Kasper versus Kasper

cardinal-walter-kasper-(Paolo Cocco:AFP)

Book-tours can be risky affairs. There’s always the chance you’ll say something during your tenth radio interview of the day which you retrospectively wish you’d phrased differently. Then there’s the possibility you’ll play up to a live audience and make some truly imprudent comments.

In a few short May days in New York, Cardinal Walter Kasper managed to do all that and more. In one radio discussion, for instance, Kasper thoroughly muddled the Church’s teaching about contraception. In another setting, he directly undercut the American Catholic bishops’ authority by comparing a theologian whom they have determined to hold positions incompatible with Catholic doctrine with Saint Thomas Aquinas. Given Pope Francis’s desire for bishops conferences to take on a larger role in dealing with dissent, one wonders if Kasper realizes just how un-collegial his comments were.

Things got worse in a subsequent Commonweal interview. Here Kasper made the remarkable claim that “heroism is not for the average Christian.” Actually, your Eminence, it is. All Christians are called to heroic virtue. Yes, we’re all sinners and obeying the Lord isn’t always easy. Nevertheless, to be a Christian means being willing to witness to the truth, not to mention embracing the Cross as we seek to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect. Sometimes it even means martyrdom—just as Saints John Fisher and Thomas More were martyred for, among other things, their unwillingness to compromise the Lord’s teaching concerning marriage’s indissolubility.

The Cardinal’s comment about adultery in the same interview left even more to be desired. “Adultery,” he said, “is not only wrong sexual behavior. It’s to leave a familiaris consortio, a communion, and to establish a new one. But normally it’s also the sexual relations in such a communion, so I can’t say whether it’s ongoing adultery.”

Adultery, however, isn’t a question of leaving a communion. It is to freely choose to violate an existing indissoluble communion, thereby breaking one of the commandants which Christ was especially insistent that His followers embrace. And while your marital communion exists with one person, it’s impossible to be in a marital communion with anyone else while your spouse is alive. To say this isn’t “rigorism.” It’s simply to apply to the act of adultery the basic logic of the truth that Christ Himself disclosed to us about marriage and its roots in the order of creation.

It was, then, with low expectations that I began reading the book that Cardinal Kasper was promoting during his recent American sojourn. To my surprise, however, Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life is neither a collection of flippant remarks nor teeming with obscurities. Instead I found an accessible and at times inspiring theological account of the Christian idea of mercy.

Drawing heavily upon Scripture, the Church Fathers, scholastic theologians, saints such as the Polish mystic Saint Faustina, popes ranging from Pius XII to Saint John Paul the Great, and many thoroughly orthodox theologians, Kasper opens his readers’ eyes to the full potential of a sound Christian re-appreciation of mercy. In the midst of his exposition of salvation history as an outpouring of God’s mercy on us, Kasper illustrates how a renewed attention to mercy could reshape aspects not just of the Church’s internal life, but also its reflections on political and economic problems.

Looking at the Church, for instance, Kasper states that one of the reasons that liberal theology invariably degenerates into mere political activism is that it trivializes Scripture’s statements about mercy (74). Nor does Kasper have much time for those who accuse people such as Mother Teresa who devote their lives to acts of mercy “of masking the injustices of the social system” (182). He also argues that the hyper-bureaucratization that, Kasper freely concedes, plagues the Catholic and Lutheran churches in Germany is contrary to a true culture of mercy and has “made the church hardly distinguishable from temporal organizations” (174).

In an even more surprising move—at least to those who don’t apparently recognize any real limits to the welfare state—Kasper uses the idea of mercy to expand upon Benedict XVI’s warnings in Deus Caritas Est concerning the limits of state action vis-à-vis alleviating human misery. “We cannot,” Kasper writes, “engineer and federally regulate concern and mercy” (197). Kasper also underscores how modern social security systems violate subsidiarity, undermine solidarity, and create dependency (189). In another echo of Benedict XVI, Kasper stresses that using debt as a way to try and circumvent the problem of funding modern welfare states amounts to the present generation living at their children’s expense (188).

Kasper, it turns out, has a good grasp of the German experiment otherwise known as the social market economy. He leans towards the “social” side of that model and, like many Western Europeans, tends to equate social with the state. Hence Kasper says little about how the type of flourishing civil society portrayed in Alexis de Tocqueville’s Democracy in America might give better effect to the demands of justice and mercy than bureaucrats in Berlin, Brussels, or Washington. That said, Kasper’s thinking about how we realize justice and mercy in the economy is much more attentive to economic truths than, for instance, the dubious assumptions which apparently informed the economic commentary articulated in Evangelii Gaudium.

Of relevance to present debates, however, are Kasper’s comments about canon law and church discipline. Quoting Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s comments about the fallacies of cheap grace (174-175), Kasper laments the widespread breakdown in church discipline since Vatican II. Legalism, he says, was replaced by a vacuum of niceness and false mercy (175). On several occasions, Kasper specifies that the application of mercy can’t be separated from the demands of truth. Being merciful, he says, involves speaking the truth to people about their sins, albeit with love. Without truth, mercy becomes “empty prattle” (162).

