived to be the beginning of a retreat from what they called Vatican II but really was their own interpretation of it. It has not gone away, but it has aged [look at the age of Hans Kung and Cardinal Kasper]. A younger generation began stepping up to the plate during the ministry of Pope Benedict, led by the Vicar General of Vienna. It swept through Austria, parts of Germany and into Ireland and Australia. Among their demands is the liberalization of the Church’s response to divorce and remarriage.

    Pope Francis, I believe very much coming out of a very intune conclave of Cardinals has called for two synods concerning the family: which is the immediate issue. However, I am beginning to see the deeper issue at hand is (as it almost always is) the unity of the Church. Another encyclical would have ‘just’ increased the dissent. A major synod however would be expressing the ‘voice of the universal church’. We are witnessing a struggle between the Church faithful to Catholic Tradition and Vatican II and that which is in the ‘spirit of Vatican II’. I have no doubt which of these two will come out of the two synods victorious.

  • The “Spirit of Vatican II” is a clerical revolt within the Church that has been led in large part by academic clerics enamored of liberalism. Since the 1960s, many lay Catholics have just followed these wayward leaders as they marched in lock step with their secular liberal counterparts.
    At some point the clerical liberals and the secular liberals became post “modernists”….uh oh that word again.

  • Karl, the fact that the Church is still alive and well despite all the internal and external chaos is proof positive that He is helping us. The really Good News is that He loves us.
    Deo Gratia. : )

  • Botolph, please do not take this personally, but it must be painful the extent of the efforts and self-contortions of thought that it appears are required in order to make sense of the present veritable barnyard chaos of Muller, Baldisseri, Kasper, former Basil Hume-protege Vincent Nichols, now Cardinal of Westminster, and somewhere in there, the Pontiff-Revolutionary (recall, I am quoting Rabbi Abraham Skorka, a long-time friend of his from Buenos Aire, who has called PF “a revolutionary”).
    It is not out of some personal animus against this pontiff that it must be asserted that he is not that sharp a theological mind in navigating thepresent mists and fogs of the post-Vatican II era. He only has a licentiate(M.Lic) in philosophy from 1960s from a not-premiere theologate, the Collegio Maximo de San Jose, with later studies (an M.Div? if even?) at San Miguel de Buenos Aires. He crashed and burned when he attempted a Ph.D. in Germany in the 1980’s. None of the Jesuits from that time want to talk about why he abruptly left and never completed any degree work. Of course he needs someone else to lead him by the nose, and these are why he has a “board of consultors”—he doesnt know what tothink and therefore what to do, and in one year he has made a complete chaos of what we are to believe and practice. This is before the coming storm of the synods.

    Here on the Left Coast, PF is quoted in support of the most radical minds called “theologians” and the need for same-sex orientation accomodation of speakrs and teachers and activists in Catholic high schools. Sr Jane Laurel, the exiled Dominican nun from Charlotte, was ambuscaded by students and certain other activists who quoted PF’s positions as grounds for her tantamount dismissal. Everyone who works in Catholic institutions speak now in whispers and platitudes. Anglican soppiness is the norm of Novus Ordo preaching.

    So, Benedicamus Domino, but in the same breath I say: Usquequo, Domine.

  • Slainte,

    Having been locked in the midst of the very heart of what this “pandemonium” is about for more than two decades has pretty much destroyed my faith both in God and, certainly, in the Catholic Church. For decades, I have held and spoken in public that I believe the presumtion of validity of a marriage in Canon Law has long been ignored in practice and pastorally. I firmly believe this, and no evidence (because anyone can “cook the books”) will, ever, convince me otherwise. I see what Cardinal Kasper said as the “nail in the coffin” to any challenge or defense that validity is presumed. Certainly, it has in my mind ended any discussion.

    I used to console myself with the very thing you mentioned but it no longer works for me. Please, however, do not take that as a personal rebuff. I have no intention to belittle your kindness and forgive me if it seems that way. I have simply been destroyed by the lack of interest in the Catholic Church for the faith of any of those involved in this particular nightmare or for the valid marriage that is still under brutal assault. For our kids, by their request, I continue the walk, at least for now.

  • Cardinal Kasper used to be the point man in dealing with the Eastern Churches, both Catholic and Orthodox. I am more and more aggravated with him each time he opens his mouth.

    I do not remember much about the time of Paul VI. He became Pope shortly before I was born and he died when I was 15. It seems as if the lunatics ran the asylum when Paul VI was in charge and now we are seeing this again.

    Kasper is a product of his time and his origin. So is Pope Francis. The Church in Latin America has been in its own chaos since before Vatican II. Vatican II did nothing to really improve things there or here in the US, either, but that’s another story.

  • We have lost all hope for our posterity, the purpose of matrimony, as Michael Paterson-Seymour states the reasons. “Above all, questions of legitimacy should be avoided, by making the proof of marriage so easily accessible, by means of public records, that the claims of future generations by inheritance in the course of lawful descent, may be traced in the most certain and effectual manner. ”
    Matrimony without hope for children would not be matrimony, now, would it? Basically this action would remove matrimony, the Sacrament of Matrimony from purview of the Catholic Church and canon law. If Cardl Kasper removes his job at the Vatican, let him do it now before he brings chaos down on the people.

  • Steve Phoenix,

    I did not take your response personally, but thank you for caring enough to say this. We certainly have differed in the past, that is certain. However, I believe there is at this point a certain respect which we both hold for the other although we still differ.

    The core of the issue as I see it is not even the hermeneutic of continuity [which I hold] versus the hermeneutic of discontinuity [which I believe you hold, if I am reading you correctly]. You most likely think that I am simply an optomist-that every Council of the Church was of equal value, every pope a great pope and the like. That would be an incorrect evaluation of my position. What someone might interpret as optimism simply is my reliance on Christ’s promise to be with His Church until the end of time and that the gates of Hell shall not prevail against that Church built on Peter. It is faith in Christ and His Spirit, certainly not in men or women of the Church that gives me my ‘faith’.

    I believe that the Second Vatican Council is a true Ecumenical Council of the Church, now part of her history which cannot simply be dismissed etc. I also believe that we have not only just begun to ‘receive’ the Council but we are only now just beginning to understand its true significance. Are their weaknesses in its documents? Of course. They are human documents, just as all the other Councils were-which also had their shadows as well as light.

