Fr. Murray on Card. Kasper’s proposals

My friend Fr. Gerald Murray has a fine piece at The Catholic Thing about His Eminence Walter Card. Kasper’s odd proposals about the divorced and remarried, his notion that they can be, in their adulterous relations, tolerated but not accepted at the Communion rail.

Let’s have a look at the last part of Fr. Murray’s dense and useful contribution:


Here we see that Cardinal Kasper’s proposal involves a clear departure from the teaching and practice of the Church: When a Catholic spouse no longer shares common life with the other spouse, the help that the Church offers is not the facilitation of adultery, but rather the call to fidelity accompanied by the graces offered through prayer, the worthy reception of the sacraments, and the bearing of one’s cross in union with Christ. [I’ll repeat what I have offered before.  Not every problem we can get ourselves into has an easy solution.  Sometimes our problems can’t be “fixed” and we must suffer, endure the consequences.]

The idea that the Church should recognize a pseudo-marriage as an expression of God’s mercy is a contradiction of the Gospel. A married person may have failed to preserve the unity and common life of his marriage, or been the victim of the failure on the other spouse’s part. In either case, God’s mercy will not be found in the Church giving permission to commit adultery in good conscience.

This is why the only possible solutions for those who now regret having entered into an invalid second marriage are: 1) to apply for a declaration of nullity of their marriage if grounds for such exist; 2) to break off the adulterous union; 3) or if this is not possible for serious reasons, then to live as brother and sister and no longer engage in adulterous behavior.

Cardinal Kasper is correct in stating about the indissolubility of marriage, “We must enforce it, and help people to understand it and to live it out.” It is regrettable that he fails to see that his proposal does the exact opposite.

Read the whole thing over there!

Fr. Murray is more and more often appearing on Fox News, on various programs.  They couldn’t have found a better clerical commentator.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
This entry was posted in Hard-Identity Catholicism, Liturgy Science Theatre 3000, Mail from priests, New Evangelization, One Man & One Woman, Our Catholic Identity, The Drill and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. benedetta says:

    Before we may even get to hear from the proposals on mercy, the proponents of this mercy surely have some opportunities closer to home to show it towards their brothers, or sisters, as the case may be. There are other cases crying out for mercy to be shown towards human beings in the here and now, an opportunity to show what we are all about, so to speak. It’s clear that at least some Catholics are close to the situation and could, if they chose, alleviate a really harsh situation befalling some who do not remotely deserve it.

  2. BillyHW says:

    Shouldn’t #2 be #1?

    Why is the default position not “be faithful to your wedding vows” but rather “run to the annulment tribunal where 99.5% (in my country) of cases are approved”?

    (Here is where the stat comes from:

  3. “Another thing: yesterday, before sleeping – although not in order to go to sleep! – I read and reread Cardinal Walter Kasper’s document and I would like to thank him, as I found it to be a work of profound theology, and also a serene theological reflection. It is pleasant to read serene theology. And I also found what St. Ignacius described as the ‘sensus Ecclesiae’, love for the Mother Church. … It did me good, and an idea came to mind – please excuse me, Eminence, if I embarrass you – but my idea was that this is what we call ‘doing theology on one’s knees’. Thank you, thank you”- His Holiness, Pope Francis

    Presented without comment.

  4. “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.”- His Eminence, Walter Cardinal Kasper

    Again, without comment.

  5. mrshopey says:

    @Jonathan, my understanding is that these synods, they need to be free to a degree to discuss issues or put them on the table. Whether WE need to know what is being presented, especially if not corrected or decided on, is another issue. It reminds me of H.V. although they were asked to keep it quiet. Well, one side didn’t and they influenced others the wrong way.
    So, it is understandable, to a degree, that the Holy Father would say that. But does it mean we are all included in the discussion?

  6. Joe in Canada says:

    The Belgian church has “blessings” of invalid marriages which look exactly like a Nuptial Mass except for the Nuptial blessing. I was told this is okay because it’s made clear to the couple that it isn’t a real wedding.

  7. LarryW2LJ says:

    When you look at it, the cross that is being carried by those who are divorced and remarried and those who have same sex attraction, is the same. Each have to deal with the fact that their desires are in conflict with the Gospel. Marriage – as pointed out by Jesus, is the joining of one man and one woman by God, until death separates them.

