IMPORTANT: THREE major Catholic media sources publish SAME response to Card. Kasper!

Something highly unusual and highly important happened today.

An opinion piece, the same opinion piece, was published simultaneously in three media outlets, the UK’s best Catholic weekly The Catholic Herald, the National Catholic Registerand ZENIT. Two print and one internet only.  One UK, one US, one “neutral”.  The National catholic Reporter, no… The Tablet, no. Shut out.

I don’t remember anything like this.

The fact of simultaneous release, in “competing” outlets, suggests to me some seriously well-played organization.  In other words: somebody important wants what Prof. Rist has to say to be read and absorbed and circulated.

The writer is Prof. John Rist, a world-renowned ethicist and Patristic scholar. He was one of my instructors at my school, the Augustinianum in Rome. I have cited him before on this blog.  There is a short bio after the article, below.

Here is the piece in its entirety. It is important that everyone see it, know about it, read it.  My emphases:

Cardinal Kasper’s new approach to the remarried has shaky historical foundations

The cardinal’s case is based on a doubtful interpretation of a tiny number of texts
By DR JOHN RIST

On February 20 last, Cardinal Walter Kasper gave an address, “The Gospel of the Family”, to the extraordinary consistory on the family called by the Holy Father, much of it concerned with outlining current difficulties – massive mobility, immigration, costs of childrearing, aging populations, individualism, alienation of urban life, civil divorce, etc – faced by Catholics entering the married state.

A married Catholic such as myself might suppose that these prevailing circumstances suggest, rather than a relaxation of the rules debarring from Communion the divorced and “re-married” that promulgating from Rome requirements for far more serious marriage-instruction to be given to couples, by priests (or others) cognisant of these difficulties of marriage in contemporary society, would be a first obvious step towards solving, or at least diminishing the problem and easing the strain on marriage tribunals. Yet the cardinal proposes that the rule about Communion be liberalised for two groups of divorced and remarried Catholics: those who genuinely believe (or may even know) that they originally entered on a Church wedding with no firm intention, or inadequate understanding, as to the rules about validity; secondly, those who have contracted a civil second marriage because their Catholic marriage has failed “irretrievably” – with emphasis on a “probably very small group” of these last as especially worthy of relaxation of the rules.

However, it is not my intent to trespass upon the cardinal’s preserve in matter of teaching about marriage, but rather to handle that which is within my competency: the teaching of the Fathers of the Church. For while Cardinal Kasper admits that we cannot simply go back to ancient teachings, he does claim – at the same time suggesting an imprecise parallel with developing doctrines of penance for apostasy – that evidence from antiquity is sufficiently uncertain for a more relaxed approach to find patristic support. To show how weak is this claim, let me address the few texts the cardinal offers in support of his position, limiting myself to the period before the sixth century, since with Justinian an encroaching Caesaropapism engenders in the East a contorting of earlier evidence in favour of a more relaxed approach.

Though others have put forward “early” – though non-existent – evidence for his position, the cardinal wisely offers nothing from the first 150-odd years of Christianity, presumably accepting that marriage rules were then still strict and apostolically based. The first text he cites, from the mid-third century, is Origen (Commentary on Matthew 14:23-24) reporting that bishops of certain local churches “not without reason” allow Communion to those divorced and remarried. Yet Origen also says – not once but three times – that this practice is contrary to the scriptures: hardly endorsement, nor even toleration from so biblical a theologian. Councils apart (I shall come to them), Cardinal Kasper offers further evidence only from the fourth century, observing that Basil (letters 188 and 199), Gregory of Nazienzen (Oratio 37) and Augustine are aware of the same practice occurring. What he omits to notice is that there is no indication of any of them concurring in what plainly contravenes their ordinary teaching.

