Catholics must remember the warning against the "itching ears" of those who want to question Church teaching—such as Cardinal Kasper. Some prelates have spoken out against his unorthodox statements on divorced-remarried Catholics and that they should be allowed to receive Communion.
In relation to Cardinal Kasper's unorthodox statements and the announced Roman Synod on the Family to be held in October, we offer an editorial from DICI and a news report relating the comments of some outspoken prelates with more orthodox views about matrimony.
Is it contagious?
In Rome, the document that the members of the upcoming Synod on the family (October 5-19) are to study should be ready this month.
In the meantime, Cardinal Walter Kasper’s report on February 20, that questioned de facto the indissolubility of marriage (see DICI no. 292, 3-14-2014), continues to raise sharp criticism.
After Cardinal Carlo Caffarra, Archbishop of Bologna, and Cardinal Walter Brandmueller, former president of the Pontifical Committee of Historical Science, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, president emeritus of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, voiced his profound disagreement with his German confrere, in a conference he gave for the opening of the legal year at the Regional Ecclesiastical Tribunal of Umbria (Italy), on March 27.
Cardinal Kasper doesn’t care. On May 5, he offered his support to the ultra-progressivist nuns of the LCWR (Leadership Conference of Women Religious), after they received a warning at the end of April from Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
According to the National Catholic Reporter, he even suggested: “Maybe the Congregation of the Faith should change its state of mind a little bit,” adding in a careless tone: “I, too, am a suspect.”
In Rome, some are beginning to wonder whether Cardinal Kasper’s stubborn heterodoxy is not a medical condition, and suggesting a new scientific name: galloping kasperitis. Others are wondering whether this acute form of kasperitis is contagious.—Question to be answered from October 5 to 19.
Fr. Alain Lorans
Prelates speak out against Kasper’s “Catholic-divorce”
An extraordinary synod of bishops will take place at the Vatican in October 2014 to discuss the pastoral care of the family and pastoral challenges in the context of evangelization, to which about 150 leading bishops are expected to attend.
Certainly during the synod, the unorthodox comments of Cardinal Kasper divorce-remarried Catholics will be readily discussed. That this is being anticipated is clearly brought into relief by some words of advice that Archbishop Samuel Aquila of Denver has offered to the synodal attendees via a recent interview with the Catholic News Agency during which he:
offered a reflection for his brother bishops on the pastoral issue of proclaiming ‘the gospel marriage’ of Christ to the world.
...Christ’s interchange with the Pharisees over the issue of divorce offers a good starting point for those taking part in the synod. Rather than giving into their arguments for justification of such an act, Jesus reminds his listeners of God’s original plan for marriage. Today, some continue to denounce Christ’s ‘gospel of marriage’ calling it ‘impractical’ and, as a result, ‘non-pastoral.’"
The archbishop of Denver continued that it is a false reaction to:
…manufacture a pseudo-truth about marriage in the name of being ‘pastoral’... mercy cannot be confused with tolerating an evil... From the perspective of God’s saving grace and restorative mercy, the truth about marriage revealed by Christ is practicable and most pastoral…"
He further illustrated this point with the example of Christ and the Samaritan woman, and that Our Lord did not hesitate to tell her “the truth” about her “situation and how she was living in sin and showed her the love and mercy of God’s law ”.
Concerning his own ecclesiastical confreres, Archbishop Aquila didn’t pull any punches going so far as to state:
In my view, these [false] opinions expressed by the People of God should compel bishops to declare a profound mea maxima culpa. They point to our failure as pastors, teachers and spiritual fathers."
Archbishop Aquila continued by emphasizing the need to teach the faithful how to properly believe as Catholics on such moral issues.
He cited as an example the case of a newly-married woman who was thankful for what she learned though the marriage classes made obligatory by the Denver diocese. She further expressed the wish she had been taught these lessons in high school, which prompted the archbishop to institute this suggestion in archdiocese. While we must congratulate the good will of this local ordinary, unfortunately, what is being taught is in itself deficient—for integral to these classes are the problematic programs of Natural Family Planning and Theology of the Body. Nonetheless, the lesson here is that few pastors are doing anything systematic to properly teach the faithful about the Catholic sacrament of matrimony.
Another outspoken American prelate, though transplanted to the City of Rome, has been Cardinal Raymond Burke, who strongly objected to Cardinal Kasper’s opinions as being “a great deal of potential disillusionment” in that through his unorthodox views, “somehow we can uphold the truth about marriage” by allowing such persons to live in an objective sinful state of adultery while granting them Communion. The Catholic Church’s doctrine on this matter Burke said, are from “the very words of Christ Himself in the Gospel.”
Also from the Italian peninsula of the nearby diocese of Bologna, are the strong words of Cardinal Carlo Caffara, who during an interview in March with Il Foglio condemned the notion of “Catholic-divorce”:
I have the impression that, if Jesus was to enter suddenly a gathering of priests, bishops and cardinals who are discussing of all the grave problems about marriage and family, and he were asked as the Pharisees did: “Master, is marriage dissoluble or indissoluble? Or are there some cases where, after a little penance…? What would Jesus answer? I think He would give the same reply he gave the Pharisees: “Return to the ‘Beginning’."
The problem is that, today, they want to cure the symptoms without seriously facing the sickness. Hence the Synod will not have the ability to avoid taking a frontal position on this dilemma: the evolutionary process of the form (morfogenesi) of marriage and the family, has it been positive for the persons, for their relationship and for society or, inversely, does it reveal a decadence of the persons, of their relationship which could have devastating effect over the entire civilization? The Synod cannot avoid such inquiry.
[Regarding the Kasper hypothesis of giving some penance to remarried divorces before readmission to the holy Eucharist]… Whoever makes this hypothesis has not answered a very simple question: what happens to the first marriage ratified and consummated? If the Church admits to the Holy Eucharist, She must give also a judgment of legitimacy of the second union. This is logical! But now, what happens to the first marriage? The second, it is said, cannot be a true second marriage, since bigamy is against the word of the Lord. And the first? Is it dissolved? But the Popes have always taught that the papal power cannot go so far: regarding the ratified and consummated marriage, the Pope has no power.
The projected solution gives us to think that the first marriage remains intact, but that there is also a second form of common life which the Church legitimates. Hence, this is an exercise of sexuality outside marriage which the Church considers valid. At this point, one could ask himself: and why should we not approve concubinage? What about the homosexual relations? Hence the last question is simple: what happens to the first marriage?"
1 Quotes are from CNA’s article, "Archbishop Aquila: teaching on marriage must be rooted in Christ", May 2, 2014.
2 See The Angelus issues of June 2011 and March 2013 on this question.
3 Il Foglio, "Da Bologna con amore: fermatevi", March 14, 2014; our translation.