Wednesday, March 12, 2014

This one caught my eye.

And not in a good way.

A little while ago, Walter Cardinal Kasper argued in favor of giving communion to those Catholics who remarried after a divorce without getting an annulment.

Put as politely as possible, Cardinal Kasper's proposals leave an empty, sham notion of marital indissolubility on the sacramental books while effectively gutting it.

Put more directly: they are casuistic bullshit.

Which makes it a little surprising that the Pope was so delighted with them, given his stance on such forms of reasoning.

Be that as it may, make no mistake--they are a frontal assault on the Catholic claim to indefectibility.

Should they become Catholic practice, I don't see how I could in good conscience remain a Catholic. Just felt like getting it out there, given my prolonged periods of radio silence. Prayer is at the top of my list of priorities.

It's going to be a long, worrisome summer. I hope and pray to God something approximating good sense starts exorcising the Return of the Spirit of '76.


  1. Dude, don't hold back. What do you really think?

  2. I don't think changing the practice of whether to give communion to divorced and remarried/non-annulled Catholics counts as reversing or substantially altering a dogma.

    In any case, how many divorced and remarried Catholics receive communion every week without anyone knowing, so fractured are our parishes and communities?

    I am not in favor of the possibility being proposed. I agree that it undermines the Church's teachings on marriage.

  3. It attempts to give the Church's imprimatur to something Our Lord flatly called adultery.

    It doesn't get any more substantial than that.

    There's a difference between people violating the norm and trashing the norm by endorsing the violation.

    This is make-or-break stuff for me. It won't matter to the Church, but it does to me. If Kasper wins, to hell with it.

  4. I've seen varying reports on this, and what's not clear to me is what changes the Cardinal actually wants.

    If he just wants to allow remarried divorcees to be allowed to receive Communion, then he's flat out wrong. I can't see the Church teaching ever changing to this.

    If, however, he wants (as I've seen mentioned, but I forget where) to shift determination of annulment away from a tribunal and allow a priest to declare that no sacrament occurred...well, that path is way too wide open. Such a change would be devastating to marriage if unchecked. (Perhaps oversight by the diocese somehow, with regular reporting, would help. Not sure)

    My suggestion (for which I'm sure the Princes of the Church are anxiously waiting) is to allow those seeking annullment to receive...assume nullity, even though the process isn't complete. This should, however, include clear instruction to the remarried individual that continence is expected inside their non-Church marriage until the annullment is confirmed and the marriage can be convalidated.

  5. Yeah, this is kind of where I'm at as well. It's not that I'm going all stampy-feet, "I'll show you". It's that what initially drew this Evangelical to the Catholic Church was the continuity of the faith back to Pentecost. The Catholic Church didn't feel feel to reinvent itself at every whim. If the Holy Spirit has sustained the Church throughout millenia, then we should not be able to discard parts and pieces of the faith which has been revealed. But if the Church can just wink at the words of Jesus (the words that are in red in the first King James Bible my parents ever gave me) about no one putting assunder a union that God has put together, then I'll be forced to conclude that I fundamentally misunderstood what the Catholic Church was at the time it Confirmed me into the faith. There really would be no point in staying then. Not sure what would come next, but I would know that I am not home in a way that I thought I was at Easter Vigil in 2008.

  6. "but I would know that I am not home in a way that I thought I was at Easter Vigil in 2008."

    Well said. Except that mine stretches back to Easter Vigil 1999. And I don't know where I would go, either.

    My own sense of disquiet--maybe dis-homed-ness?--has been at varying levels over the past few months. But such a departure would be a clincher. Not that I would be happy about it--far from it.

  7. "It attempts to give the Church's imprimatur to something Our Lord flatly called adultery.

    It doesn't get any more substantial than that."

    This for me as well.

    I know that in the history of the Church, there have been heresies and their followers who far and away out numbered those who held to the True Faith. I'm not sure that included Pope's tho.

    I don't know what I will do. If this goes as DP states, it will be bad. There is alot at stake here.