Moving beyond “private” theologians, Kasper claims that a more pastoral attitude is evidenced by the Council of Nicaea (325) – presumably by Canon 8 which (so he and others tell us) “confirmed” the more relaxed approach. Though this has occasionally been read into the text, yet its virtually certain intent is to permit Communion not to the divorced and remarried but to the widowed and remarried. For we need to bear in mind that a Christian’s marrying twice in any circumstances – including widowhood – was much debated, giving reason for the Council to address this uncertainty. Nor is Cardinal Kasper’s case strengthened by misapplying the Pauline notion of metanoia and going on to presume that the Fathers would consider “repentance” of the failure of a first marriage to justify entering into a second.

To conclude, upon examination the cardinal’s case depends on misinterpreting a tiny number of texts while neglecting numerous others which contradict them. How can this have happened? To my mind we have here an example of a procedure all too frequent in academia, more especially when work may be motivated by convenience or ideology: there is an overwhelming amount of evidence in one direction and one or two texts which might conceivably be read otherwise, from which is derived the desired conclusion, or at least that the matter is open.

Perhaps Cardinal Kasper has more texts to cite. Certainly he will be able to name some few scholars whose lead he has followed. But multiple exemplars of misleading academic practice ought logically to be no more convincing than one.

Dr John Rist is the Fr Kurt Pritzl OP Chair of Philosophy at the Catholic University of America. He was Professor of Classics at the University of Toronto for 30 years and currently teaches at the Augustinianum, the Patristic Institute in Rome. He is widely published in the field of ancient philosophy, patristics and moral philosophy. He is married and both a father and a grandfather

If you are interested in more of Rist’s work, check out his book Augustine: ancient thought baptized, which ever student of the Fathers must have read at some point.

On ethics… try this at your peril: it’s hard, but rewarding.  Real Ethics: reconsidering the foundations of morality.

 

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About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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33 Responses to IMPORTANT: THREE major Catholic media sources publish SAME response to Card. Kasper!

  1. Pingback: IMPORTANT: THREE major Catholic media sources publish SAME response to Card. Kasper! | iPadre Catholic Podcasting

  2. Justalurkingfool says:

    We will see if my comment is posted at the National Catholic Register. That will suffice.

  3. kpoterack says:

    Excellent! Critiques like this need to published on the internet, but also in good old-fashioned pamphlet form – in multiple modern languages – and put into the hands of the bishops and cardinals attending the synod.

  4. cregduff says:

    The last time I remember anything like this happening was the Wikileaks release of the American diplomatic cables, when Der Spiegel, The Guardian and New York Times all released in unison.

  5. ordinary means says:

    Cardinal Kasper has already won. The laws that govern are a reflection of the morality of the people. In the US abortion will never be overturned unless the hearts of the people change. Laws are a trailing indicator. The same holds true for the Church. The laws on the books may be protected by the Holy Spirit but until I actually see a priest withhold communion (which is an act of mercy to that soul) the Cardinal has won.

  6. Sonshine135 says:

    Beautiful! The problem I see with trying to provide intelligent and meaningful response such as this is that the other side doesn’t examine their faith rationally or intelligently. Simply hearing that someone disagrees with the church teaching, be it true or false, is enough evidence for them in most cases. For example, take the “Who am I to judge” comment Pope Francis made on the plane that was wildly twisted out of context by the secular media. It could have just as well been a dogmatic proclamation from the Chair of Peter to say gay marriage is okay, because that is what most “c”atholics want.

    One doesn’t need to even tell the lie enough for it to become truth. It is now often automatically accepted by the person who hears it.

  7. tcreek says:

    I live on the border between 2 archdioceses and both of their newspapers ran articles that will give the impression (to “low information voters” ie most Catholics) that the prohibition against receiving communion after divorce is up for discussion and is therefore not settled doctrine, and Pope Francis is amenable to this discussion. Death by a thousand cuts because of loose lips.

  8. DisturbedMary says:

    A smart round 1. A historian with airtight knowledge of Church history publicly responding to Kasper’s sucker punches. Laymen are easily knocked out by theological rope-a-dope such as Cardinal Kasper offers. Liberal clergy can throw out tradition by simply saying to the unhistoried laity: Oh it wasn’t always this way in the Church…or …..the Church has never pronounced officially on this. And what do those of us who hear this think: No kidding? I didn’t know that. So we are just re-tweaking the Church’s ideas to keep up with the times? Without a worthy counterpunch, we face a re-enactment of what happened after Humanae Vitae.