In this connection, Kasper reminds his readers that exclusion from the Eucharist was a practice of the Church right from the beginning. Indeed, he directly cites Saint Paul’s unambiguous words about the impermissibility of approaching the Lord’s Table in an unworthy state. No-one, Kasper comments, has a “right” to the Eucharist—not even Catholics (176). Such exclusion was understood then, and should be understood now, as a “bitter but necessary medicine of mercy” (177) which helps people reflect on their errors and repent.

Curiously, however, Kasper says relatively little in this context about two subjects that have preoccupied him and some European Catholics of late: the situation of divorced and civilly-remarried Catholics. Speaking of these cases, Kasper limits himself to insisting that the Church “may not steer clear of those who … are not counted among the pious.” Though, he cautions, “the church cannot justify the sin, it should certainly attend to the sinners with mercy” (169).

All this leads inevitably to the question: how can we reconcile what appears to be two Walter Kaspers? On the one hand, we have a cardinal who speaks in a less-than-prudent manner in the world’s media capital, and who apparently regards mediocrity as the norm for Christians. On the other hand, the same cardinal grasps that mercy-without-truth is mere sentimentalism. He also illustrates how embracing a true culture of mercy would force his own church in Germany to break its comfortable fetters of material-wealth and über-bureaucratization, and refers to exclusion from communion as an act of medicinal mercy.

Through contemplating this contradiction, I’ve reluctantly come to the conclusion that Cardinal Kasper—and many other German-speaking bishops—are willing to do whatever they think it takes to change the Church’s doctrine on marriage in ways that, while nominally retaining the principle of marriage’s indissolubility, effectively nullify the principle’s content à la the church of England. And that suggests that, for all their protestations to the contrary, some of these bishops don’t believe in true marriage’s indissolubility. This in turn puts them at odds with part of the divine law specified by Christ Himself.

The lengths to which some will go to try and realize this goal was recently highlighted by the distinguished patristic scholar John Rist in his analysis of Cardinal Kasper’s use of patristic sources in his February address to the College of Cardinals. In a few short paragraphs, Rist illustrated that Kasper’s claim that many Church Fathers believed that, in certain circumstances, the Church could tolerate a Catholic entering a second “marriage” while his actual spouse still lived “depends on misinterpreting a tiny number of texts while neglecting numerous others which contradict them.”

Even more devastating were Rist’s thoughts about how Kasper could have made such an error. “To my mind,” Rist wrote, “we have here an example of a procedure all too frequent in academia, more especially when work may be motivated by convenience or ideology: there is an overwhelming amount of evidence in one direction and one or two texts which might conceivably be read otherwise; from which is derived the desired conclusion, or at least that the matter is open.”

In coming months, I suspect we will see several efforts to manipulate the Church’s discussion about how to address the genuine pastoral challenge of divorced and civilly-remarried Catholics. This will include selected leaks, impossible-to-verify-claims concerning things supposedly said by the Pope, the peddling of dubious scholarship, and efforts to dismiss ancient pastoral disciplines based on the very words of Christ and Saint Paul as mere “rules.”

We should also expect the vilification of those who critique the arguments of those advocating positions such as Kasper’s “tolerate but not accept” proposal as “rigorists,” “judgmental,” or “abstract thinkers.” That’s exactly what happened to theologians such as the heroic John C. Ford SJ who defended the Church’s teaching on contraception in the years immediately preceding and following Humanae Vitae. Above all, we can safely predict the endless invocation of hard cases in an effort to generate emotion-based expectations that the Church must, in mercy’s name, admit to communion those who, by their own free choice, are living in situations that violate Christ’s teaching about adulterous acts and who, for whatever reason, aren’t willing to make the free choice, as Christ told the woman taken in adultery, to “go and sin no more.”

Hard cases—or so observed the English judge Robert Rolfe in 1842—make bad law. They also facilitate legalisms and rationalizations of the worst sort. Hence neither they nor feelings are a sound basis for thinking through how we live a gospel of mercy rooted in the objective moral order that Christ reveals to us. A better starting place for such reflection would be, paradoxically enough, Cardinal Kasper’s book on mercy.

So, with that in mind, I can’t help but ask: “Will the real Walter Kasper please stand up?”

(Photo credit: AFP / Paolo Cocco)

Samuel Gregg

By

Samuel Gregg is Research Director at the Acton Institute. He has authored many books including, most recently, Becoming Europe: Economic Decline, Culture, and How America can Avoid a European Future (2013) and Tea Party Catholic (2013).

  • Maggie Sullivan

    Kasper and his mixed up theology is a direct result of Francis and his lack of care for the teachings of the Church……we are in a new dark age for the church.

    • TheAbaum

      Whatever the merits of the present Pope, his garrulousness and misplaced faith in the state and a beneficent, sagacious and incorrupt economic actor, he’s not responsible for Cardinal Kasper. The Church has always had disloyal Cardinals, such as Wolsley.

      We survived the Borgia Popes, we”ll survive this one.

