Wednesday, March 18, 2015

Cardinal Kasper on how Pope Francis sees the Church

Walter Kasper, "How Pope Francis Sees the Church" (Commonweal, March 13, 2015).

No surprises here. I can't help remembering the question that arises when reading Plato: Is Plato merely reporting what Socrates said, or is Socrates a mouthpiece for the projected opinions of Plato?

Either way, it's interesting: Kasper dies state, however, that the Pope's "pastoral" style is more than "good-natured folsiness" or "cheap populism." Behind it stands an "entire theology," he says. It's deliberate.

What are its elements? The Church, as the people of God, "transcends every institutional expression." It is rooted in God's mercy. It eschews every form of clericalism ("Laypeople are ... the vast majority of the people of God"). It recognizes the indispensable contribution of women. It recognizes the importance of young people and recognizes their difficulties. It puts a premium on the sensus fidei. It seeks "a magisterium that listens." In terms of the Sacraments, the Church is viewed as "a merciful mother with an open heart for all," seeking to reconcile those in irregular relationships. It regards as wrong an attitude that stays fixated on "hot potatoes." It seeks to grow, not by proselytism but by attracting. "God is a God of the journey ..." It wants to "touch Christ ... in the poor." Its "paradigm shift" takes as its model the Good Samaritan. The "guiding star of evangelization and of this kind of pastoral care is Mary, Jesus mother -- and our mother." It's magna carta is Evangelii gaudium, in which Pope Francis writes:
... I would like to remind you that “pastoral care” is nothing other than the exercise of the church’s motherhood. She gives birth, breastfeeds, lets grow, corrects, nourishes, leads by the hand.... There is need therefore for a church that is capable of rediscovering the womb of mercy. Without mercy it is scarcely possible today to penetrate into a world of the “injured,” who need understanding, forgiveness, and love.




Even if Francis re-instituted the Latin Mass and read the Catechism of Trent aloud from his balcony, I would still say a Pope high-fiving anyone is a painful photo op. JPII was theatrical enough that he could pull off a bit of this stuff. The rest, not so much. If you play the PR game, you risk getting burned. There's no ex cathedra escape clause there....

Sed Contra


This summary omits the “money quote” from Cardinal Kasper:

The question that awaits an answer, however, is: What does truth mean in the sense of the biblical truth of divine faithfulness (emet, in Hebrew) in a concrete situation. As many recent exegetical investigations show, this issue cannot be resolved merely by quoting the words of Jesus (Mark 10:2–12 and parallels), which were transmitted differently already in the New Testament. Even if the question under consideration is not the only — or even the central — question of the family today, it has nonetheless become for many Christians the test of the viability of the new pastoral style. Therefore, it is to be hoped that in keeping with the old conciliar tradition, after all have been heard, a great consensus about it can be achieved so that, unified, we can turn all the more to the fundamental questions in the present crisis of the family.

So much for the view of The New Jerome Biblical Commentary [1990]:

There is in fact no historical doubt that Jesus held to a very high doctrine on marriage, viz. its indissolubility … p. 642

We must ask truth means in each concrete situation. Pontius Pilate would only smile.

Having setting aside Jesus’ words, albeit differently transmitted, we can move on to “the fundamental questions in the present crisis of the family”.

What those might be Cardinal Kasper doesn't say.

Paul Borealis


F.Y.I. Thanks.

The Synod Market Index. Kasper Down, Caffarra Up

Even Pope Francis is distancing himself from the former and taking sides with the latter. And staying on good terms with Cardinal Müller. And promoting the African Sarah. All unyielding defenders of the Catholic doctrine on marriage

by Sandro Magister


Vatican Diary / The two-step of the Argentine pope

Perfectly in keeping with tradition when he talks about abortion, divorce, homosexuality. But also open to changes in doctrine and practice. An anthology that intensifies the mystery

by Sandro Magister



You know when the Jerome commentary is cited as a conservative source that the entire conversation has jumped the shark. Kasper is a wolf in sheep's clothing, and he is the Popes man. Do the math…