    This leads me to the third point-my convolutions concerning all the personages involved in the present day debates etc of the Church. I agree with you it is not easy and it is better if you have a score card or ‘program’ lol but I am a student of the Fathers of the Church ( and therefore those first councils of the CHurch). Let me tell you there was nothing quiet, or peaceful about what led up to them, their proceedings nor their aftermath. The scoundrels and heretics, the jerks and the political climbers were mixed right in with the saints and Fathers [I still love the story of Saint Nicholas punching Arius in the nose during the Nicean Council-Santa Claus slugs the archheretic lolol]

    We live in a time Steve, which you probably know very much like the Church in the 400’s. Progressives were pushing from one side (Nestorians) and ultra-conservatives pushing the Church from the otherside (Monophysites). Since both got disgusted at the Church for giving in too much to the other side and left the Church in a huff [a break that is still in existence 1500 years later] the Church lost a great deal. I am hoping that this does not happen in our own day-I can always hope. That combined fracture lost the Middle East first to the unity of the Church and then to the forces of Mohammed. I pray history does not repeat itself.

  • DJ Hesselius: “Isn’t praying for other people a type of spiritual intervention?”

    It is asking God to intervene in the spiritual life of another person, all the time willingly accepting the will of God.

  • Botolph wrote, “The scoundrels and heretics, the jerks and the political climbers were mixed right in with the saints and Fathers”

    And also the plain misguided. Take the issue of heretical baptism, where there seemed, to all appearances, a consensus of the Fathers of the first four centuries: “The Apostolical Canons say, “Those who are baptized by heretics cannot be believers.” The Synods of Iconium and Synnada declare that “those who came from the heretics were to be washed and purified from the filth of their old impure leaven.” Clement of Alexandria, that “Wisdom pronounces that strange waters do not belong to her.” Firmilian, that “we recognize one only Church of God, and account baptism to belong only to the Holy Church.” “It seemed good from the beginning,” says St. Basil, “wholly to annul the baptism of heretics.” Tertullian says, “We have not the same baptism with heretics; since they have it not rightly; without, they have it not at all.” “Then may there be one baptism,” says St. Cyprian, “when there is one faith. We and heretics cannot have a common baptism, since we have not the Father, or the Son, or the Holy Ghost in common. Heretics in their baptism are polluted by their profane water.” St. Cyril says, “None but heretics are re-baptized, since their former baptism was not baptism.” St. Athanasius asks, “Is not the rite administered by the Arians, altogether empty and unprofitable? he that is sprinkled by them is rather polluted than redeemed.” Optatus says, “The stained baptism cannot wash a man, the polluted cannot cleanse.” “The baptism of traitors.” says St. Ambrose, “does not heal, does not cleanse, but defiles.” (Bl John Henry Newman)

    They were all wrong. St Stephen (Pope from 254 to 257) defied the whole world and ruled heretical baptism valid. A hundred and fifty years later, his view prevailed, when St Augustine affirmed it and the rigorists, the Donatists and Novatians were cast out of the Church.

    As Bl John Henry Newman remarks, “Under these circumstances, the Holy See and various Bishops took what would be called the laxer aide, as being that which charity, as well as expediency suggested, whereas the graver and more strict, as well as the ignorant portion of the Christian community did not understand such a policy, and in consequence there was, in various parts of the world, both among the educated and the uneducated, an indignant rising against this innovation, as it was conceived, of their rulers. Montanus and his sect in the East, represent the feelings of the multitude at Rome, the school of Tertullian, Novatian, and the author of the Elenchus, able and learned men, stood out in behalf of what they considered the Old Theology, terminating their course in the Novatian schism; while the learned Donatist Bishops and the mad Circumcelliones illustrate a like sentiment, and a like temper, in Africa. “

  • Michael PS,
    I actually love your scholarship herein while not believing we have a parallel case here. You are charitably warning the strict that the strict were incorrect for four centuries on the Baptism matter…and the less strict view won out. On marriage though, Kasper et al are only thinking of the Eucharist as medicine for working against sin. But even bad humans have a right to medicine and no one has an absolute right to the Eucharist because I Cor.11:27 says: ” Therefore whosoever shall eat this bread, or drink the chalice of the Lord unworthily, shall be guilty of the body and of the blood of the Lord.”. That means that the Eucharist is not simply medicine but also the reception of Christ who inspired I Cor. 11:27 to tell us we must be worthy of reception unlike a captured felon in a hospital who need not be worthy of medicine.
    Their group never mention future generations either….only the expectation of those already in irregular second marriages. A change would say to future young people…if your marriage fails, marry again and receive the Eucharist….which means you are in sanctifying grace. It says to midlife crisis 55 year old men, drop your spouse, take up with a younger girl who looks like singer Joss Stone…and receive the Eucharist because you’re doing the best you can as your new wife sings ” I Put a Spell on You” to you….and yes, you’re in sanctifying grace….though your first wife is praying for your return til her death.
    A change in this area brings on the ludicrous. That’s a sign that it will be defeated at the Synod.

  • Thank you, Botolph, I must say I admire your optimism, and I could use a steady dose of it during this pontificate. Keep it up, therefore 🙂

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  • Steve,

    Seriously, I am very glad to help. In the meantime we can keep dialoguing and hopefully we can both gain some wisdom 🙂

  • Bill Bannon

    My point was this: that whilst the greatest saints and doctors of the Church can err and have erred, the sure touchstone of our faith is the Holy See. When everyone else was wrong, Rome was right and the single voice of Pope St Stephen, unheeded for a century and a half, was recognised at length as the voice of Shepherd.

    Fortunately, Montanists, Novatians and Donatists have left no following, but others have: Nestorian and Monophysite Churches survive to this day and each claiming to be the faithful heirs of Apostolic tradition. There is only one test by which to confute them; they are not in communion with the see of Rome. Every other test involves the vicious circle, “The true faith is what the true Church teaches” and then, “The true Church is the one that teaches the true faith.”

    That the more rigorous opinion is not necessarily the orthodox one can be illustrated from Montanists in the 3rd century through Jansenists in the 17th and Feenyites in the 20th. Of course, laxists have fallen into error at least as often.

    As for 1 Corinthians 11, I am no exegete and would not like to pronounce on what St Paul meant by “unworthily” (ἀναξίως) in v 27 and how it ties in with “not discerning the body” (μὴ Διακρίνων τὸ σῶμα ) in v 29. I do know it has produced cartloads of commentary.

Anglicans And Catholics To Reunite, Reaction And News Roundup

Tuesday, October 20, AD 2009

St. Thomas More

I will be updating this post as often as I can throughout the day [Last update at 10:01pm CDT].  I’ll be reporting on reactions and news concerning this groundbreaking development that came from the Vatican this morning.  The Vatican issued a note explaining a new provision in an upcoming Apostolic Constitution that will allow for a structure to be in place to receive Anglicans and Episcopalians into the Catholic Church.  Basically a corporate reunion!