      • fredx2

        Actually, I see little difference between this Pope’s statements and the statements of every Pope before him. The difference is 1) the media is spinning him harder than any other Pope 2) Francis perhaps is willing to talk about the issue more because he comes from a part of the world where millions live in the most abject conditions, and this inequality leads directly to death and misery for those millions.

        • TheAbaum

          The problem is his approach.

          When he says there’s a place for “legitimate” redistribution, Hombre111 gets ready to send out armed tax collectors to shake down everybody that he thinks is “rich” and turn the town square into a dispensary of the stolen booty. I have no problem with providing public goods, but know that wealth is often personal and inheres to a person the way their limbs do. I don’t suffer from the delusion that wealthy is gobs of money in the back or a cellar fool of good coins.My guess is the Pope is somewhere in between.

          When he speaks on some matters, I’m reminded of a Nun that I had in grade school. She was fond of posing hypotheticals. One particular day, she asserted that running a red light wasn’t a sin if there was no realistic chance (say at 3AM, which meant something then) of a collision. I remember arguing with her, because I had an inchoate sense that there was an unnecessary risk posed by such an action, but couldn’t quite articulate it.

          Occasionally, her ignorance found no refuge in generalities. She used the metaphor of a train in one discussion, discussing the necessity of carefully steering it. Being a lfelong rail “buff” (and now actually have been a weekend railroader for almost 20 years), I knew that was wrong. Quite frankly, I don’t remember much from the rest of that school year, because she sacrificed her credibility with imprudence.

          Recently, I heard some summarization the Pope gave on the necessity of Baptism that includeda few select quotes. His oration on the matter was clear, precise and irrefutable. There were insights I never heard before, that only deepened my conviction. No refuge for Anabaptists or my Assemblies of God coworker who asserts with a straight face that Baptism has no effect other than symbolism, (one hopes efficaciousness isn’t defeated by obstinate ignorance there.) the way the “who am I to judge” remark has been maliciously misconstrued.

          The danger in speaking about things you don’t understand deeply, is to dwell on generalities or to make errors that reduce your authority. Clearly, he knows he’s caused some confusion because he responded to some critics by saying “Marxism is wrong”. He of course diluted the effect of that message by asserting that Marxists could be “good” people. How? If they really don’t buy the whole state atheism thing-in which case they’d be bad Marxists? Try this on for size. Nazi ideology is wrong, but Nazis can be good people.

          I miss Benedict and John Paul, sorry.

          • Interested

            Your point about the “good” Marxist was on my mind as I read through the comments here. It is this general speech pattern that confuses so many. How is a person good in a Catholic understanding while holding an evil ideology? Good as in polite? Good as in holy? See, that type of speech is confusing and not helpful.

            • TheAbaum

              My late grandmother used to say that there were three types of good.

              Good, no good and no damn good.

          • Ib

            Thanks for a good article. Cdl. Kasper is one of a group of theologians that try to walk the fine line between orthodoxy and academic groupthink. His earlier work on Christology is a good example of this. Some have found it to lean towards adoptionist heresy, while others (including Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI) have declared it orthodox. It walks a thin line.

            However, the main problem is not with this or that Cardinal. The main problem is the overall confusion about what the Roman Catholic Church teaches because Cardinals and Popes speak off the cuff, make phone calls in which they seem to have said something doctrinal compromising, lecture traditional Catholics about their practice of the faith, and give uninformed opinions on the goodness of the State’s coercive power. With such lack of clarity, spin-doctors have a day. And the Magisterium weakens.

        • Art Deco

          he comes from a part of the world where millions live in terrible
          conditions, and this inequality leads directly to death and misery for
          many of those millions.

          He comes from Argentina, which has suffered long-term relative decline in its economic fortunes. It was once a second-tier affluent country and is now an average country. Still, real per capita income is similar to that of the United States in the 1920s. The place is not Haiti and you will not find malnutrition is common there or that life expectancies are dramatically different from those in affluent countries.

          • Valentin

            Argentina is in a bad state but ‘redistibution’ won’t help because the few ‘wealthy’ people that aren’t targeted by the Marxist government are the same people who are doing the ‘redistribution’ (wink wink nod nod).

    • Jay

      Your hatred for Pope Francis is evident. However, can you prove from VIABLE sources that the Holy Father has not cared “for the teachings of the Church…”? I’ve read your past posts and you seem to politicize EVERYTHING. It’s either liberal (of Satan) or conservative (of Jesus) for you. It’s Catholics like you that make me regret my decision to become Catholic (a decision I made this Easter).

      You also remind me of one those Catholics that Fr. Pacwa ( when I hear his message, I’m reminded of WHY I became Catholic) has described as politicizing the Mass. What good comes from deeming everything liberal or conservative?

      • Interested

        Please do not throw around the term hate. It is a political term in this society.

      • Maggie Sullivan

        Jay, I’m sorry you regret becoming Catholic……the church is not for the faint of heart just like following Jesus 2000 years ago was not easy.
        Your comment about the Mass????? So you say unrepentant mass murderers should be welcomed at Mass and all should remain silent?
        Never…………………………………….