    Suffering, as Father Z. points out, is not easy and is not fun. But our Lord, who was as fully human as we are, went to His crucifixion willingly – with His human will, in order to fulfill the Divine will. Sometimes we have to pick up our own crosses and carry them, as He did. We are assured that if we ask, He will give us the grace to endure, even when it seems like we might not be able to.

    This lifetime on earth is so short when you think of it in relation to Eternity. What we suffer here will be alleviated in the next life if we remember to “Trust and obey. Always. Because He is God, and I am not”. (Love that quote.)

  8. Woody79 says:

    I find it interesting that Card. Kasper and those that agree with him, apparently Pope Francis, hide behind the word “Mercy” just as the homosexuals hide behind the word “Love” and the abortionists hide behind the word “Choice.” They want to redefine these words to make their agendas fit into the world.

  9. Deacon Augustine says:

    mrshopey, the problem with discussing settled issues of doctrine as though they were reformable is precisely that it gives the wrong impression that they are reformable. As happened with H.V., many will see these “discussions” as indications that Christ’s teaching on marriage can be changed, and what was sinful for 2,000 years can suddenly become approved by papal fiat. The whole process is a narcissistic indulgence which will lead to the confusion of many and the endangerment of immortal souls. It is an unnecessary gamble which the Pope should never have permitted.

    The only good I can see coming out of this is the opportunity to restate the teaching of Christ more clearly and more vigorously. However, because of the false expectations raised, if it does come, it will no doubt be received with opprobrium and disdain as was Paul VI’s teaching in H.V.

  10. EoinOBolguidhir says:

    CHESED: Recently I’ve been listening to Dr. John Bergsma’s course “Mountains and Mediators.” He reminds his student that what we translate as “mercy” from the Greek word “eleison,” was in Hebrew, “chesed,” which is better translated as “COVENANT FAITHFULNESS.” It is obviously self-contradictory to implore God’s covenant faithfulness for those unfaithful to their own covenants, into which they have entered with the Witness of the same God and His Church.

  11. Sonshine135 says:

    Fr. Murry hits on the root problems of Modern Christianity in general. Divorced people at the communion rail, homosexuality, an unwanted pregnancy, or an elderly person suffering are issues, because people want no commitment, easy answers to everything. They want to go to church, sleep through most of it, think nothing of it until next Sunday, and repeat with the expectation of getting to heaven. Perhaps this is why so little attention is given in many parishes to the sacrifice of the Mass. Why highlight the sacrifice when we are so willing to commit to any sacrifice ourselves?

  12. Nathan says:

    I find it very difficult that in all the coverage of this debate I’ve seen, the concept of mercy keeps coming up, but I have yet to see it used in the context of the children.

    As a child of divorce many years ago, I can attest that, in even the most amicable of divorces, the children are the ones who suffer. I can’t even begin to describe the suffering of the children where there is divorce-related acrimony. Where, in this discussion, is the mercy for the children?

    In Christ,

  13. Giuseppe says:

    @Sonshine135 – you mean ‘unwilling’, right?

    Otherwise your post rings true.

    The core teaching of Christianity (from eating the fruit of the tree of knowledge through today): “You can’t always get what you want, but if you try sometimes, you just might find you get what you need.”

    Through the grace of God and not by following our own desires, we get what we need.

  14. Iacobus M says:

    “Divorced people at the communion rail . . .” Communion rail? What’s that?

  15. Iacobus M says:

    “Where, in this discussion, is the mercy for the children?” Good point, Nathan. So sad to see that even in the Church many have lost sight of the fact that marriage does not exist primarily to satisfy the desires of adults.

  16. robtbrown says:

    Nathan says:

    I find it very difficult that in all the coverage of this debate I’ve seen, the concept of mercy keeps coming up, but I have yet to see it used in the context of the children.

    As a child of divorce many years ago, I can attest that, in even the most amicable of divorces, the children are the ones who suffer. I can’t even begin to describe the suffering of the children where there is divorce-related acrimony. Where, in this discussion, is the mercy for the children?

    I have known priests on liberal tribunals who think by granting annulmeunts that they are doing everyone a favor, letting them “get on with their lives”. They didn’t seem to understand they effects on the children, that they are giving an Ecclesiastical OK to a split of the family. Even if the children are older, there are always the problems at Christmas, Thanksgiving, and Easter–running between one parent and the other or choosing one parent.

  17. Heather F says:

    Amen, Nathan. I was subject to my parents’ divorce during my teenage years too, the reason for which basically boiled down to “til mid life crisis do us part.”

Comments are closed.