To read the full text of this announcement from the Vatican click here.

To read the full text of the joint press release of the Archbishop of Westminster, Vincent Gerard Nichols, and the Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, click here.

Reaction and news from around the world [all emphasis mine]:

Last Update of the day at 10:01pm CDT (Earlier updates further down this post)

Ruth Gledhill of the Times of London.  Offers a brief history of what transpired the last couple of years between Anglo-Catholics, and those inside the Vatican, both faithful and dissident Catholics.

Rome has parked its tanks on the Archbishop of Canterbury’s lawn [Interesting choice of words, but nonetheless accurate in my opinion] after manoeuvres undertaken by up to fifty bishops and begun two years ago by an Australian archbishop, John Hepworth [The leader of the Traditional Anglican Communion].”

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18 Responses to Anglicans And Catholics To Reunite, Reaction And News Roundup

  • Does this action reverse Apostolicae Curae?

  • A brilliant stroke on the part of Pope Benedict. He has the mental agility and energy of a prelate half his age. Disaffected Anglicans now have a home and the powers that be in the Anglican Church have a major problem. To all of our Anglican brothers and sisters who will be joining us I say that we are overjoyed to have you!

  • Might I just add that this is what Ecumenism is supposed to be about: Conversion into the Catholic Church, and not the other way around (i.e., Catholics mutating into Protestants)?

  • e.,

    In addition to what you said, Ecumenism is about conversion, not dialogue that continues without resolution.

  • Tito: I was having problems earlier at the website. Would you kindly remove the first instance of my comments above since it’s merely a duplicate?

    Also, would you happen to know if in that ordinariate in the Anglican ultimately means that a person can actually be married and yet become a priest in that rite (for lack of a better word)?


  • e.,

    Yes, I read the Note that was released early this morning the same way.

    Married men can now become priests in the Catholic Church, but only within the Anglican Personal Ordinariate. Very similar to Easter Catholic Rites.

    But they may not become priests in the Latin Rite, which encompasses the vast majority of Catholics worldwide.

    I’m sure once the mainstream media gets to reading the details they’ll begin to make hay about this pretty soon.

    Take note though, only unmarried priests can become bishop within the Anglican Personal Ordinariate, just as in the Easter Catholic Rites and the Easter Orthodox Churches.

  • Tito:

    Thanks for the info!

    I’m just wondering if a person who is seeking to become a priest and yet at the same time be married, alls he need do is pursue such vocation but within that same Anglican Personal Ordinariate which you mention; in other words, will this be at long last that loophole for those married but yet feel a calling to serve the Lord in the priesthood.

    Here is The Wall Street Journal scoop:

    Vatican Opens Door for Anglican Converts

    ROME — Pope Benedict XVI introduced a fast track for Anglicans seeking to join Roman Catholicism, paving the way for conservative Anglicans frustrated by their church’s blessing of same-sex unions and homosexuality in the priesthood to enter the Catholic fold.

    The Vatican on Tuesday announced plans to create a special set of canon laws, known as an “Apostolic Constitution,” to allow Anglican faithful, priests and bishops to enter into full communion with the Vatican without having to give up a large part of their liturgical and spiritual traditions.

    With the measures, Pope Benedict is attempting to reclaim ground lost by the Roman Catholic Church in the 16th century when King Henry VIII defied papal authority to found the Church of England. The move clears the way for entire congregations of Anglicans to join the Catholic Church and makes it easier for married Anglican priests to convert without embracing Catholicism’s traditional code of priestly celibacy…'s_Most_Popular

  • e.,

    As much as the mainstream media hypes that the solution to a declining pool of priests is to allow married people to pursue this vocation, it won’t be anything more than a trickle.

    We all know that families that practice and teach the faith to their children, ie, foster vocations, in addition to participating in orthodox Catholic parishes will create large pools of seminarians.

    As evident in the Lincoln and Omaha dioceses of Nebraska.

    Allowing married men and wymyn priests is a band-ade at best.

  • Tito:

    Obviously, woman priests is clearly forbidden and should never be allowed — ever.

    However, allowing married priests is more of a disciplinary rather than a doctrinal matter; I don’t see how such a thing can actually even be considered subversive.

    In fact, even Fr. Corapi admitted as much in his Catechism of the Catholic Church series on EWTN.

  • e.,

    I know that it is a discipline and not doctrinal.

    I agree with you completely on this point. You may have misread my comment on this, but to be clear, I believe you and I are on the same page.

    I’m fine with allowing married priests. Especially how it will be set up in the upcoming provision in the Apostolic Constitution.

    …and I looove Father Corapi!

  • I got to see Fr. Corapi in Buffalo this past August on Our Lady’s feast. He is wonderful. A true son of the Church.

    I prefer that the Latin Rite keep the celibacy discipline. We are at a point right now where experience is teaching us that when we are orthodox we grow and when we are hetrodox we wane.

    Even though the Pope could lift this I think it diminishes the priest’s efficacy if he has to worry about the formation and protection, etc. of children of his own flesh – it is actually a freedom to be able to care for all the children in his parish.

    Nevertheless, whatever the Pope decides is fine by me. I think everyone except the Holy Spirit underestimated our German Shepherd. He rocks.

  • AK,

    I agree 100%.

    Celibacy needs to be kept for many apparent reasons, one of the most basic is he has dedicated his life to Christ. Adding a good wife would only shorten his time on earth.

  • Fr. Grandon is a distant relative of mine by marriage, whom I met for the first time when he had just become Catholic and had gone from being an Episcopal priest to a Catholic layperson. Great guy with a really interesting conversion story.

    On another blog I read that Rt. Rev. Keith Ackerman, retired Episcopal bishop of Quincy, Illinois (its cathedral, however, is in Peoria), was more or less stripped of his episcopal status by the “High Priestess” referred to above… he also is a great guy, good friends with Bishops Myers and Jenky, and I wouldn’t be surprised to see him jump the Tiber now. Since he’s married and has kids he wouldn’t be able to be a bishop anymore, but given how he’s been treated by his own denomination of late, he’d probably have little to lose if he did convert.

  • Also, maybe I’m getting WAY ahead of everyone here… but could this approach to ecumenism be carried even beyond the boundaries of the Anglican or Orthodox churches? Could we someday (probably centuries from now, if ever) have a Lutheran Rite or Baptist Rite or Pentecostal/Charismatic Rite that combine their distinctive styles of worship with the sacraments, doctrines and teaching authority of the Church?

  • Elaine,

    I briefly touched on that in the next posting.

    In my opinion, I could possibly see something for the Lutherans in a Personal Ordiniate.

    But after them, there are no vestiges of any signs of an apostolic church. Maybe the Methodists, but that is stretching it a bit.

