… when I saw an article by Alberto Melloni in today’s edition of Italy’s Corriere della Sera HERE I just couldn’t resist writing.
Melloni is a church historian highly regarded in liberal circles especially for his work on Vatican II to which he applies a hermeneutic of discontinuity by arguing that the Council was a significant break with the previous tradition. But I digress.
When the Five Cardinals’ BookTM was announced on 17 September 2014 in the pages of Corriere, an article by Melloni appeared alongside the report denouncing the book as an attack on Pope Francis and Vatican II! Melloni is a strong, vocal supporter of Cardinal Kasper’s argument in favor of sacramental Communion for divorced, remarried Catholics.
Today, Melloni, along with Giovanni Cereti (coincidence? I think not!), advanced an interpretation of Pope Francis’ Wednesday audience address as a strong endorsement of the Kasper proposal.
Cereti’s appearance in Corriere occurred just days after he was interviewed by Vatican Radio HERE. Cereti is the theologian whom Kasper relied upon for his treatment of the alledged early Church practice of “tolerating but not accepting” second marriages after divorce. Writing in the Five Cardinals’ Book, John Rist, reviewing the earlier scholarship of Jesuit Fr. Henri Crouzel, demolished Cereti’s arguments one-by-one. Most noteworthy was Rist’s/Crouzel’s analysis of Canon 8 of the Ecumenical Council of Nicea (AD 325).
Cereti argues that the Council condemned those who excommunicate divorced and remarried Christians. His argument depends upon an interpretation of the Greek term digamoi. The word can refer to second marriages following divorce, but most often in that period it referred to second marriages of widows/ers. In order to decide the meaning of the term in Canon 8 reference has to be made to a 4th century work, the Panarion, by Epiphanius. Crouzel has shown (and Rist has confirmed) on philological and historical grounds that the only logical interpretation of digamoi in Canon 8 is to those who are remarried after the death of their spouse, and not after a divorce.
As Rist makes clear in the Five Cardinals’ Book, Cereti has never rebutted Crouzel’s argument.
But Vatican Radio obviously feels NO OBLIGATION to report the pertinent criticisms of Cereti in the Five Cardinals’ Book.
Vatican Radio is shilling for Kasper in the finest tradition of Vatican openness and fairness.
I couldn’t let that pass without comment.