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Wednesday, May 07, 2014

Just a reminder: Make sure to check the batteries on your smoke detectors at least once a year.

On a related note, two Church-y items:

Item No. 1.

The Walter Kasper Victory Tour is in full swing, touching down in New York yesterday for some riotous fun, starting with hot new cuts from his latest opus, Jesus, What's With All These Rules?:

First, he undercuts his German confrere in the CDF:

“If you have a problem with the leadership of the women’s orders, then you have to have a discussion with them, you have to dialogue with them, an exchange of ideas,” he said. “Perhaps they have to change something. Perhaps also the Congregation (for the Doctrine of the Faith) has a little bit to change its mind. That’s the normal way of doing things in the church. I am for dialogue. Dialogue presupposes different positions. The church is not a monolithic unity.”

Second, he compares Elizabeth Johnson to the Angelic Doctor (ISYN):

Asked about Johnson and another feminist theologian, Elisabeth Schussler Fiorenza, whose views have also been disputed by the hierarchy, Kasper said that he has known them both for years and added: “I esteem them both.”

Kasper — often a sparring partner with his fellow German theologian, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who later became Benedict XVI — said that critiques are part of academic discourse but said that the CDF sometimes “sees some things a little bit narrower.”
He said that the criticism of Johnson “is not a tragedy and we will overcome,” and he noted that St. Thomas Aquinas, the medieval theologian now considered one of the greatest minds in the church, was condemned by his bishop and lived under a shadow for years.
“So she is in good company!” Kasper said of Johnson.
Esteem for Dr. Schussler-Fiorenza's work is also...fascinating...because of the, how shall I say it...ah, yes: the WTF Factor.

But don't worry--as he correctly notes, he has the Pope's Seal of Approval:

In many ways, Kasper may better reflect Francis’ outlook than the crackdown on U.S. nuns launched by the Vatican’s doctrinal office. Just as Francis has downplayed the focus on rule-following and hot-button issues in an effort to widen the church’s appeal, Kasper has pushed the importance of pastoral flexibility and realism in walking with Catholics throughout their imperfect lives.
Kasper is in the U.S. to discuss his book, “Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life.” It includes a blurb from Pope Francis, who has made mercy a cornerstone of his ministry since he was elected last year.
On Monday, Kasper told the audience that after Francis praised him by name just days after his election, “an old cardinal came to him and said, ‘Holy Father, you cannot do this! There are heresies in this book!’ ”
As Francis recounted the story to Kasper, he said, the pope smiled and added: “This enters in one ear and goes out the other."
Oh, and the Cardinal may have just done the following to Humanae Vitae:

Item No. 2.

Or: Jesus, What's With All These Rules? Vol. II.

The guy the Pope appointed to be Secretary General for the Synod on the Family is stoked for some big changes:

In an exclusive interview with the Christian weekly magazine Tertio which appears this Wednesday, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, says it is time to update church marriage doctrine, for example in connection with divorce, the situation of divorcees and people who are in civil partnerships.

"The Church is not timeless, she lives amidst the vicissitudes of history and the Gospel must be known and experienced by people today," says Baldisseri.

"It is in the present that the message should be, with all respect for the integrity from whom the message has been received. We now have two synods to treat this complex theme of the family and I believe that these dynamics in two movements will allow a more adequate response to the expectations of the people", says the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops.

Which should be a surprise to precisely no one, as he loudly hinted at this last year. Timeless Church? Nah. It's the Church of What's Happening Now, and we have to take our cues from the zeitgeist. 

Eh. It's probably OK.


  1. I have a feeling that by the end of this pontificate, the word 'mercy' will stink to high Heaven, like 'welfare' before it.

  2. And Kasper, the author of two outstanding historical studies on dogma, The God of Jesus Christ, and Jesus the Christ!! And in certain article commentary on the so-called Second Coming, just first class, yet this. Ever since the clash with Ratzinger over the question of Bishops Conferences roughly fifteen - twenty years ago things have been a bit erratic with this man. But he's clearly over the top with the marriage thing. I agree, I think we're getting ready for a major trivialization of sacramental marriage bedecked as it will be in vagueness as only Francis can evince vagueness. I'm glad I've decided to lapse my Catholicism into non-participation. I can't bring myself to identify with what I see coming here.