    But again, it’s strictly my opinion.

  • Tito:

    No disrespect; however, if you actually felt that way about married priests, then why did you put it up there with woman priests which, in fact, can never be allowed as it directly goes against Christian doctrine itself?

    Also, I don’t think there could ever be rites that would cater to such Protestant sects as the Baptists who clearly do not hold the same Christian beliefs that we do, like the Holy Sacrifice of the Mass.

    Ironically, it is folks like the Lutherans who we have more in common (relatively-speaking, of course) in comparison with those sects who are far more heretical in degree.

    Yet, I do greatly appreciate the fact that you are keeping us apprised of such news. Keep it up.

    Adding a good wife would only shorten his time on earth.

    This reminds of precisely what Saint/Sir Thomas More once said as regarding marriage; that is, once a man is married, he can never be free of worry!

  • e.,

    Now your reading into things way to much.

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History and the End of Schism

Wednesday, September 16, AD 2009

Pope Benedict and Patriarch Kirill

Rumors and rumors of rumors of an imminent end to over a thousand years of the Great Schism between Catholics and Orthodox have exploded over these past few days.  If these rumors are correct then not since the Ecumenical Council of Ferrara-Florence have these great Church’s been so close to unity.

In A.D. 1054 Catholic prelate Humbert and Orthodox prelate Michael Cærularius excommunicated each other.  This marks the beginning of the Great Schism between the Catholic and Orthodox Church’s.

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18 Responses to History and the End of Schism

  • Good post, balancing the hope with realism. One slight correction: Mount Athos contains a solid bloc of hardcore anti-Catholics, perhaps (probably?) even the majority of the monks there. But there are those loyal to the Ecumenical Patriarch who are there, too.

  • This has already been all over the blogosphere in Orthodox circles as well as Catholic – Archbishop Pezzi is clearly expressing naive optimism here. Archbishop Hilarion is indeed visiting Rome, but Pezzi made his announcement before Hilarion even set foot in the eternal city. The other question is what did Pezzi actually say in Italian; perhaps it is a mistranslation.

  • Alan,

    I read Irenaeus posting and my impression was it was all over the Orthodox blogosphere, not necessarily the Catholic blogosphere. Just wanting to be exact.

    I agree that Archbishop Pezzi was overly optimistic, but my thinking is that he’s basing it on previous dialogue with the Orthodox, not a prediction of the Hilarion-Kasper talks.


    I only threw in the “Mount Athos crowd” to represent the many Orthodox that are against any form of ecumenism Patriarch-and-Pope-be-damned.

  • “Just wanting to be exact since you want to make a pointless point.”

    The blog to which I linked is a Catholic/Orthodox blog.
    The story was also on NLM just yesterday. The “pointless point” judgment seems kind of harsh – not sure where that is coming from?? Maybe it didn’t come across in my comment, but my point was that most seem to be taking this with a grain of salt, and rightfully so.

  • Alan,

    I edited that out before you were able to reread it.

    No harm done.

    Posting isn’t the same as talking in person.

    I don’t read the NLM as much as I used to in the past, so I missed that one.

  • Teófilo over at Vivificat also has a good post on the subject from Monday with some interesting points.

  • LOL…

    I didn’t want to bash Archbishop Pezzi, so I tried to be diplomatic concerning his enthusiasm, but I do agree with Teofilo’s assessment on the archbishops exuberance!

  • Thank you for the link to Vivificat!

    With all due respect to Archbishop Pezzi, the expectations he has ignited need to be dowsed with a cold, wet showert of realism.

    In Christ,

  • Assuming this somehow goes through, would that mean RCs could fulfill Mass obligations by going to an Orthodox parish (will they still be called RC and Orthodox)? What would the post-schism Church look like?

  • c matt,

    I believe you already can fulfill your obligation to go to Mass in an Orthodox parish ONLY IF it is impossible to fulfill that obligation in a Roman Catholic Church (or those in communion–Byzantine, Ukrainian Catholic… ect.) Though, you can not partake in Communion.

  • Daniel,
    I believe you already can fulfill your obligation to go to Mass in an Orthodox parish ONLY IF it is impossible to fulfill that obligation in a Roman Catholic Church (or those in communion–Byzantine, Ukrainian Catholic… ect.)

    That’s correct and would change if they were in full communion, you’d be free to assist for any reason and even switch rituals formally (with permission) as is the case with th Uniates now.

    Though, you can not partake in Communion.

    the Catholic Church permits you to receive as long as you defer to the celebrant. As I understand it Orthodox are quite restrictive and will not allow it unless perhaps prior arrangements are made.

  • Matt is more or less right here. The Catholic Church is more permissive than the Orthodox (any Orthodox is welcome to take our communion, but told to follow the rules of their jurisdiction), and we are told, in various circumstances (not all) that we can take Orthodox communion (though most Orthodox will not give it to Catholics, some will). Then there are some, like the Armenian Orthodox and Catholic, who freely share communion.

  • I like the fact that we are able to partake in some sacraments with the Orthodox under certain conditions.

    Though the Orthodox in America are more receptive to this, do you see this attitude changing for the better in traditional Orthodox lands?

    I am aware of the amount of distrust that many Greeks and Russians share towards Catholics, is this changing as well?

    Just questions because of all of the ecumenical efforts we’ve done since Vatican II, it is the Orthodox that I see real progress in reuniting with more than any other ecclesiastical group (the Orthodox being the only other real Church).

  • Mr. Edwards and friends,

    In your article/commentary you said the following, which needs correction:

    “Outside of malefactors such as the Mount Athos crowd and the Orthodox resentment of the sacking of Constantinople, anything is possible.”

    Webster’s dictionary defines malefactor as:

    “one who does ill toward another”.

    It is unfortunate that such ignorance or malice exists among those roman catholics who respect the Orthodox Church and desire to be united to it. For, the Holy Mountain of Athos is THE ark of true Christian Spiritual Life in the Church, a bastion of true Christian spiritual practice and defender of the Truth of Revelation for over 1000 years. Her life and Saints are the heart of the Orthodox Church in the 2nd millenium. To say that the holy fathers of Athos are intent on doing ill to others or even to the desire for true unity in Christ is an affront to all who love Truth and to all Orthodox Christians. They have been and are today lights to every sincere practitioner of Christian love and without them and their agreement no true union can take place.

    Your ignorance is one of the many obstacles standing in the way of real progress toward unity in Christ. I hope that you will correct your error and take time to learn more about the Garden of the All-Holy Mother of God (as Athos is known).