        • Jay

          No, but does your Priest and others in your Parish know about your hatred towards the Pope?

          • Interested

            Hatred again? Rash.

      • TheAbaum

        “politicizing the Mass. ”

        This isn’t Mass.

    • Michael B Rooke

      The secular press misrepresents Pope Francis. True Catholics listen to the words of the Holy Father.

      http://mobile.vatican.va/content/francescomobile/en.html#words

    • Jay

      Yes, like Michael B Rooke has stated. Look, read and listen to what Pope Francis has actually stated, and not what the media has reported (the media seems to be more sophisticated than ever before). Let me know after you’ve actually seen or heard his messages and tell me which ones do not teach Catholicism.

    • fredx2

      No, it is the result of Francis method of governing. His style is to make sure all sides are heard before making a decision. This makes for a much firmer decision – the left cannot say that they were not heard, and they can see that their ideas were defeated in a fair fight.
      For example, even Benedict said there were some special cases where the rule on married and divorced Catholics could be relaxed.
      The church usually grounds its rules on truth. You have nothing to fear from hearing the other side and debating.

      • Art Deco

        This makes for a much firmer decision – the left cannot say that they
        were not heard, and they can see that their ideas were defeated in a
        fair fight.

        [chuckles]

        • TheAbaum

          Preparation for dealing with the left is best accomplished by watching the final scenes of “Animal House” where Bluto says “it’s over when WE say it’s over”.

          If they can’t prevail, they’ll disrupt things with a stolen vehicle modified to be a missile that looks like a cake and has a euphemistic obscene injunction on it.

          • jacobhalo

            or as the blacks said after the civil rights bills, “it’s our turn now.”

        • Interested

          I know. Look how that ideology worked post Humanae Vitae.

      • TheAbaum

        “For example, even Benedict said there were some special cases where the rule on married and divorced Catholics could be relaxed. ”

        Citation please.

    • MAT

      Thank you for sharing your comments on Kasper. We ARE in a new dark age of our church. (open your eyes) The “Liberal Socialist””Free Mason”priests, bishops & cardinals, have taken over our church. Whether we believe it or not, doesn’t matter. It continues on without our naive believe system. Now if devout Catholics Christians would “wake up” from their “slumber” and truly understand what is happening, like Maggie Sullivan, then we may be able to take back our church. She is right on about Francis, for it is not hatred as you see it, but knowledge. For over a year now, his own mouth of heretic comments are startling. Investigate and read what many past Catholic Visionaries, Seers, & Saints have been warning us about.
      Matthew 16:23 says: He turned and said to Peter, “Get behind Me, Satan! You are a
      stumbling block to Me; for you are not setting your mind on God’s
      interests, but man’s.”

  • http://breviariumsop.blogspot.com/ Dominican Tertiary

    Thank you for this fascinating article. I have only read Cardinal Kasper’s statements in news accounts of his speeches and interviews, and never would have thought that his book would have been as orthodox as you claim it is. Very interesting indeed.

    Also, thank you for mentioning one of my hero’s in your article, the venerable Fr. John C. Ford, S.J.. His fall from being the preeminent moral theologian in the US to an outcast is detailed in an article in America Magazine (of all places). You can access it here: http://www.americamagazine.org/issue/ford%E2%80%99s-foundation

    • RufusChoate

      Thanks for the recommendation. It was very good.

      • http://breviariumsop.blogspot.com/ Dominican Tertiary

        You are very welcome. So few people have every even heard of him, and his heroic efforts in the 1960’s to defend the Church’s teaching on contraception.

    • TheWhiteLilyBlog

      Sorry, I meant this comment for Dominican Tertiary, but appended it above. Pascendi said it was a characteristic of modernism to parade orthodoxy as part of the smoke and mirrors.

      • http://breviariumsop.blogspot.com/ Dominican Tertiary

        True indeed. He bakes a dash of heterodoxy into a loaf of orthodoxy. The unsuspecting don’t even realize they have been poisoned. Very sad indeed.

  • johnalbertson

    The Acton Institute does a decent job explaining economic realities and I think they are not just preaching to the choir. However in this present papacy, they have been spinning Pope Francis’s often odd commentaries so much that if fear they may get dizzy. I wonder how they will try to explain that the pope did not mean what he meant in his recent address to United Nations representatives. It is possible to spin out of control.

  • hombre111

    About heroism: Cardinal Kasper was speaking within a realistic framework. We are all called to the ideal, but by its very definition, we never reach the ideal. Therefore, in the end, we must accept what we are, and keep striving. Americans come from an English Common Law perspective, in which you are expected to fulfill the law to the letter. In other words, not only are you called to the ideal, you must reach the ideal. A logical impossibility. We live within the real. I think about a visit to a Trappist monastery, and a visit with the abbot, who was a friend. He point to a young novice, who was laboring away, trying to live a perfect life. “He is going to crash and burn, and then he will leave,” the old man said. Which he did, and did. Maybe this struggle to be heroic explains the grim attitude of so many conservatives.