  9. Rich says:

    In data analysis, Kasper’s error is described as a statistical fallacy called “cherry picking”.

  10. JARay says:

    Many thanks for this article Fr. Z. The matter is settled, just as I have always believed.

  11. The Cobbler says:

    ordinary means, I dunno, I can think of at least a few cases where judges threw out laws that either were voted in, or had popular support. With that said, I agree that the battle isn’t so much over the laws on the books as over whether people follow God’s laws.

    On the other hand, if the Catholic leadership finally starts attacking civil divorce and remarriage after all these years, it’ll be about time — and, in my opinion, far from too late, because arguing against homosexual “marriage” while giving up on no-fault divorce, civil divorce and remarriage and contraception really isn’t consistent, which lends to the impression that we’re biased (even if we’re not even if we’re inconsistent). Right now the world has most people convinced you can’t be for love and against any one thing that gets labelled “love”; we’ve got to make it obvious to anyone with the basic common decency to see what the Church says for herself that we’re not just against one thing, or another thing, or a whole class of things, we’re against the whole class of things because they violate something we’re for — it’s a lot of ground to take back, but we can’t do it if we assume that any of it is too late.

  12. Daniel W says:

    Great to see these media outlets getting behind some decent critique of Card. Kasper’s use of patristics.

    Prof Risk clarifies the murky use of patristics being used to open up Communion to the unrepentant – that’s his area. However, he does not quite do justice to the area of apostolic teaching and practice, which he oversimplifies as “strict,” when in fact they were both strict, merciful and simple. This neglect of the merciful and simple aspects are just as harmful as neglect of strictness.

    We should examine whether our requirements for the return to the sacraments are as simple, merciful and strict as those of the apostles, who taught that Christ required nothing more complicated than “Sin no more” of the adulterous woman. (By the way, I too am concerned that it is not clear that Card. Kasper is adequately insisting on this simple and merciful requirement!!)

    Also, St Matthew quotes Christ’s endorsement of one annulment procedure followed by the Jewish marriage tribunals of the time (Mt 5: 32: – logos here, in the context of divorce proceedings, refers to a case in law, a lawsuit). We should also examine whether our procedures for annulment require an unreasonable burden of proof compared, not only to the Jewish procedures that Jesus explicitly endorsed, but to those required in comparable cases today, such as the presumed death of a spouse (c.1707). I think that annulment procedures today do not reflect the simplicity Christ endorsed in Mt5:32, and they should. That’s what pope Francis has asked canon lawyers to help him to find, and at the moment they seem incapable of overcoming a polarisation of either strictness or mercy so as to serve the church by providing the expertise he needs to address the unapostolic complexity of the situation he wants addressed.

  13. Cradle Catholic says:

    The issue of communion to divorced and remarried Catholics has been raised over the years (at least since 2001 if not before) by Kasper – in the context of the relation between the universal Church and local churches. This relationship has been an on-going debate between Ratzinger and Kasper. I encourage interested readers to google Ratzinger-Kasper debate and read the results. I will also provide some links here ( if Fr. Z allows them to be posted).

    Personally, I wonder if Cardinal Kasper’s speech on communion to divorced and remarried Catholics will deflect serious consideration on a very important principle expressed by (at the time) Ratzinger, as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith about the relation between the universal church and the local church. The principle was affirmed by JPII, but from my viewpoint, it looks like Kasper is hoping that Pope Francis will abrogate that principle.

    Here are jist of the debate from the article by Ratzinger:

    In a “Letter to the Bishops of the Catholic Church on Some Aspects of the Church as Communio”, published with JPII’s approval by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith on June 28, 1992, Ratzinger expressed “the principle that the universal church (ecclesia universalis) is in its essential mystery a reality that takes precedence, ontologically and temporally, over the individual local Churches”.