    Panagiotis Dimitriadis

  • Panagiotis Dimitriadis,

    It is unfortunate that such ignorance or malice exists among those roman catholics who respect the Orthodox Church and desire to be united to it

    We desire the return of ALL Christians to the One Holy Catholic Church. We pray that the Orthodox chuches return in their integrity as particular churches.

    Your pride is one of the many obstacles standing in the way of real progress toward unity in Christ.

  • Panagiotis Dimitriadis,

    I noticed you referred to Catholic with the small “c”, but the Orthodox with the large “O”.

    You need to remove the speck in your own eye before commenting.

    By the way, the ARK is the Virgin Mary carrying Jesus to birth and I referred to the Mount Athos crowd, ie, those like yourself that hold ill-will towards Catholicism in general and unity in particular.

  • Regarding the Unity of The Holy Spirit and the Filioque: If we believe in the UNITY of God, The Father, The Almighty, Maker of Heaven and Earth, of all that is, seen and unseen AND one Lord, Jesus Christ, the only Son of God, eternally begotten of The Father, God from God, Light from Light, True God from True God, begotten, not made, ONE IN BEING with The Father…THEN, in order to be a Trinity, The Holy Spirit, The Love Between The Father And The Son, must proceed from The Father AND The Son, to begin with.

Ecumenism! Ecumenism!

Thursday, July 23, AD 2009

[Updates at the bottom of this posting]

Ecumenism today is in a sorry state.  Most Protestant denominations have splintered off to the point that dialogue has become pointless.  Only the Orthodox offer any hope of reunion with us, but that is a distant land where we are struggling to navigate towards.

In the meantime too many well-intentioned Catholics yell Ecumenism! Ecumenism!” yet they know not what they say nor do.  Heck, they can’t even explain it themselves.

For example I’ve stopped attending Taizé services because the only people that attend them are other Catholics.  If it was intended to bring our separated brothers in Christ together then I failed to see a single one of them attend in the three years that I have been going.

Ecumenism, whatever that means anymore, is a dead cat.  It’s going nowhere because it has no idea what it is.  Hence the forty years of fruitless labor has produced nothing to celebrate.

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62 Responses to Ecumenism! Ecumenism!

  • Tito,

    Are you familiar with the significant advancements in the Catholic-Lutheran dialogue– on the question of salvation through faith and/or works?

  • Ecumenism is far longer than forty years; but you know, I can imagine Tito in the 4th century decry the decision at Nicea because, “Those darn Arians are still staying, and it looks like nothing will stop them.”

  • Mark,

    Yes, the Lutheran Church, Missouri Synod have agreed to some of the Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification (JDDJ) but not all. The Evangelical Lutheran Church of America has agreed to almost all of the JDDJ.

    The World Lutheran Federation (WLF) has agreed on some aspects, but in the end, if the WLF agrees to all of the JDDJ, it is then up to individual regional and national Lutheran conferences to agree, and then it drops down to the local church level where they be disagreements. So it is a fractured lot to say the least.

  • Tito Taco,

    Are you familiar with the notion that today’s ecumenical catholicism is just as groovy and authentic as Nicaea’s or even Sir/St. Thomas More’s?

    Too bad that it just ain’t (not to mention, anachronistic and remarkably compromised). Seriously.

  • Are you guys still talking about JDDJ?

    Don’t you guys know that even the Lutherans themselves scoff at it (as should Catholics, too)?

    I mean, seriously; it really is as empty and meaningless as ecumenism itself, as even the average Lutheran rightly concludes.

  • Tito,

    Surely in your individual life you do not take an “all or nothing” approach to conflict and disagreement?!!

  • “Those darn Arians are still staying, and it looks like nothing will stop them.”

    I doubt that Tito would have said that since the Council anathematized the Arians.

    “We believe in one God, the Father Almighty, maker of all things visible and invisible; and in one Lord Jesus Christ, the Son of God, the only-begotten of his Father, of the substance of the Father, God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God, begotten (??????????), not made, being of one substance (?????????, consubstantialem) with the Father. By whom all things were made, both which be in heaven and in earth. Who for us men and for our salvation came down [from heaven] and was incarnate and was made man. He suffered and the third day he rose again, and ascended into heaven. And he shall come again to judge both the quick and the dead. And [we believe] in the Holy Ghost. And whosoever shall say that there was a time when the Son of God was not (?? ???? ??? ??? ??), or that before he was begotten he was not, or that he was made of things that were not, or that he is of a different substance or essence [from the Father] or that he is a creature, or subject to change or conversion — all that so say, the Catholic and Apostolic Church anathematizes them.”
    As Saint Athanasius could attest the Arians remained a deadly danger for the Catholic Church after the Council, but the ruling of the Council clearly indicated that there would be no “ecumenical” relations between the Catholic Church and those who followed the teachings of Arius.

  • Mark,

    Excellent point.

    But after forty years, what have we shown for it?

    As for me, my time is limited, so dropping Taize was a prudent move on my part. Though it may prove fruitful for others, I just don’t have the charism for that particular path.

  • Vatican II proclaimed ecumenism; but here we have Tito repudiating it. But this brings us back to the 4th century; the confusion then was far greater than anything today; what was or was not authoritative and an ecumenical council had not been established, and there were rival councils coming up all the time. Tito would have been able to say how Nicea “added words from heretics” like “homoousios,” and that, forty years after, solved nothing, so it was a failure and Nicene faith was dead.

  • Tito’s posts (and those defending him) prove he hasn’t follow the Church and ignores it when it suits his purpose; this is again demonstration of someone who is full of themselves, so full, they can’t listen to others, and thinks the Church should be in his image. This is Satanic pride at its height.

  • Henry K.,

    Can you find for me a clear and concise definition or road map of how to pursue ecumenism?

    Even Pope John Paul II conceded that Ecumenism was a Protestant invention that was difficult to define in Ut Unum Sint.

  • Mark D.,

    while it is well and good that some organizations of which may or may not be relevant to Lutheran’s and their congregations are compromising on theological points (possible that we may be as well…despite Pius XII cautions), there’s no evidence that progress on them rejecting their founder and embracing the One True Church is actually being made. None. In fact, like other mainstream protestant denominations, in practice they are farther from Catholicism than they EVER have been.

  • Henry K.,

    Now, now.

    There’s no need for that.

    There is room for disagreement and amicable debate.

    I think ecumenism can be productive, if it is clearly defined with goals placed.

    Not when it’s dressed in flowery and ambiguous language where you can read into it a Gilgamesh story or a Chupacabra attack.

  • “This is Satanic pride at its height.”