  8. I don't see any reason in it, either. They should know by now that appealing to fads causes greater losses ultimately among the faithful than hard-line, unPC pronouncements of doctrine. I'm hoping for something like JPII's clear pronouncement on the male-only priesthood. I can see that happening: "The Church has no authority to permit those living in adultery to receive communion."

  9. This is an area where I think I part company with the group. I think the Orthodox got this, and a few other things, correct.

    Moreso than the indefensible corner we Latins have painted ourselves into over the years.

    So I don't see any change, whatever it may or may not entail, actually making a difference to me.

  10. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  11. Flambeaux:

    I'm curious what range you have in mind by saying, "over the years." Do you mean modern canonical adjustments to annulments, or do you reject the entire tradition of annulments?

    1. In brief, I think Rome has made as much of a theological and practical muddle regarding marriage as it has Holy Orders. Annulments are only one component of the mess.

      I'll try and make some time this week to send you a more detailed email.

  12. To be clear, whether sinners receive Communion is a practice, a legislation. Not a doctrine.

    Many Catholics persist in serious sin. The one thing that remarried Catholics suffer is that unlike clergy and others, they have no way out. They have committed an unforgiveable sin in the eyes of the older siblings and the institution.

    My mother, for example, had the way to becoming Catholic barred to her because she was married for a few months way back in the early 40's. Her marriage to my dad lasted fifty years.

    At some point, a dollop of good sense and sound pastoral practice is needed. Dale and other Catholic detractors can fret and fuss all they want. But their narratives are not the only examples of morality and orthodoxy.

    The Orthodox likely have a far better solution to this, and their sacraments and marriages are as valid and sound as Roman practice.

    30% divorce rates among my sister and brother Catholics have no impact on my marriage. Nor Dale's. Nor anyone else's here. Better to pay attention to the real threats: communication, money, patience, mercy, addictions, porn, selfishness.

  13. If it weren't leavened with your trademark condescension, Todd, I could hardly believe you would deliver such a vapid argument.

    "30% divorce rates among my sister and brother Catholics have no impact on my marriage. Nor Dale's. Nor anyone else's here. Better to pay attention to the real threats: communication, money, patience, mercy, addictions, porn, selfishness."

    If it doesn't affect me directly, shut up? Not to point too fine a point on it, but this is really an idiotic argument.

    The same claims were made for no-fault divorce. Not to mention it's a remarkably privatised and pietisitic look at the most public of sacraments. You're blindly *hoping* the change won't affect anyone you know, but you can hardly argue on the basis of human nature and past experience that the Church offering mulligans won't increase divorce rates.

    No, Todd, you're going to have to put some thought into the argument next time.

    Finally, it's ironic that you'd mention porn, too. It's difficult to see on what religious grounds Catholics could argue against lusting after pictures once the Church signs a concordat with divorce. One adultery argument from Jesus is just as easily waved away as another.

  14. Insofar as the Church's claim to infallibility encompasses both faith and morals, Dale's observation that blessing adultery would vacate all claims to infallibility are spot-on.

  15. Keeping you in mind, Dale (and your family).

    This pope is adept at gratuitous abrasions and not much else. The conclave made a tragic error (but one which I'll wager 2/3 of the American clergy celebrates).

  16. Hit a sensitive spot, did I? I have no intention or even desire to see you shut up. But I don't have a problem standing up to your argument without resorting to insult.

    Marriage is indeed under a lot of stress, if not attack. But you can't hide behind someone else's divorce.

    And by the way, it's not Jesus' argument, but Paul's about unworthily receiving the Eucharist. And even that position has not had a universal uniformity of opinion behind it.

    Review the Orthodox practice: first marriage sacramental. Second marriage blessed after a period of time and the believers returned to the sacraments.

    I find I need the graces of the Eucharist nearly daily. If we believed in that, perhaps we would be less snooty about who doesn't receive. Or who might need that grace most of all.

    A blessed Lent to you and yours. You may have tired arguments from bygone St Blog's days, but as a family man, you're still someone to look up to.