    Ratzinger continues to say, that this principle was given a sharp critique by Kasper, who at the time was bishop of Rottenburg, Germany, – a critique which culminated in the statement “This formula becomes throughly problematic if the universal church is being covertly identified with the church of Rome, and de facto with the pope and the curia. If that happens, the letter from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith cannot be read as an aid in clarifying communio-ecclesiology, but as a dismissal of it and as an attempt to restore Roman centralism”. In fact, later on in same critique, Kasper writes, “ This determination by the council has undergone, after the council… a further development by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith that practically amounts, more or less, to a reversal of it.”

    Ratzinger then says, “Thus Kasper’s text was quite rightly understood everywhere as a warning cry against a new, theologically veiled form of Roman centralism and as an emphatic criticism of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith….If theology or any interpretation of the faith by the magisterium is misued to introduce a strategy of gaining power, that is a serious matter”. Ratzinger then goes on to say in the article, that “Kasper’s critique, as has no doubt become obvious, was not directed against me personally, but against a text from the CDF, which is the office of the Holy See in charge of doctrine. Some sort of clarification therefore was unavoidable.”

    Ratzinger then goes on to explain how in a future symposium, he “tried above all to spotlight the link between the church and the question of God: the church is not there for itself, but to serve God’s presence in the world”.

    Here is the link to the above mentioned article: https://web.archive.org/web/20050206040418/http://www.americamagazine.org/gettext.cfm?textID=1250&articleTypeID=1&issueID=351

    Here’s how the issue has been described by others:
    “Vatican II has been recognized as a recovery of the theological significance of the particular or local churches. Therefore, the debate between Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger and Cardinal Walter Kasper on the relation between the universal Church and the local churches is of utmost importance. William Henn, O.F.M. Cap., notes that “it is widely considered to be one of the most pressing theological tasks of the Church today.”
    Link to the above statement is here:
    http://www.thefreelibrary.com/The+Ratzinger%2FKasper+debate%3A+the+universal+church+and+local+churches.-a087080329

    Here are comments on Kasper’s views by Cardinal Avery Dulles and Bishop Charles Chaput:

    CARDINAL DULLES WEIGHS IN ON RATZINGER-KASPER DEBATE
    ….Referring to Cardinal Kasper’s pastoral concerns, the Dulles article mentions the rules regarding admission to the Eucharist of non-Catholic Christians and of divorced and remarried Catholics. Dulles sees local solutions to such questions as problematic.
    Here’s the link http://www.ewtn.com/library/Theology/ZRTZKSP.HTM

    Bishop Charles Chaput also weighed in on the Ratzinger-Kasper debate:
    … “So the questions become: is the refusal of Communion to divorced persons in irregular marriages an act of bureaucratic vindictiveness or an expression of honesty and real pastoral charity, rooted in a concern for people’s lives, marriages and salvation? Are Catholic rules for eucharistic hospitality inappropriately restrictive or an honest description of what real communion is and what genuine unity of faith should entail? (And, by the way, such rules are actually less restrictive than the standards applied by our Orthodox brothers.) If responsible freedom, in the words of Cardinal Kasper, “does not mean opening the door to cheap compromises,” then what exactly does it mean in regard to practical, pastoral situations like these? “
    The link is below: https://web.archive.org/web/20060111080728/http://www.americamagazine.org/gettext.cfm?textID=1710&articletypeid=42&issueID=325&search=1

  14. Pingback: Dr John Rist: Cardinal Kasper’s new approach to the remarried has shaky historical foundations |

  15. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Prof. Dr. Rist writes of “limiting myself to the period before the sixth century, since with Justinian an encroaching Caesaropapism engenders in the East a contorting of earlier evidence in favour of a more relaxed approach.”

    Can anyone recommend reliable (online) resources on this matter for the period from the sixth through the eleventh centuries? How was what Prof. Dr. Rist characterizes “a more relaxed approach” addressed within the undivided Church during this half-millennium and more?