    Rubbish. What it means is that Tito is merely stating the obvious: ecumenicalism since Vatican II is a radical departure from prior Church practice, and that from a Catholic perspective the good that the change has produced is rather difficult to discern. Having married a Protestant, who converted a few years after our marriage, a father who was Protestant until the day he died, and most of my relatives being Protestant, I am all for good relations among Christians of all stripes, but attempting to water down the differences is not the way to go about it.

  • There are many different kinds of dialogues:

    a) The dialogue of life, where people strive to live in an open and neighbourly spirit, sharing their joys and sorrows, their human problems and preoccupations.

    b) The dialogue of action, in which Christians and others collaborate for the integral development and liberation of people.

    c) The dialogue of theological exchange, where specialists seek to deepen their understanding of their respective religious heritages, and to appreciate each other’s spiritual values.

    d) The dialogue of religious experiencee, where persons, rooted in their own religious traditions, share their spiritual riches, for instance with regard to prayer and contemplation, faith and ways of searching for God or the Absolute.

    In this way, there are many different kinds of ecumenical activities. Working with Protestants to stop abortion, for example, is ecumenism. Working with Protestants to feed the poor is ecumenism. There is plenty of such activity going on and in the increase; it’s not dead, but alive, and that should be well noted.

    But when discussing the road map for dialogue about doctrine, the issue is not “one,” but multi-faceted. It is for this reason that dialogues tend to be bi-lateral, where the needs, requirements, expectations differ. But working together, praying together (if we can), listening to each other, learning how the other things instead of telling them (and getting it wrong) is a start. The fact that you don’t want to do that, but always make things up, intra-Catholic, shows the problem.

    Now John Paul II did not concede that Ecumenism was a Protestant invention; you read a text out of context for your ideological pretext. If you want to find a new story about ecumenism, look to the history of the Ecumenical Patriarch’s call for Christian Unity.

  • Henry K.,

    You are being intellectually dishonest; as if the way ecumenical had been applied previously is in every sense the same as it is employed today.

    That’s like saying the same scholastic terms Spinoza himself used were in the very same sense that the scholastics themselves meant.

    You should know better.

  • “Rubbish. What it means is that Tito is merely stating the obvious: ecumenicalism since Vatican II is a radical departure from prior Church practice, and that from a Catholic perspective the good that the change has produced is rather difficult to discern”

    All those who find themselves more Catholic than the Pope throughout history have always made this charge, from Novatius to Donatus to the Greeks (filioque) to the Husites, to the Lutherans, et. al. I would recommend reading some of the ecclesial documents of Nicholas of Cusa if you want to see how far and proper this line of reasoning is thrashed by Catholic tradition itself.

  • “Rubbish. What it means is that Tito is merely stating the obvious: ecumenicalism since Vatican II is a radical departure from prior Church practice, and that from a Catholic perspective the good that the change has produced is rather difficult to discern. Having married a Protestant, who converted a few years after our marriage, a father who was Protestant until the day he died, and most of my relatives being Protestant, I am all for good relations among Christians of all stripes, but attempting to water down the differences is not the way to go about it.”

    Is McClarey the only Catholic on this site?

    Very comforting to see one Catholic still genuinely so!

  • Here, I will help people; here’s a start:

    Perhaps you will say: today’s Church does not walk in the rite of communion as in former times, when most holy men affirmed both by word and deed that the sacrament under both species, by the force of Christ’s precept, was necessary. Could the Church have been in error at that time? Certainly not! If not, how is what was then universally affirmed not true today, since this Church is the same as that one? Certainly it should not disturb you that the rite of sacrifices – and even of the sacraments – is found to be different at different times, while the truth stands fast. The Scriptures are both adapted to the times and understood in various ways, so that they are set forth at one time according to the current universal rite, but when that rite changes, opinions about it change again. Christ, to whom the Father handed over the celestial and terrestrial kingdoms, ruling by means of a wondrous order of angels and men, dispenses mysteries according to the changing of the times; and He supplies what fits particular times by hidden inspiration or evident demonstration. This is the view of the doctors [of the Church]: Ambrose in his twelfth letter to Irenaeus, and Augustine [in his letter] to Deogratias, in the second question on the alteration of sacrifices.

    […] Hence, even if today there is an interpretation by the Church of the same Gospel commanding differing from that of former times, nevertheless, the understanding now currently in use for the rule of the Church was inspired as befitting the times and should be accepted as the way of salvation.

    –Nicholas of Cusa, “To the Bohemians: On the Use of Communion,” pgs. 2 – 85 in Nihcolas of Cusa: Writings on Church and Reform. Trans. Thomas M. Izbicki (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 2008), 21- 23.

  • The Church prior to Vatican II was never shy about casting out heretics. Those who think otherwise are merely deluding themselves.

  • The Church before Vatican II called the Lutherans to Trent!

  • Yes, and condemned Lutheranism root and branch!

  • Henry K.,

    make things up

    I don’t understand what you mean by that. Especially after I produced documents such as Mortalium Animos, or is it in your nature to ignore everything up until Vatican II?

    And Pope John Paul II did concede that Ecumenism was a Protestant invention.

    Read Ut Unum Sint.

  • But it called them for dialogue. As the Church always does.

  • Tito

    Actually, JPII said ecumenism goes back to Christ and the call “that they may be one.”

  • Henry K.,

    Cite me an ex cathedra statement that we should make up stuff to get along with Protestants?

    I doubt you will find one, that’s assuming that your sources are not gnostic.

  • Hk,

    it called them to receive instruction on the Truth in charity.

  • Henry K.,

    I can’t find the word ‘ecumenism’ in the Holy Bible.

    But if you would have read my posting citing Pope Pius XI’s Mortalium Animos 5, His Holiness addressed that very same verse stating that it is a merely expressed a desire and prayer, not fulfillment of unity.

  • Tito

    There you go — you dissent from the church! And your argument is “if it isn’t ex cathedra, hell no!” Sorry, that’s not how Catholicism works. But you have now proven the cafeteria qualities I’ve pointed to many times — and your quotes, out of context, such as your quote from Cardinal Kasper, have been answered before, but you keep rehashing it like a Protestant with one verse of Scripture. Sad. But thank you. You have proven my point.

  • Henry K,

    For a person who wrote a series on lying, you are demonstrating yourself a liar on this very thread.

    I would’ve thought you to be a better man than this!

    For a student of church history, you either seem to have known very little, understood very little of it, or purposely misrepresent the facts in order to prop your argument against Taco.

  • “I can’t find the word ‘ecumenism’ in the Holy Bible.”

    I can’t find “homoousios” in the Bible. See, I called him on it. Thank you. Goodbye.

  • Henry Karlson,

    If you continue with your calumnies without evidence you will be placed on moderation.

    Typical liberal, when they can’t debate the points they devolve into name-calling.

