Wherein Card. Kasper tells us what we can and can’t say

This from Jesuit-run Amerika:

Cardinal Kasper: Quit throwing around the word ‘heretic’ [Hmmm.  I’ll bet he says that!]

Think twice before calling someone a “heretic.”

That is the seemingly simple advice from Cardinal Walter Kasper, the prominent German theologian whose ideas have influenced Pope Francis, especially his view that mercy should be the guiding principle in pastoral practice[That is an over simplification.  There is another aspect to it: there is suggestion on the part of some that there is a “mercy” which can make truth and law and even revelation irrelevant.]

Speaking in an interview with Alessandro Gisotti at Vatican News, the 85-year-old prelate addressed controversy about “Amoris Laetitia,” the pope’s 2016 letter on families, which includes a provision that allows some divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion[So that’s a direct confirmation of what AL suggests.  However, there are those who say a) that it doesn’t or b) it shouldn’t.]

“First of all I would like to say that debate in the church is necessary. There is no need to fear debate!” the cardinal said.  [Uh huh.  Because that is what Card. Kasper offered about the contributions of African bishops during the Synod. HERE]

But he said the debate on “Amoris Laetitia” has become too heated—even though the “people of God” have accepted the teaching.

“There is a very bitter debate, way too strong, with accusations of heresy. A heresy is a tenacious disagreement with formal dogma.” [Yes.  That’s right.  The defenders of the interpretation of AL that allows for people in the state of mortal sin or also in a manifest irregular situation to receive Communion say that not everyone can live up to “ideals” laid down by the Church.  That’s contrary to the formal teaching of the Council of Trent.]

Cardinal Kasper rejected claims from some Catholics who accuse Pope Francis of undermining church teaching on marriage. [AL sparked the discussion.  AL is over the new signature of Pope Francis.]

“The doctrine of the indissolubility of marriage has not been called into question on Pope Francis’ part!” he said. “Before saying that something is heresy, the question should be what the other person means by what has been said. And, above all, that the other person is Catholic should be presupposed; the opposite should not be supposed!” [Perhaps we could channel our inner Kasper and respond: “But [he] should not tell us too much what we have to do.”]

Cardinal Kasper praised “Amoris Laetitia” for its accessibility, saying it is “not high theology incomprehensible to people” and that the “people of God understand.”  [I think we are free to deny this premise.  I suspect that the “people of God”, in fact, do NOT understand what’s going on. However, once both sides of the issue are explained they understand only too well that some people are trying an end-around with what has always been taught.  Honest Catholics, hearing that adulterers can go to Communion, know that there’s something wrong.]

“The pope has an optimal connection with the People of God,” he said.  [“Optimal”? Is that really the case these days?]


But, remember, “debate in the church is necessary. There is no need to fear debate!”

God Bless Card. Kasper.

About Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

Fr. Z is the guy who runs this blog. o{]:¬)
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  1. Fr_Andrew says:

    Methinks that Cardinal Kaspar, sadly, as a sub-optimal connection with reality and formal dogma …

  2. Sawyer says:

    It’s really hard to be optimistic these days. So many prelates in the Church seem either not to understand Revelation and Faith or not to care about it. They act more like politicians than shepherds.

  3. tamranthor says:

    Actually, Father, I think the people of God DO understand what is being said by AL, and we don’t think it is Catholic at all. The daunting task is to educate these heretical prelates on the damage they are inflicting upon the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church by hammering this heretical document home as if it were a New Gospel.

  4. Josephus Corvus says:

    “…the question should be what the other person means by what has been said.”

    Ummm… Isn’t that exactly what the Dubia was trying to do, with the other person not answering the question?

  5. benedetta says:

    He’s just wrong. But, he’s also wrong on his own terms, by his own analysis. He says “Before saying that something is heresy, the question should be what the other person means by what has been said.” The question has been asked innumerable times, officially and unofficially, in countless ways, and, it’s not really ever been appropriately answered, and the hints that have emanated, if those would suffice for answers or response, sadly do not lead away from the conclusion.

  6. fr.ctl says:

    There is something ironic about this being published just days after Placuit Deo. The Holy Father has been caricaturizing his critics as adherents to ancient heresies for a while now (straw men). But please, let’s not accuse anyone of heresy, for the sake of a good debate! The well has been poisoned, and not by the “neo-Pelagians.”

  7. Kathleen10 says:

    Yes debate is so wonderful, but the dubia have never been answered. Feh, these hypocrites. I suppose they say these incredibly fantastic lies because there are still gullible Catholics who just don’t know what these men are up to. Give us time, we’re on it.
    Even simple Catholics know what constitutes heresy. We may not know every bit of dogma and can’t give Canon Law examples and so on, but we know blasphemy when we hear it, we know manipulations when we hear them, we know subtle lies and not so subtle lies, we know underhanded techniques and how subterfuge works as well as how diabolical it is to insert just enough truth to mask the poison. We’ve been grabbed by the neck and forced to see things we never wanted to see and now we know. They don’t fool us anymore. They’ve made all our Purgatory’s longer because we are corrupted by knowing too much. They’ve robbed so many boys and young men of innocence and taken ours as well.
    We see them. They can’t fool us any longer. Keep talking serpent. You’ll get nowhere.