    • TheAbaum

      “Americans come from an English Common Law perspective, in which you are expected to fulfill the law to the letter.”

      No. English Common Law was full of imprecision “reasonable doubt”, ring a bell?

      If Americans are expected “expected to fulfill the law to the letter.” it is thanks to the modern administrative superstate that you love so much.

      In a just world, your dereliction of duty would be a capital offense. You wouldn’t be stoned, but “booked” with the Code of Federal Regulations, starting with the Internal Revenue Code.

    • Interested

      Keeping the commandments is not an ideal. It is the most basic and minimal we can do.

      • hombre111

        Actually, they are like keeping in bounds and rarely committing a foul during a basketball game. We might still play a lackluster loser’s game, from first whistle to last.

        • Interested

          Do not follow the sports analogy. Have you read Veritas Splendour by your favorite Pope? He explains it very well.

          • hombre111

            I have slogged through Veritas Splendor several times. The copy is almost worn out.

            • John200

              Sheesh, father hombre, this is a real temptation and I cannot help it —

              Why don’t you read it this time?

              • TheAbaum

                The only temptation you are expected to overcome in his world is to disgorge everything to the government.

                • Slainte

                  Ultimately what is Caesar’s reverts, in time, to Caesar. We cannot take mammon with us when we shed the mortal coil; shrouds have no pockets.
                  .
                  The key is to voluntarily give it away for worthy causes to advance Christ’s ways in this world.

                  • TheAbaum

                    I have repeatedly said that my late Grandmother had an expression “caskets don’t come with pockets”, so I concur.

                    Not everything Caeser demands, is Caesers, and taxes are not voluntary giving. Nor are politicians omniscient, beneficent and incorrupt.

                    If giving money to people solved their problems, we wouldn’t see such a high incidence of bankruptcy and suicide among lottery winners.

                    • slainte

                      I agree with all that you write. I just think we should voluntarily and anonymously support others in legitimate need, ie., by engaging the corporal works of mercy within the context of subsidiarity and solidarity as taught by the Church.
                      .
                      Sometimes by paying part or all of a hospital bill of a struggling family can mean alleviating the stress on an overburdened mom and dad.
                      .
                      Small things done in Christ’s name.

                    • TheAbaum

                      Give, give until it hurts and don’t think voting for kleptocrats is charity.

    • fredx2

      And therein lies the difference between liberals and conservatives. Liberals, perhaps more afflicted with life’s though times, or having tough luck, recognize that we all are imperfect and all need constant forgiveness and grace. Conservatives, on the other hand, may be conservative precisely because they have not faced the most difficult things life has to throw at them.
      On the other hand, Liberals may be in those tough positions precisely because they refused to try to live up to the high standard – as a result Things Fall Apart and life gets tougher.

      • RufusChoate

        You are mistaking the self congratulatory pride of the Left for a virtue. It is no accident that the Left occupies the least productive or humanitarian occupations in society with a smug assurance of their virtue i.e. College Campuses, Government employment and the arts.
        Look at the Lefts stance on most issues and their solution and it is clear it is pain avoidance rather than embracing their cross: unexpectedly Pregnant: Abortion, Poor: Confiscate the wealth of others to create a corrosive and self enriching welfare apparatus that only employs the Left while the Poor languish, Evil in society: appeasement.
        I don’t know how many times it has to be mentioned but the data on charity of both time, talent and treasure by Conservatives is always greater than your long suffering Left.

        • Ford Oxaal

          The plague of a rich society is that many members remain adolescents for the entire duration of their unfortunate participation in the voting process. I wish the vote were limited to intact families — one vote per family.

          • TheAbaum

            Or net taxpayers- you know people with “skin in the game”. No personal or corporate welfare recipients and definitely no politicians should be allowed to vote.

        • TheAbaum

          “You are mistaking the self congratulatory pride of the Left for a virtue. ”

          Hashtag Bring Back Our (sic) Girls.

          Yeah for us, look what we did. Ahh the comforting anasthetic of the unproductive gesture.

          • ForChristAlone

            By the way, what’s the latest word on the Obama Administration’s success in using Twitter Diplomacy? Are the girls home yet?

            • TheAbaum

              Oh come on, it’s noble intent not results that matter.

              It’s been a month now. You can be sure those animals that took them have deflowered them by now and wrapped them in burquas to protect their modesty.

        • hombre111

          There is no less productive person than a rich man who inherited his wealth and lives off money earned in the Wall Street casino, his “investments” watched over by some other rich man.

          • Art Deco

            Hombre111 is addled contemplating C.K. Dexter Haven, a fairly rare character in this day and age.

          • TheAbaum

            There is no less productive person than a cleric who obtains his income and lives off money earned by others, presumably to care for their souls, but dispensing with those things he dislikes and in desperate need of being watched over more carefully by another cleric.

            Got a pension there padre? You might need some new clothes.

            http://www.casinosupply.com/dealer_attire.html

          • RufusChoate

            You’ve obviously have never associated closely with any tenured academics who make the idle inherited rich look like veritable workaholics whose charity always exceeds the tenured faculty of any school but no one is defending the idle Rich.