  • The Fathers of Trent called them only for submission. Melanchthon and others who thought the Catholic Church would alter the Faith to suit them were only fooling themselves. The Protestants had no right to vote and they realized this was a waste of their time from their standpoint. I believe it is also clear that in any case the invitation was given to the Protestants only due to strong pressure from Emperor Charles V.

  • For what it’s worth, Thomas Aquinas emphasized that Jews should not be persecuted for practicing Jewish traditions because the presence of those traditions helped Christians in there own understanding.

    Mind you, he also thought unrepentant heretics should be burned at the stake, but I think you can see in Thomas’s opinion towards the Jews the roots of ecumenism. So let’s be careful about relegating ecumenism to the past forty years (Not saying tito is, but in general that seems to be a temptation in some of the comments here)

  • The Jews were a special case and Pope after Pope extended protection to them. As to Christian heretics however, one can scan the history of the Church with a microscope prior to 1965 and find precious little that would bear any relationship to what we now call ecumenicalism.

  • Henry K. left in a puff when he realized people were reading through his dishonesty.

    I’ve done what I am capable of with Taize. The same can’t be said for others who question my motives.

    I still pray for unity, but I question the tactics and the fruits of these tactics that have done nothing if harm the foundation of the Church by causing confusion in language and action.

  • Fruitful dialogue is when the two parties carefully explain themselves to each other, defining terms, clarifying distinctions, and so on, so that they can each come to an accurate understanding of what the other believes and the rational basis upon which those beliefs rest.

    Fruitful dialogue pares away areas where misunderstanding of terms, superficial differences in behavior or in practice, etc. makes the two believe they have differences where they really are not.

    Fruitful dialogue identifies real differences. It pinpoints the areas where the two really do have to say, “Ah, I see. That’s something you assert which I deny.” Or: “Hey, my belief on that issue, though I phrase it in different words, is not really so very different from yours.”

    Because to clearly identify the exact points of difference is to understand how far apart you are. And when two bodies have clearly delineated the exact points of difference — which they do through fruitful dialogue — it is a help to individuals who may be wondering if they belong not there, but here. It is a challenge to individuals within those two bodies to decide which of the two is more true.

    That is why dialogue can be fruitful, even if it does not seek to “convert,” but only to teach and to learn. To teach the truth as we know it, to learn exactly where the other does not align with that truth.

  • bearing,

    there is a place for dialogue as you state, but it is not going to result in unity on a broad scale as is dreamed by the “ecumenism” movements of the last 40 years.

  • Bearing,

    Thank you for that explanation.

    I think that’s nice and dandy.

    I just wish I can see unity organically come from it, which is difficult to see when the Lutherans themselves (as examples) continue to splinter each year. Not to mention the Anglicans, ie, Traditional Anglican Communion.

    In the end, let’s assume positive results, as an example, the World Lutheran Federation finally wants to unite with us.

    It’ll be a few aging scholars and hopefully their kids that will be left of the ‘WFL’.

    But I see what you mean about fruitful dialogue.

  • Fruitful dialogue does not and, indeed, cannot entail blatant compromise!

    Indeed, if anything, this is not fruitful dialogue but a pitiful engagement in the modernist enterprise of nihilistic emancipation from both Tradition and Our Lord Himself, which inevitably makes us not Catholics but rather sorry Modernists in the most fiendish of disguise; that is, nothing more than heretics in the making!

  • I’m sorry, what’s the point exactly of talking about dialogue and ecumenism when one side is constantly shifting its beliefs according to the latest moral trends?

    Heck, is there really ecumenism when one-half of the conversation exists on a razor’s edge of even being called “Christian”?

    The Church should always have an arm outstretched to all peoples, and with communities that share fundamental similarities with us— perhaps we can do more.

    I agree with Tito’s placement in hope with the Orthodox over that of Protestants. Catholic and Orthodox have at least had better luck in preserving their fundamental positions and identities. Protestantism seems to keep fracturing at a rate of change matching the latest best-selling self-help books!

  • Anthony,

    I believe the crucial test is how will Partriarch Kirill deal with his hostile curia (towards Rome) in dealing with us.

    As Henry Karlson & JohnH stated on another thread, there has been rumblings of detente.

    But from Moscow the optimism has been muted.

    Thankfully though they appointed Hilarion as the External Relations head of the Russian Orthodox Church. Which was Kirill’s previous post, so we may be seeing some movement during Kirill’s patriarchate and Benedict’s pontificate.

  • Fruitful dialogue cannot result in unity on a broad scale unless the differences between the two bodies are either (a) merely superficial differences regarding essential truths, e.g., apparent differences that come from the use of different terminology for the same thing, or (b) differences that both sides can agree are inessential.

    In the case of (a), the two bodies can work together to craft new ways of phrasing the essential truths, phrasing upon which both can agree.

    In the case of (b), the two bodies can make clear to their members that it is acceptable to hold different beliefs in the inessential areas, and thus people in different “camps” can yet exist in the same body.

    Fruitful dialogue is necessary even to determine whether the apparent differences between two groups fall into categories (a) or (b).

    Anyone who’s ever had a hearty, in-depth, lengthy discussion with someone of a different faith, and came away with both of you knowing more about the other person and why they believe what they believe, even if neither of you is at all any more interested in conversion from one to the other, knows what fruitful dialogue can mean. It’s not useless, and it does not necessarily entail compromise. It entails listening, learning the other’s reasoning behind their beliefs, learning “what exactly do you mean when you say…?” and getting the chance to explain yourself in kind. It’s reciprocal apologetics, is what it is.

    Oh, and by the way, having had plenty such dialogue with my good friend who is a member of LCMS — any time you are talking about ecumenism it is completely worthless to speak only of “Lutherans.” There are several different groups and they have had different ecumenical contact with Catholics, with some groups repudiating the actions of other groups.

  • p.s. I think there’s great hope with a large bloc of conservative Anglicans. Their church body may not join with ours, but there may be a mass defection, and we should be ready to talk to these people and listen to their stories.

  • Bearing,

    In one of my earlier comments I touched on the difficulties of dialoguing with “Lutherans”.

  • Yeah, I saw it and I also noticed that many commenters after your comment were still talking about “Lutherans.” Wanted to reinforce the point.

    I suspect, actually, that individual dialogue — the “reciprocal apologetics” I spoke of in an earlier comment — is much more powerful than institutional dialogue. Here a soul meets a soul, in some human bond of amity or collegiality, and sincere interest in each other as human beings sparks a meeting of minds. In the end, it’s not “institutions” we hope to win over to conversion, but individuals.

