There are all sorts of rumors out there about how The Book™ is being received in Rome as the days tick off to the opening of the Extraordinary Synod.
The book I am talking about is, of course, the new Remaining in the Truth of Christ: Marriage and Communion in the Catholic Church which contains five essays of cardinals, of the archbishop secretary of the Vatican congregation for the Oriental Churches, and of three scholars on the ideas supported by Walter Card. Kasper in the opening discourse of the consistory in February 2014.
Also available now in the UK! HERE
Be careful with rumors that are circulating right now about this book. The rumors mean nothing, until we see the results in the Synod.
Now Catholic World Report has an interview with the editor Fr. Dodaro and one of the contributors, Dr. John Rist. You should read it. I liked this bit:
CWR: Dr. Rist, your chapter focuses on the matter of divorce and remarriage in the early Church. What are some of the key assertions made by Cardinal Kasper about the practices of early Christians? What are some of the problems with his arguments?
Dr. Rist: Cardinal Kasper suggested that the position of the Church Fathers on divorce and remarriage during the lifetime of the other spouse was a open question. This is quite misleading; although there is evidence that a few bishops tolerated that situation, the overwhelmong view of the Fathers (well summed up by Origen) is that such an attitude is totally contrary to Scripture.
If you think about this, and compare it for example with the arguments against women priests, you will recognize that in the latter case the evidence—that Jesus’ Apostles were only male—enables people to infer that he would only ever want male priests. In the case of marriage we are dealing, as the Fathers recognized, with the actual words of Jesus himself, so that unless you want to argue that what we have in the Gospel are not really the words of Jesus at all, but some construct of the early Church, the evidence is clear that Origen’s comment is entirely justified, as the vast majority of the Fathers realized.
CWR: Historically, what key differences are there between how the Western and Eastern churches have interpreted and applied the words of Jesus’ about divorce and remarriage? Does the Eastern Orthodox practice of today offer solutions or alternatives for the Catholic Church? Why or why not?
Dr. Rist: As regards Eastern practice, it seems that, contrary to the view of some of their own clearer thinkers (like Theodore the Studite) they allowed themselves to misread patristic texts, largely under lay (i.e. Imperial) pressure. In this sense they did something like what Henry VIII insisted on doing in England, tolerating second, and even third remarriages,after some sort of penance for the failure of the first one.
If the Catholic church follows this line, the future of its teaching on sex and marriage will become increasingly Anglican.
This book is a response, in part, to what Pope Francis invited. Some people want to think that this book is against Pope Francis. Nope. Wait until you read it. Just because all manner of rumor peddlers are trying the make Card. Kasper into Pope Francis’s surrogate in the Synod, that doesn’t mean that the book or its authors are playing that game.
I think the book is a game changer.