            • hombre111

              I was campus minister at two different universities for a total of twenty years. I never met a prof who fit your description. I am not sure where you got your info about the charitable donations of the tenured faculty.

              • TheAbaum

                “I never met a prof who fit your description. ”

                Should’ve done something more than sit in an office reading Commonsqueal.

      • TheAbaum

        Fred, your thesis that “liberalism” is the consequence of bad luck, is disputed by the fact that leftwing statism enjoys greater popularity no only on the lower end of the economic “spectrum”, by the higher end as well.

        The rest of the post, I find agreeable.

      • Art Deco

        Liberals, perhaps more afflicted with life’s though times, or having
        tough luck, recognize that we all are imperfect and all need constant
        forgiveness and grace.

        I would refer you to Alvin Gouldner and Thomas Sowell for a delineation of the contours of political conflict in this country. Doesn’t have much to do with that.

        • TheAbaum

          Doctor Sowell: National Treasure.

          Also, how a Marxist becomes a good person. Discard it and spend the rest of your life and considerable talents in unabated opposition to it.

      • ForChristAlone

        You couldn’t prove your theory by my personal life experiences. I am conservative and not on a few occasions when young was asked by my mother to go to the Catholic neighbor’s house next door to borrow $2 so we could have dinner that evening. It wouldn’t have occurred to us to look to the State; we were Christians.

        • slainte

          My mom was a widow, and we experienced the same circumstance except that our benefactor was a kind Jewish woman whom my mother always repaid promptly, with thanks.

      • hombre111

        I think the difference comes from a liberal’s ability to see larger connections, with a sense of the common good. This makes one liberal position, abortion, a real case of cognitive dissonance, because it often hinges on a mother’s inability to identify with her unborn child. And abortion has done more to discredit the liberal cause than anything else I can think of.
        The conservatives we see today, including many Catholics, are infected by the Protestant vice of individualism. Chesterton, noting this, called American Catholics “Catholics with the souls of Protestants.” When we ponder individualism, which can come so close to egotism, we are touching one of the reasons why America is falling apart. To many conservatives, a call for the common good is scorned as “communism,” or “socialism.”

        • Art Deco

          I think the difference comes from a liberal’s ability to see larger
          connections, with a sense of the common good, and a sympathy for those
          who are last and least.

          Is this parody Hombre or the original?

          • Dr. Timothy J. Williams

            hombre cannot connect the dots. Like some of the very few Catholic professors I knew in graduate school, all of whom were left-wing, card-carrying Democrats, if not outright socialists, hombre thinks that the pro-abortion stance is just an aberrational thought in the otherwise enlightened, liberal, Christian politics of the left. In fact, it is perfectly emblematic of a mentality that refuses to take responsibility for anything because it no longer acknowledges any sin.

            • hombre111

              Pro-choice privatizes the act of abortion, diminishing or completely unable to see the connection between the mother and the child who did not ask to be conceived.
              Conservatives turn social justice into charity, which is wrong. A perfect example is the way they cite Jesus’ words, “The poor you will always have with you.” They never quote the continuing words, “And you can help them if you wish.” So, why don’t you wish?

              • TheAbaum

                Another broadside against conservatives from lord god insult.

                Fraud.

          • hombre111

            This statement is so wise, that it can only come from the original Hombre. ;>)

            • Hombre111

              I am you, you are me.

              • hombre111

                And now we are three.

        • TheAbaum

          You are bitter, broken tool. Now tell us about insults.

          • hombre111

            Sing on, oh Not Okay Child.

            • TheAbaum

              I’m not the one that never grew up.

        • Hombre111

          Be still and penitent.

    • RufusChoate

      I find your claim that English Common Law expects its fulfillment to the Letter quixotic considering they never even bother to write down the English Constitution. As Blackstone wrote “[T]he principal aim of society is to protect individuals in the enjoyment of those absolute rights, which were vested in them by the immutable laws of nature, but which could not be preserved in peace without that mutual assistance and intercourse which is gained by the institution of friendly and social communities. Hence it follows, that the first and primary end of human laws is to maintain and regulate these absolute rights of individuals.”
      That is a Law that takes the human frailty into careful consideration rather than the rigid law of Lycurgus.

      I found your anecdote about your Trappist Abbot friend disheartening that he would refer to a Confrere in such a dismissive manner in idle conversation with an outsider.

      I would state categorically he is both a bad Abbot but a worse man.

      • hombre111

        Heard this during a lecture on Canon Law at Notre Dame. English Common Law aims for the lowest common denominator. If the law seems to be too difficult, we argue for a change in the law. Thus, if I drive 55 on an empty street marked 35 in the middle of the night, I will still get a ticket. “Talk to the judge,” the cop says.
        Hard to argue with Blackstone, but people following Blackstone managed to trash the environment and create a society that is ever more unequal. Catholics who read the Catechism should also read the “Compendium of the Social Doctrine of the Church,” from the Pontifical Council for Justice and Peace. The difference is this: Along with a concern with the absolute rights of individuals, we also have to pursue the common good. And the Church says that some rights considered “absolute” by some, are not absolute, such as the absolute right to determine how I am supposed to use my property. Thus, environmental laws. Conservatives, captured by modern individualism, see this as a sure proof of the tyranny of government.

