What a relief!

“This pope is not a liberal pope. He is a radical pope! … This pope goes back to the gospel. … I told the pope, ‘Holy Father, there will be a controversy [after the consistory]. … The pope laughed and told him, ‘That’s good, we should have that!’ … I do not know if my proposals will be acceptable…. I made them in agreement with the pope, I did not do them just myself. I spoke beforehand with the pope, and he agreed.” …

Kasper said he was confident that the process of debate that Francis had launched on the topic of family life and sexuality would in the end produce some significant reforms, in part “because there are very high expectations.”

He noted that the church has often changed, or “developed,” over the centuries, and quite recently in the 1960s when, for example, the Second Vatican Council reversed long-standing teachings against religious freedom and dialogue with other believers.

Kasper reiterates that he’s not advocating a change in the church’s dogma on the sanctity of marriage, but a change in the “pastoral practice” about who can receive Communion. “To say we will not admit divorced and remarried people to Holy Communion? That’s not a dogma [noumenon]. That’s an application [phenomenon] of a dogma in a concrete pastoral practice. This can be changed.” [Behold the rank Kantianism!]

Kasper said it is the voice of the faithful that has made the difference. “The strongest support comes from the people, and you cannot overlook that,” he said.

“If what people are doing and what the church is teaching, if there is an abyss, that doesn’t help the credibility of the church,” he said. “One has to change.”


Centuries ago, the Arians were not demanding a change in dogma, either, opting instead to disseminate their heresy through lived worship and pastoral changes. Where traditional liturgy easily spoke of Christ as God, the Arians preferred to tone down such abstruse language, speaking of Christ as the most Godlike creature [homoiousios]. Thus, based on popular expectations and customs, it was precisely by challenging and altering “merely disciplinary” matters in the liturgy–or as Kasper would say, changing “concrete pastoral practice”–that Arianism took root. Don’t be deceived: we’re enduring the same kind of assault on a different front.

About The Codgitator (a cadgertator)

Catholic convert. Quasi-Zorbatic. Freelance interpreter, translator, and web marketer. Former ESL teacher in Taiwan (2003-2012) and former public high school teacher (2012-2014). Married father of three. Multilingual, would-be scholar, and fairly consistent fitness monkey. My research interests include: the interface of religion and science, the history and philosophy of science and technology, ancient and medieval philosophy, and cognitive neuroscience. Please pray for me.
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16 Responses to What a relief!

  1. “…the Second Vatican Council reversed long-standing teachings against religious freedom…”

    What was that you were saying about this being Now, and the Now being all we have..?

  2. Danielius says:

    “the Second Vatican Council reversed long-standing teachings against religious freedom”

    REVERSED? Reversed! Not tweaked, developed or adapted to a new situation but reversed?! Ok, that part is not a direct quote and I guess Kasper would try to hide it under “development”, but a reversal is a reversal.

    So, alright, two questions: Given that apparently the Magisterium can contradict itself as the times change, why shouldn’t we be regarded as a high-church (actually not that high church nowadays) Protestant denomination?
    Moreover, is there any substantial precedent for “religious freedom” within the Tradition (capital-T, you know that thing that predates 20th centrury and is several centuries old)? Nay, you say? Shouldn’t we then say to the EOs that “You’re right, we innovate and generally do as we damn please, ’cause the Pope says so. Booyah!”.
    Can Kasper the Friendly Non-Believer in the Law-of-Noncontradiction give me any clues here or will he just shout “mercy mercy mercy” at me in the hope that I vanish or something?

  3. Tony Jokin says:

    looool Cardinal Kasper is making me look like a joke for what I have been writing in our discussion on the the European Americanism…. article. Sad thing is, this is not a new experience and tends to be what I normally get with trying to defend any orthodox teaching of the Church. I tell someone XYZ and then the person quotes me Pope Francis to show how I am wrong. That is why I usually stay silent now when I meet people in person and have such discussions 😀

    Anyway, I think Pope Francis should at least take responsibility for letting this man run amok and use his name and cause confusion. ….. like that will ever happen….

  4. Tony Jokin says:

    So ok. My view is that every pastoral decision in the past is connected to doctrine. They are not just decisions made in a vacuum. If dialogue with Protestants were discouraged, it was to safeguard Catholics from being tempted to the errors of Protestantism and also to act as an incentive for the Protestant to rethink their position due to social isolation. If we are to simply say “lets all dialogue with Protestants”, then has the risk gone away? The risk is worth it you say? But isn’t it wrong to deliberately put oneself in moments of temptation anyway?