  3. Alright, I admit, the words "apostate" and "heretic" are popping into my mind. I haven't yet used them, but they are there. And I'm greatly disturbed, because these are cardinals. I don't understand why I'm waiting for the official words from the Synod. Because apparently tradition and official doctrine is not binding, so why bother with whatever the Synod says? (I'm probably hoping for divine intervention or something.)

    And what about the fact that according to Kasper "pope believes 50% of marriages to be invalid". Hilarious. There goes the tradition that natural marriages are real marriages. Then what about amending the Canon Law, to make some additional rules about entering a marriage? Because if indeed 50% are not valid then how is that not a mockery of the Holy Matrimony to allow this to continue? Oh well, that would be unmerciful, wouldn't it? So instead, lets delegate the power of annulling marriages to the same priests that didn't bother to check if all is in order in the first place. That will work.

    I can't take much more of this. I really can't.

  4. Dear Mr. Price. You are often in my thoughts and daily in my prayers and when I read this I said to my own self - Mr. Price would love this.

    I just discovered this gentleman's Blog and I am loving the hell out of it. It is a joy to read as is your Blog.

    Pax tecum

  5. Actually, I don't have any problem with an argument that a significant percentage of marriages are invalid--even half. It makes sense to me, given how morally deranged and askew the world is.

    But the problem with that is that it's right next to an argument for presumptive *in*validity, which is not how the sacraments work. Ex opere, and all that.

  6. I can also accept that the Cardinal was a solid theologian. As someone who has a little K. Rahner and even the Kunger ("Does God Exist?") on his bookshelf, I can imagine there's something worthwhile there, as long as one has a sufficient background to tackle it.

    But, no, there's no theological acuity in his proposal. The misuse of the Fathers is enough to demonstrate that.

    It's also grimly ironic how the champion of episcopal conferences cut the legs out from under the USCCB with his comments on Johnson. Makes me think that there's some deck-stacking in that concept.

  7. Doctor:

    I hear you. But that leaves it incumbent upon us to cleave to the true meaning of it, which is a cross and neither license nor affirmation.

  8. BAC:

    Thank you.

    As to the link, it's a lot more than I can really devote any time to, alas.

  9. I really don't even know what to say to all of this anymore. I know that people are frustrated at me for it. Why can't I just get on board with the whole Francis papacy and be content to know that no doctrine will be changing so everything else is just some sort of small ball discipline shuffling.

    But I can't. Not because I don't want to, because I really don't enjoy living in this sort of turmoil, but because I'm not really sure how to BE Catholic anymore should the Kasper protocols be implemented. What do I do the next time I'm in the confessional. If there are now tolerable sins that are no bar to communion with God, what do I confess. Certainly the divorced and civilly remarried wouldn't be required to confess each incident of sexual contact with their spouse between trips to the confessional booth. The church says they are tolerable. If our Lord says this is adultery and we are tolerating it, not making it a bar to communion, not calling on God for mercy because of it, then why would I confess other incidences of adultery or any sexual sin for that matter. If the divorced and remarried are not confessing their sexual contact with their new spouse which Jesus says is adultery, then why would I confess getting drunk at the office Christmas party and making out with a coworker behind my wife's back? Why confess masturbation, use of pornography, lust, contraception, etc... if adultery is a tolerable sin? Why let any of this bother my conscience?

    If the Kasper protocol reigns in October, then I'm at a loss as to how to even go about the business of being a Catholic anymore.

  10. Josh:

    For what it's worth, I, too, have grown a little weary of the Matthew 16 arguments. While true, such is a dismissal, not a response. Basically, I'm in the same boat. And you are 100% right about the "tolerable sins" effect.

    On what basis do we argue against gazing at a Playboy centerfold, if this reform becomes the law of the land? Jesus called that adultery, too, but apparently we can tolerate what we cannot otherwise accept, or some such, even if Jesus said it.

    In other words, it's a massive exercise in special pleading that doesn't stand up to the slightest scrutiny.

    And with it, the entire Catholic teaching on sexuality collapses like a New Orleans sea wall.

    All I can say is to keep hanging on, and know you are not alone.

  11. From outside the fence, those are scary words, Dale. Episcopalians have heard similar words for decades now. If Francis starts publicly saying things like that then find out where your local Orthodox churches are.

  12. adnFrom outside the fence, those are scary words, Dale. Episcopalians have heard similar words for decades now. If Francis starts publicly saying things like that then find out where your local Orthodox churches are and the times of their services.

  13. Brother Chris, I have no idea what I am going to do. I really don't.