    Cradle Catholic’s quotation from Bishop Charles Chaput may be particularly relevant, here: “Are Catholic rules for eucharistic hospitality inappropriately restrictive or an honest description of what real communion is and what genuine unity of faith should entail? (And, by the way, such rules are actually less restrictive than the standards applied by our Orthodox brothers.)” While I think the Orthodox would usually restrictively exclude Catholics from Communion in practice, is it not so that Catholics are permitted to receive from Orthodox Celebrants and Catholic Celebrants to give Communion to Orthodox? What implications does this have – even now – for “what genuine unity of faith should entail” and “a more relaxed approach” among the Orthodox?

  16. Michael_Thoma says:

    While I don’t agree with Card. Kasper’s assessment or that this analysis should be brought up publicly, there is some precidence for “the Orthodox practice” to be followed. Some learned persons have repeated to me that the Eastern Catholic practice in the Byzantine and perhaps Syriac Rites were the same as their Orthodox counterparts. That is, 1st marriage full Sacramental with Blessing, divorced and second marriage considered a true marriage after 3 years of penitence, no blessing with crowning (this was sometimes the case even for widows/widowers), third allowed in extreme cases (usually not for divorced, only for widow with small children, war, etc), never a fourth. This changed very recently with the 1917 Code of Canon Law.

  17. The Masked Chicken says:

    Venerator Sti Lot,

    You might like to look at:

    Separation of the Spouses with the Bond Remaining: historical and canonical study with pastoral applications,

    by Jaraj Kamas, Gregorian University Press, 1997. Kamas’s dissertation has the full Patristic and, I think, post-Patristic history with specific citations in the footnotes. I have not read the book, so I cannot comment on what conclusions he reaches. You can google the book and read parts of it online.

    The Chicken

  18. kpoterack says:

    “Some learned persons have repeated to me that the Eastern Catholic practice in the Byzantine and perhaps Syriac Rites were the same as their Orthodox counterparts. . . . This changed very recently with the 1917 Code of Canon Law.”

    KP: Whatever the historical accuracy of these claims, IMHO their importance has to be taken with a big grain of salt. I was at a wedding in an Eastern Rite Catholic church (i.e. technically in union with Rome) just a few years ago and the priest went on at some length in his sermon stating the Orthodox belief that the marriage bond went on literally into eternity and was NOT dissolved by death. This is clearly not what the Church teaches. However, it is a fav Orthodox belief. (And he has probably been doing this for years without repurcussions.) The extent to which Eastern Catholic churches got away with teaching and even practicing, within their enclaves, various Orthodox things is interesting, but not definitive.

    Rome has never taught that this is acceptable and Cardinal Mueller recently wrote: “Sometimes it is maintained that the Church de facto tolerated the Eastern practice. But this is not correct. The canonists constantly referred to it as an abuse. And there is evidence that groups of Orthodox Christians on becoming Catholic had to subscribe to an express acknowledgment of the impossibility of second or third marriages.”

  19. robtbrown says:

    Rich says:

    In data analysis, Kasper’s error is described as a statistical fallacy called “cherry picking”.

    It’s sometimes called accidental (i.e., accidental rather than essential) reading of texts and is a common MO of liberals. They cite ancient texts, which they insist confirm liberal ideology. In fact, they are quoted out of context and don’t hold up to scrutiny.

  20. Michael_Thoma says:

    I respect Card. Mueller immensely, but he is not an expert on Eastern theology or praxis. Neither is Card. Kasper, however, he while is less of a scholastic theologian, he has spoken to the Eastern Churches regularly in his duties. What Card. Mueller refers to as “tolerance of an abuse” within the Eastern Churches – it may seem to be to him as a delegate of the Latin Church – just as a Patriarchal representative could refer to Latin recitation of the ‘filioque’ as a “toleration” of a what was once termed an abuse by even the then Holy Father.

    Of course in a possible future united EO/OO/Catholic Church, what would happen to all the Orthodox marriages considered Sacramental – would they be considered only Sacramental by Easterners and adultery by Latins? Or would they be forced to separate? An unrealistic idea. Has this been considered? I doubt there were any attempts to remarry the previously married after the various reunions of the Eastern Churches to the Catholic Communion throughout the centuries, no matter if it was a second marriage or not. The Status Quo remained.