    Similarly, the doctrinal reasons behind the pastoral act of denying communion to public sinners has been pretty clear for a long time. Now has Cardinal Kasper or Pope Francis demonstrated how the reasoning is invalid? Last time I checked, they haven’t.

    So to me, all of this seems like a lot of people acting without thinking. It is like we have Cardinals in the Church who are lacking an ability to make connections and understand simple social consequences of allowing or suppressing something.

  5. Dear TJ. Don’t feel bad about that. Hell, that’s nothing. It was but ashore time ago that I was defending the idea that one could change discipline without dissolving Doctrine ( I got better)

  6. Dear TJ, It may be far worse than you think. Msgr Gherardini thinks that a large part of the Bishops are Rhanerians as are many who hold Chairs of Theology.

    History and progress centered on man and if one finds Doctrines and Disciplines inhibiting, one turns to the methods of the 16th century divines and one leaps backward over more than a thousands of years of Tradition and development to the purity of the Gospel (as their eyes of eisegesis read it).

    I will not neglect to thank the Cardinal for his efforts because I do not want to repeat the errors of the Catholic W.C. Fields:

    A woman drove me to drink and I didn’t even have the decency to thank her.

  7. Branch says:

    What was Rahner’s main point? I didn’t read much of his beyond his book on prayer.

  8. Pingback: Words Fail: Kasper calls Francis “radical pope,” says he has papal support on divorcees receiving Eucharist | A Blog for Dallas Area Catholics

  9. Transcendental Thomism, or what Fr. Jaki called “Aquikantism.” I’ll see if I can rustle up some links, but Google is pretty nifty, too. 😉

  10. mgl says:

    I think the irrationalism is a feature, not a bug. After all, it was just last week we were effectively being exhorted to turn our brains off and submit to whatever the “Holy Spirit” dictated to certain high-ranking clerics. Never mind Wisdom, Understanding, Counsel, and Knowledge! Heck, we might as well toss out Fortitude, Piety and Fear of the Lord while we’re at it. Turns out we got it wrong all this time, and the Spirit actually doesn’t go in for all that boring egghead analytical stuff. He’s more about breaking through vaguely defined “boundaries”, leading us to new, somehow better pastures, and raining down mercy on the just and unjust alike.

    Seriously, has the Holy Father constructed one tight, coherent argument for anything in the past fourteen months? I haven’t read everything he’s said or written by any means, but a great deal of it comes across to me as intermittently intelligible emotionalizing, loaded with pleasant-sounding buzzwords but lacking even the rudiments of the persuasive arts. Even Cardinals Kasper and Maradiaga (et al) seem to rely mostly on variations of “Hey, it’s 2014!”

    In short, since our protagonists know that they have neither the facts nor the law on their side, they have opted to pound the table.

  11. Tony Jokin says:

    Sad but unfortunately true. I haven’t heard a single coherent argument laid out for anything. If anything, as you said, there is encouragement to abandon such critical thinking at times. In fact, I cannot even make coherent sense out of what is said from one homily or interview to another.

    I have given up trying. At the end of the day, I have to worry about my salvation and that of my immediate family first and I have personally concluded that reading everything that is said from the Top is not helping me with that. Instead, it is frustrating me and sometimes making me feel like “what if they change this sometime anyway?” with something I or someone I know would be struggling with.

  12. Msgr Gherardini describes his bailiwick as one consisting of distilling theology down into anthropology; This is confirmed by the fact that Rahner, true to himself, would recognize only “the theology” which was open to “the whole profane auto-interpretation which man possesses in a certain epoch” which “dialogues” with it, which assimilates it and comes to be “fecundated by it regarding its language, but even more so regarding the object itself.”

    Apparently, we are required to consider theology as historical anthropology, so there’s that.

  13. Branch says:

    Thank you. I’m guessing it would mean, then, that theology must necessarily ‘keep with the times’, is historically conditioned?

  14. Dale Price says:

    I think I have the biggest struggles when he’s pellucidly clear. As you note, it’s intermittent. But when he is, it’s usually not reassuring. Some happy exceptions, but nevertheless.

  15. Dale Price says:

    I have one of the few English translations still available on order. I am very much looking forward to the Monsignor’s book.

    I think. I don’t remotely expect it to be reassuring. But at least an explanation of the spiritual vertigo would be nice.

  16. Dear Mr. Price I’m glad you secured a copy. I can’t do it justice; it needs someone like you and B.C. and Brother Boniface at USC to present a review of it

    The book is a keeper and worth far more than the pricey amount I had to pay for it.

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