  • Whether ecumenism has “failed” depends on how you define it. If you mean it only in the strict theological sense — getting the Catholic Church and other Christian bodies to agree on doctrinal matters like justification by faith or the primacy of the pope — then Tito is right; it’s made very little if any progress. I would agree that prospects for doctrinal ecumenism and ultimate reunion are far better with regard to the Orthodox churches — who still have a valid priesthood, apostolic succession, and valid sacraments from a Catholic point of view.

    However, if “ecumenism” means Catholics and other Christians being able to get along better at the personal and social level, and being able to work together on efforts such as promoting the culture of life and traditional marriage, then I’d say it’s succeeded way better than many people could have imagined 50 or 60 years ago. The days when “mixed marriages” could only be performed in the rectory, when Catholics were discouraged from visiting the YMCA or giving to the Salvation Army, when Catholics were forbidden to attend Protestant services or Protestant church functions unless there was a grave reason to do so — those days are long gone.

  • I addressed this before and I think there are a lot of attitudes in regard to ecumenism that was discussed in one way or another.

    I’m not saying this movement does not have any faults or failures. But to say no to it altogether is something entirely different.

    “Thus, it is absolutely clear that ecumenism, the movement promoting Christian unity, is not just some sort of “appendix” which is added to the Church’s traditional activity. Rather, ecumenism is an organic part of her life and work, and consequently must pervade all that she is and does…”(Ut Unum Sint)

    Pope John Paul II connected ecumenism with evangelization and to divorce the two is inherently problematic.

    But if we’re going to just say they’re heretics and let that be the end of it, is that really the Christian thing to do?

    If there is something wrong, join in the debate, but don’t end it.

  • Elaine

    Right, it is a part of the nature of the Church, and any evangelical activity will either be inter-religious or ecumenical in nature (St Paul, for example, engaged inter-religious dialogue at Mars Hill). People confuse the activity with syncretism or giving up one’s beliefs; I’ve pointed out this is a strawman. And as I pointed out, there are four kinds of dialogues – the types dealing with life and work are quite important, and as you have said, they have gone a long way.

  • I do not want to stop ecumenism at all.

    I just want to reassess what works and what doesn’t.

    There are valid points from all across the spectrum here from Eric to Henry, most of which is right on in my opinion.

    I want a more clear and concise road map to follow, which the Vatican is known for.

  • Henry,

    Author: Henry Karlson

    Right, it is a part of the nature of the Church, and any evangelical activity will either be inter-religious or ecumenical in nature (St Paul, for example, engaged inter-religious dialogue at Mars Hill). People confuse the activity with syncretism or giving up one’s beliefs; I’ve pointed out this is a strawman. And as I pointed out, there are four kinds of dialogues – the types dealing with life and work are quite important, and as you have said, they have gone a long way.

    No, it’s not a strawman, since the current implementations of “ecumenism” and “inter-religious dialogue” are actively engaged in abandoning our faith. True ecumenism IS evangelism, sharing our faith with others, not taking on other’s false religious practices.

  • “No, it’s not a strawman, since the current implementations of ‘ecumenism’ and ‘inter-religious dialogue’ are actively engaged in abandoning our faith.”

    It is indeed a stramwan; this claim is made by those who don’t engage the dialogue, have not studied the dialogue, and want an excuse to reject it. However, they offer no evidence of this; show it from the official work of the Church. You can’t.

  • Henry Karlson,

    It was bad enough that you continued to engage in the remarkably deplorable pursuit of false equivalence; but to go to the extent of employing such condescending tone so as to ridicule so as to imply your interlocutor, Elaine, here as nothing more than a simpleton who’s not even “engage[d] the dialogue, have not studied the dialogue, want an excuse to reject it” is nothing more than a viscious ad hominem.

    You’ve written a series on “Lying”, which ironically you have demonstrated yourself expert on not only in theory but, rather magnificently, in practice too.

    You should do well to commit yourself to a study of flagrant fallacies, such as the blatant petitio principii you continue to employ in your above comments — as if merely relying on “dialogue” automatically renders your arguments wholly won.

  • “It was bad enough that you continued to engage in the remarkably deplorable pursuit of false equivalence; but to go to the extent of employing such condescending tone so as to ridicule so as to imply your interlocutor, Elaine, here as nothing more than a simpleton who’s not even “engage[d] the dialogue, have not studied the dialogue, want an excuse to reject it” is nothing more than a viscious ad hominem.”

    I will let people read above and see I said nothing of the sort to Elaine. More importantly, it is quite clear that e. does not know what an ad hominem is — because, of course, it is not an ad hominem to say “you don’t know because you have not studied it” to someone who has not!

    The fact of the matter is, the ones making the charge against ecumenism have to prove their position. That hasn’t been done. Instead, if they read the materials, they would see how silly this charge actually is. But, you know, I think it is because of another kind of ecumenism, they make this charge: for it is the same kind of claptrap one hears from fundies about ecumenism.

  • It pains God that the very body which is to be the sacrament of the unity that he intends for all humankind is so rife with internal division. Any and all efforts that are made even to just increase charity amongst us and our separated brethren are to be commended.

    Love and truth , not power, are the only effective means for a future reunification under Peter.

  • As if by chance, I have begun rereading Christopher Dawson’s THE DIVIDING OF CHRISTENDOM. Its underlying theme is ecumenism, or perhaps rather say, horror and sadness at the division of Christendom.

    Interestingly he indicates that, while it is a religious problem, it is not a theological problem. Rather it is a social and cultural problem.

  • “Typical liberal, when they can’t debate the points they devolve into name-calling.”

    You really should stop using the term “liberal” as a catchall phrase to encompass all those who disagree with you. For the record, of all the people I know, Henry is the one least tainted by Enlightment-era liberalism. Ask him about tsar martyr Nicholas II! He’s also too humble to say this, but inter-religious dialogue is actually his academic field. In other words, we all should listen to what he has to say.

  • It occurred to me today at Mass as we sang a hymn written by Isaac Watt, that that is possibly a good way to nourish ecumenism: swipe the good hymns from the Protestants and send the bad modern catholic jesuit hymns to the Episcopalians.

  • I do not want to stop ecumenism at all.

    Why not? Ecumenism isn’t in the Holy Bible, is it?

  • Michael I.,

    I’ve done my part, my charisms are in others areas. If you want to forward ecumenism you should read Thomas A Kempis’ the “Imitation of Christ”, begin behaving and acting as a Christian in order to bring unity to the Body of Christ, instead of running away to a foreign country and insulting people who truly love the Lord.

  • Tito,

    I commend you for attempts in matters ecumenical.

  • “I, on the other hand, condemn you in matters Romero, you anti-Catholic punk you!”