        • TheAbaum

          Canon law has nothing to do with ECL.

          The rest of the post is a non sequitur and bloviate.

          Try to do a post that doesn’t vilify people with a limited government perspective, you harangue.

        • RufusChoate

          The really odd thing is I have no issues with the teachings of Social Doctrine by any Pontifical Council and I have never discounted them but I have always found it an odd stance by the Left in the Church that the political groups and institutions they lend their most wholehearted support to are atheistic, secular and worship the comprehensive state that is completely antagonistic to the life of the faith and its core ethics.

          Another small point about environment law is that larges percentage of Pollution Super Sites in America were always Government installations and that the reaction to most the commercial sites was a politically motivated hysteria by the Left to produce more control over the Economy to no benefit for the economic well being. Dioxin, Alar, Three Mile Island, Love Canal, the “burning” Cayuga River were found after careful and long research and study to be based on fraudulent, deceptive and fabricated claims.

          • hombre111

            Just returned from a meeting with young priests. Let’s see…To me the Democrats are so concerned about being re-elected that they do not put their money where their mouth is. I am not aware of any particular organization that worships the state. I think the Left feels that government has a role, while the Right contends that the less the government is involved in anything, the better, as if it were some kind of foreign evil capable of only foolishness or harm. But the right is counting on Social Security, Medicare, clean air, good roads, safe food, safe water, and on and on.
            I don’t know about other superfund sites, but I am familiar with one site in a valley in Idaho, where some of my shirt-tail relatives live. The culprit is a silver smelter. When I visited my relatives as a child, the smoke, filled with lead and other heavy metals, was so thick you could not see across the street. All the trees on the mountainside were dead. The river was like flowing mud, filled with lead, arsenic, cadmium, and etc.. The smelter finally went out of business, but the soil in the entire valley was toxic for the children who played in it. Blood tests showed a high concentration of lead in their blood. The river bottomlands kill the birds who land there, and the pollution went thirty plus miles to Lake Couer d’Alene, through the lake, and down the Spokane River to Spokane.
            The main blame belongs to the corporation, which sold to a dummy corporation, which sold off all the assets, and declared bankruptcy. But the blame also belongs to the state of Idaho, which failed to regulate water or air quality. That is why the Federal Government had to step in to clean up the mess, with your dollars and mine. I am sure this story can be retold all over America, wherever there was mining, smelting, or oil production.

            • TheAbaum

              Lead causes brain damage.

      • ForChristAlone

        Yes, and with an attitude like that permeating the abbey or monastery, it’s no wonder the monk left. What the Trappists need to do is get back to being Trappists. They have become meccas for sanctimonious lay Catholics from the protestant wing of the Catholic Church.

      • ellemenoP

        Agreed on English Common Law.

        Agreed as well – in spades – on that abbot. I have a friend who is in charge of novices in one province of a branch of the Franciscans. I know how exquisitely careful he is of the novices under his care. We speak very frankly, because although I am a layperson, I am also his elder-in-faith as well as years and there’s a great mutual respect between us. But I can’t imagine him revealing anything truly personal about a novice in such a way that I could identify the novice; he is as discreet about them as individuals as he would be using an example from confession. We used to work very closely with volunteers and he discretion when it comes to talking about other people has not changed: it’s why people trust him.

        My friend is much-loved by his novices who think of him as a true father and are able to go to him with every kind of doubt or uncertainty or fear. I am SURE that if he saw a novice who was being overly scrupulous about following the rule or trying to be perfect through his own efforts, he’d see the danger signs in that and give him careful guidance. But then my friend is a true leader; one who has great empathy with others and inspires confidence and openness. His novices open their hearts to him in extraordinary ways, and their love and respect for him as a model friar and priest beams out of their faces when they speak to him (or when I meet one in visiting my part of the country and mention his name). He is deeply humbled by the trust they have in him, and it makes him ever more prayerful and respectful of their souls and vocations.

        He’s nearly 20 years younger than I am and I’ve known him since before he was ordained, but in matters spiritual, he is my ‘venerable father’ as much as he is to those novices. Some of them leave during their novitiate; but all of them leave with the confidence that they are loved by their erstwhile novice-master and without a doubt that every care was taken to make sure that their decision to leave was not driven by emotions or some temporary setback or a sense of not being welcome in the community, etc.

        Thomas Merton also had the desire to live up to some kind of ideal of ‘the perfect monk’ when he joined the Trappists. What young person does NOT come to his/her vocation or career with an idealized image of it in mind, and a determination to be ‘perfect’ at it? No need to psychoanalyze or blame the parents or someone’s upbringing.

        Seems to me that a novice (in any area) who is unconcerned with trying to do his/her best is the one to get rid of, not the one who by his/her nature strives to be better every day.