  17. Todd,

    What other Commandment do you want to wipe off the tablet?...looks like 6 and 9 are going to be obliterated. Why not 7 and would be a LOT easier for many people if they were gone...after all, we're in the modern era; it's so haaaard to keep these rules today.
    If going to Holy Communion with this particular mortal sin on the soul is ok, why not any other? (after a suitable period of remorse and 'penance' of course). Why keep Confession?...why insist on a firm purpose of amendment?

    As to the clear teaching of 1 Cor 11 to which you said, "...and even that position has not had a universal uniformity of opinion behind it"...excuse my brusqueness here but, what a load of crap. To all be the Rahners and Kungs of the world and the ages, ummmm, yeah, it pretty much has had 'universal uniformity of opinion'...if you're in an ongoing and unchanging state of mortal sin, you are not to present yourself for Holy Communion...oh yeah, unless you're really really bummed out about it and donate a suitable amount to the bishop's vacation, er.....building fund in 'penance'.

    This isn't a political football...we're talking about the Body and Blood of God Almighty...Holy Fire! Reread St. Paul's exhortation again and realize that it is first and foremost for the good of the sinner (!) that those in mortal sin are not to receive the Blessed Sacrament. Adultery is mortal sin (you can't change Christ's words on this). Holy Communion is indeed an aid to the soul in a state of grace, but to one in a state of mortal sin, receiving is a sacrilege...a further death of the soul. And for a 'pastor' of souls to fight for this, instead of teaching and holding to the immutable Truth, will have its own terrible reckoning. It has nothing, zero, BUPKIS to do with being “less snooty about who doesn't receive”.

  18. cont....

    Do the divorced and remarried have a tremendous cross to carry?...yes. And they should be helped in every pastorally permissible way, but realize that this is a cross that individuals lay on their own shoulders. Neither God not the Church has done this to them. There is an accountability for our decisions and our sins, and sometimes that accountability is incredibly painful...THUS EVER has it been, and it always proves to be the dividing line between a Saint and a damned. I understand fully your mother’s predicament, but my empathy for her in NO way changes the right-and-wrong of the situation…sorry, but pleading ‘situational ethics’ isn’t gonna hold up at the Judgment. If her first was a truly Sacramental marriage, then she lived in adultery with another man for 50 years.

    How 'bout the bishops put this much effort into really teaching the gravity and indissolubility of marriage, Who and what a Sacramental marriage reflects (Christ cannot divorce His Church). How ‘bout they insist on some SERIOUS, earth shaking, Truthful teaching on marriage from the pulpits, RCIA, CCD and Pre-Cana classes, including very clear teaching on exactly why homosexuality, fornication, adultery, and other counterfeits are gravely sinful. Gee that would be a novel idea….one that hasn’t been tried for a veeeery long time.

    Instead, we have the princes of the Church giving serious contemplation to changing the dogmatic praxis (and make no mistake, that's exactly what it is) in the application of Christ's and St. Paul's inerrant and unchangeable words. Sorry…there’s no squaring that circle.
    As for me, I’ve begun giving a very hard look at the SSPX….they’ve been allowed to form, and grow, and prosper under the Eye of Divine Providence for a reason He may yet use to His glory (cf. Romans 8:28). I’m beginning to think they might in fact be the Pella prepared for us in such a time as this; the preservation of the Truth. I certainly read Rev 12:13-17 with new eyes. The Orthodox have lost their way long ago, and sadly keep falling further and further into the hole….amazing really that Rome is making moves to follow them in one of their most egregious errors, and that this might bring a false ‘unity’. What a cosmic irony. What else will Rome compromise after this? truly is our Lambeth moment, and I too, DM, will have a fitful summer.

    Prayer and fast


Be reasonably civil. Ire alloyed with reason is fine. But slagging the host gets you the banhammer.

So I have been trying to figure out what to do.

 Those who have followed this space no doubt noticed a bit of an eastward drift, spiritually.  Largely, but far from entirely, due to Cathol...