    Regarding the theology of marriage being unto Eternity, this is the theology not only of the Eastern Orthodox, but the Eastern Catholics as well. Marriage is a reflection of Christ’s relationship to His Bride the Church, does that cease at the Parousia? I hope not. It continues unto Eternity. While this is acknowledged, the Traditional Eastern practice allows for fallen man to live in this fallen world where the perfect is not always reflected.

    [The Eastern Orthodox solution is not a solution for the Latin Church.]

  21. Dr. Edward Peters says:

    Apud nos, Pater, dulce est videre vidicatas peritis aliis conjecturas nostras (factas abhinc paucas hebdomadas), nonne?

  22. Dr. Edward Peters says: Apud nos, Pater, dulce est

    Inter nos, fili mi, dulcissimum’st.

  23. kpoterack says:

    RobtBrown wrote: “It’s sometimes called accidental (i.e., accidental rather than essential) reading of texts and is a common MO of liberals. They cite ancient texts, which they insist confirm liberal ideology. In fact, they are quoted out of context and don’t hold up to scrutiny.”

    KP: In fact, a very good thorough study on marriage indissolubility was written in the 1960′s by then Fr. (later Card.) Bevilacqua. He is most persuasive on the early Eastern Fathers, such as Basil (IMHO). It’s just not that obvious that even Basil supports the Kaspar (and later Orthodox) position. And, oh boy, Chrysostom, who comes about a generation after Basil, is absolutely clear.

    Click on the link and then download as a PDF:

    http://ejournals.bc.edu/ojs/index.php/ctsa/article/view/2633/2281

  24. The Masked Chicken says:

    “It’s just not that obvious that even Basil supports the Kaspar (and later Orthodox) position. And, oh boy, Chrysostom, who comes about a generation after Basil, is absolutely clear.”

    You know, I made almost the same comments that Prof. Ritz did in this comment box about four weeks ago (including mentioning Chrysostom and Basil) and if I, a modest historian and not a patristic scholar can find out the answers, why cannot Card. Kasper?

    Clearly, this matter should occupy about .5 microseconds of the synod’s time. There are much more important matters that need to be addressed.

    Oh, and I say this somewhat hesitantly, what’s in the water in Germany? It seems to produce only two types of theologians: the extremely orthodox and the extremely personalist. Can any Germans out there correct my observations, since I don’t have feet on the ground, there. It just seems that, in virtue of the book, The Rhine Flows into the Tiber, that something must be going on in that part of the world.

    The Chicken

  25. Venerator Sti Lot says:

    Masked Chicken and kpoterack,

    Thank you very much for the references – I hoped and supposed such works existed, but did not begin to know how to look for them!

  26. Daniel W says:

    I agree with Fr Z that the Eastern solution is not appropriate for the Latin Church – however the pope was not saying we should take it on, only consider it in our deliberations to improve our own practice.

    The problem with annulments is the complexity of the system of evidence which has aggregated over the years. The Eastern Orthodox system basically affirms sacramentality but shrugs its shoulders at proving validity, and instead opts to give a subsequent marriage the benefit of the doubt.

    The western adoption of the idea of marriage enjoying the “favor of the law” is foreign to the Eastern mentality and I challenge any canon lawyer to show that this Latin accretion is part of the divine Law or apostolic. (I am not however saying it is necessarily a bad idea – I think it is a good legal principle in cases of doubt that has served well in defending the bond up to now)

    However, various things override the favor of the law, even in our tradition. I have already referred to the less complicated system of proof required in cases of presumed death – that is a great principle in our tradition that I have not heard any canon lawyer speak against as a good model for reforming the tribunal system.

    Marriage deserves special protection of the law, however just as we did well without marriage enjoying a special “favor” in law for a thousand years, maybe its time for canon lawyers to do some research into how things operated without that special favor, to find a better way to protect marriage into the future. I am not suggesting getting rid of canon 1060, but rather an adjustment of the burden and processes of proof required to be more in line with what was required in the first millennium.