  8. JabbaPapa says:

    Cardinal Kasper is being very slippery :

    Before saying that something is heresy, the question should be what the other person means by what has been said

    Whilst it is true that one must be very careful indeed before accusing individual people of being “heretics”, to point out that this or that statement is the statement of a heresy is far less problematic, even though it remains so to a degree.

    Most statements of a heresy are made completely by mistake, whether from some poorly mastered use of language or from some defect in some other type of knowledge or expression.

    Of the remainder, most could likely be attributed to some unchosen defect or other in the person’s religious instruction or theological understanding.

    Thus, the majority of such statements are best dealt with via fraternal corrections and explanations rather than accusations.

    But these considerations do NOT mean that mistaken statements that are heretical in content, and especially not statements that are willfully and deliberately opposed to the orthodoxy, cannot be pointed out as being heretical — with the hope in Charity that proper clarifications can lead those who make such statements to realise their mistakes or their Errors.

    A heretic as such is someone who persistently, actively, publicly, and knowingly proposes heresies and who denies the orthodoxy ; and who does so with the goal of deliberately teaching such heterodoxy to others.

    And Cardinal Kasper has been accused of doing exactly so.

  9. JabbaPapa says:

    fr.ctl :

    … and not by the “neo-Pelagians.”

    It is continually discouraging that so many fail to realise that the “self-absorbed promethean neo-Pelagianism” in question is that of the Modernists, Relativists, and Americanists … but instead react as though the remark was directed at themselves.

    Self-absorption is precisely Modernist.

    Promethean is precisely Relativist.

    And neo-Pelagianism as “an individualism that believes human beings can save themselves” is exactly the core of the Americanist Heresy.

    None of this has anything to do with any Traditional Catholicism ; ergo, the remark simply never has been intended as an attack upon the Tradition of the Faith nor of those who cleave to it.

  10. Pingback: TVESDAY EDITION – Big Pulpit

  11. Atra Dicenda, Rubra Agenda says:

    I think his frequent reference to the “People of God” belies an incorrect understanding of the sensus fidelium.

  12. AA Cunningham says:

    If it quacks like a duck …

  13. Amerikaner says:

    …”But he said the debate on “Amoris Laetitia” has become too heated”…

    And it is so because of the lack of clarity from the Holy Father. This could all end in a minute of the Pope Francis would address the Dubia and provide detailed provisions/explanations regarding AL. I cannot see how he can sit on the sidelines and allow cardinal vs. cardinal, bishop vs. bishop, and priest vs. priest based on his theology of mercy.

  14. Benedict Joseph says:

    One is left dumbstruck by the utter cluelessness of this man. Possessed by a spirit of academic superiority compensating for a painfully inadequate sense of his priestly vocation, he reduces the Church to a debate club, a Phi Beta Kapa exercise in personal singularity, a Teutonic bookworm’s substitute for war.
    We aren’t about debate.
    We are about right faith, firm hope and perfect charity.
    We are about worship.
    Cardinal Kasper is unable to correctly priorities the simple realities of human existence lived before the face of Almighty God.
    He is very tiresome.

  15. Sonshine135 says:

    You have Cardinals in the Church that are advocating communion for the divorced and remarried (adulterers) at the expense and mockery of Our Lord and the divorced wife/ husband and possibly children, who seem to never crop up this “debate”. You have Cardinals in the church that are advocating communion for the spouses of Catholics who aren’t Catholic (Heretics, because a heretic is defined as a professed believer who maintains religious opinions contrary to those accepted by his or her church or rejects doctrines prescribed by that church.) also at the expense and mockery of Our Lord. This is all you need to know. No long winded remarks need be made about how “pastoral” these people are trying to be or any of the other Pap the Kaspers of the world are trying to pass off as well thought out. It is rubbish. If they really loved these poor souls, they would not allow them to continue in manifestly grave sin. Always remember that. The Cardinal Kaspers of the church are like the snake in the garden. Their words are all honey an sweet, but lead to eternal death- not life. Pray for these pitiful souls that they may repent.

  16. LarryW2LJ says:

    “Cardinal Kasper: Quit throwing around the word ‘heretic’ ”

    Dear Cardinal Kasper,

    With all due respect, we have a saying in the United States that we borrow from our National Pastime, the sport of baseball. And that saying is “We call ’em as we see ’em.”

    Yours Truly

  17. PTK_70 says:

    While I can’t claim to have heard or read everything that’s been said or written by high-ranking prelates since Amoris appeared, never have I heard that adulterers are now welcome to receive the Eucharist. “Divorced and remarried” are in certain circumstances welcome to receive, but we already knew that. Before Amoris the marriage tribunal was the ordinary vehicle by which the “divorced and remarried” might gain access to Holy Communion. Nowadays, it would appear that the “internal forum” provides an alternative vehicle.

    It comes down to the inner reality of that first nuptial arrangement, no? Was there a bond or not? Did not Cardinal Caffara indicate as much in an interview four years ago: “The question is simple: what about the first marriage?” (https://zenit.org/articles/cardinal-caffarra-expresses-serious-concerns-about-family-synod-debates/)

    So – on a case by case basis – how is this question to be answered in today’s Church? If Pope Francis wants to relieve pressure from the tribunal system by opening up an “internal forum” avenue, well, I just see that as his prerogative.

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