  27. robtbrown says:

    KPOTERACK,

    Thanks for the link. I’ll read the article.

    The general principle is that there must be a consensus among the Fathers, at least among the principle Eastern and Western Fathers. Picking out one Father is, IMHO, inadequate for any theological premise. My understanding is that Walter Kasper mainly uses one text from one Council, then determines its meaning according to his own a priori ideas.

  28. pannw says:

    @Justalurkingfool, I can not give you any of the answers you seek, but I would like you to know that I am very touched by your obvious suffering and heartbreak over the destruction of your marriage. I know that doesn’t do anything for you, and I wish I could do something, but I will pray for you and your wife and family.

    “Put not your trust in princes: In the children of men, in whom there is no salvation. His spirit shall go forth, and he shall return into his earth: in that day all their thoughts shall perish. Blessed is he who hath the God of Jacob for his helper, whose hope is in the Lord his God.”

    “And God shall wipe away all tears from their eyes: and death shall be no more, nor mourning, nor crying, nor sorrow shall be any more, for the former things are passed away. And he that sat on the throne, said: ‘Behold, I make all things new.’”

  29. Justalurkingfool says:

    Daniel W,

    To this abandoned father and husband, your suggestion is MONSTROUS!

    And I am being VERY CHARITABLE!

    I would ask you to retract it and to humbly apologize for the damage you have done, are doing and will do?

  30. Justalurkingfool says:

    Pannw,

    A sincere, thank you. My entire family is in desperate need of prayers.
    However, our condition reflects the condition of the Church, which also
    needs our prayers and our fidelity. Since our leaders have abdicated their
    responsibility we now see every manner of deceit coming to the fore
    masquerading as “wisdom” or “insight”, as if these circumstances were
    not clearly understood long ago. Humbug!

    The door needs be SLAMMED IN THE FACE of falsehood and its
    purveyors, be they credentialed, have Holy Orders, bear a mitre, stand
    in Peter’s place or be a simple man.

    I expect much worse to come.

    Again, thank you for your kindness and prayers. The same will come
    to you from my way.

  31. robtbrown says:

    Daniel W says,

    The western adoption of the idea of marriage enjoying the “favor of the law” is foreign to the Eastern mentality and I challenge any canon lawyer to show that this Latin accretion is part of the divine Law or apostolic. (I am not however saying it is necessarily a bad idea – I think it is a good legal principle in cases of doubt that has served well in defending the bond up to now.

    Isn’t it a consequence of the keys that the Church determine what a Sacramental is, thus what it needs for validity? That would be no less true for the Eastern Churches than for the Latin Church.

    The principle of “favor of the law” is simply the juridical interpretation of the principle of minimal intention, which is to be applied to all the Sacraments. In any Sacrament a certain minimal intention is required. If minimal intention would seem to be present at the time of the celebration of a Sacrament (matter and form also being present), then the conclusion is that the Sacrament is valid–in the lingo of the jurist, it enjoys the favor of law.

    NB: By definition, this concerns moral (rather than metaphysical) certitude.

  32. robtbrown says:

    Also:

    Marriage is a natural institution supernaturalized by the Church. Thus, the goods of marriage (fides, proles, et sacramentum) are themselves natural, which means the desire for them is also natural. IMHO, this pertains to why marriage enjoys the favor of law.

    We are, however, in post modern times in which the culture militates against those conjugal goods. In other times the culture of the Church would provide a counter weight, but post Vat II decisions mangled Catholic culture. No longer is permanence (cf sacramentum) found in the cult–mass varies from one church to another. Some pastors and associates make sure that doctrine is taught, others do not. And certain policies (e.g., Communion to pro abortion politicians) and remarks by the hierarchy (e.g., Who am I to judge?) don’t exactly help.

    A good argument can be made that minimal intention can no longer be assumed in marriages.

    Naive (I’m being kind) men like Walter Kasper think their proposals would make the situation better. In fact, they would make it worse.