        My career involves training people to be teachers and I’m always outraged by colleagues who tell a first-year student, ‘You’ll never make a teacher!’ I just want to smack those colleagues upside the head. How do they DARE to conclude that someone just beginning his/her training will not make a teacher? The fact that they’ve been proved wrong scores of times doesn’t stop them from devastating vulnerable young people with their condemnations, nor does it stop them from spreading their condemnation to other/future teachers who then expect the students to do poorly and get the poor performance they expect. I’ve seen so many final-year students who are deeply committed to teaching, who are still wounded by being dismissed by a teacher in the earliest stages of their training, and who have seen that dismissive attitude in the eyes, words and manner of subsequent teachers.

        I wonder how many promising vocations have been crushed by insensitive abbots who could see a novice in trouble but did nothing to urge extra care, instruction, and vigilance on the part of the novice master and confessors?

        • ForChristAlone

          You have aptly described what it takes to be a “father.” And let’s also remember that the degree a man is able to be a “father” in the truest sense, will influence the younger person’s relationship to God who is Father.
          Thanks for what you have written. It speaks of much maturity.

    • Hombre111

      We should be still and silent now.

      • ForChristAlone

        this is just tooooo funny

      • hombre111

        The real Hombre checking in. You will always recognize my avatar above by his lack of intellectual depth.

        • TheAbaum

          I’ve always heard brevity is the soul of wit.

          Nobody has less intellectual depth than you.

          If you were a river, you’d be a mile wide and a sixteenth of an inch deep.

          • hombre111

            Let me be a Nagging Parent for a moment. The Not OK Child prowls the Crisis site, dispensing insults. One of these days, he might want to sound like an adult.

            • TheAbaum

              You can’t be a parent, when you need a parent. It takes more than nagging.

              It’s only an insult if it’s inaccurate or exaggerated.

              Have you read your own bilious screeds against:

              Conservatives, religious
              Conservatives, political.
              Business people
              Financial Professionals
              SAINT John Paul.
              The Church, Catholic

              People in glass houses as they say…

            • Hombre111

              We need to be still and prayerful now.

            • hombre111

              Pot meet kettle.

              • hombre111

                Is the hombre avatar capable only of one liners?

                • hombre111

                  no.

                  • slainte

                    hombre111….Unless the avatar imposter has hijacked your Disqus account, the same person is posting as hombre111 on Disqus and as a guest poster.
                    .
                    Game called.

                    • Hombre111

                      Serious matters are not games.

                • ForChristAlone

                  They are pearls, though. Profundity isn’t measured by the number of words.

      • ForChristAlone

        I, for one, am looking to hear more from Hombre111. Your sagacity is more than entertaining.

    • JP

      The young Trappist obviously didn’t understand what “perfection” meant. There is also a saying that the Perfect is Enemy of the Good. The novice certainly needed guidance. In your example, you never elucidated whether the Novice received any direction. The Jesuits also had at one time a very rigorous methodology of developing novices. Most never made it through the first three year phase – spiritually is was like Marine Boot Camp. But, there was a time when the Jesuits were the great defenders of the Faith, as well as some of the greatest evangelists of the modern era. But not everyone is or was called to be a Jesuit.

      Orthodox Catholics (you label them with a political tag, which is incorrect) are not grim. We strive for perfection, but we know we will fail. Heroism, in the Catholic sense is a quiet surrendering of oneself to Christ. It is normally quite painful and if we are not careful, it can become a “thing in itself” (translated from Kant’s Ding an sich). Scrupulosity, like anything else, can be harmful if overdone.

      I do recall older generations of Christians (Catholic and non-Catholic) who quietly lived heroic lives of Christian virtues. I knew them when they were elderly; but, their children and siblings attested to their life time of choosing this path.

      For the Church not to insist that we live heroic lives would not only be wrong, but criminally so.

      • hombre111

        Nice testimony. Thanks. I did not use the word “orthodox,” which is pejorative toward other Catholics, but “conservative.” I think the word “perfection” has taken on a modern meaning created by the assembly line. Now, it means without fault, or flaw, and there is an inspector on hand to make sure. But when we take this as a definition of flawed human beings, we are bound to drive ourselves, and each other, crazy. I prefer to understand “perfection” through its Latin roots, which simple boil down to, “finished,” “worked through.” I think of a set of Communion chalices I saw, the work of a master glass blower. None was like the other, and they had imperfections which added up to their uniqueness.
        I think you are right about wondering about the spiritual direction that young man received. But he might have come from very rigid parents, and their incessant demand for perfection could have been a voice in his head he was unable to ignore.

  • Civility

    We may as well admit it: We have a buffoon for a Pope, who’s elevated another buffoon to be his primary theologian in the person of Card. Kasper.

    • ForChristAlone

      Neither is a buffoon but both might have a few things to learn about the public forum and how to exercise the offices they hold. Smart men can be imprudent – not bad, but imprudent.

  • ForChristAlone

    First of all, I find it unseemly that a Cardinal is on a tour of the USA promoting his own book. Smacks of a cult of personality to me.

    Secondly, what Kasper has in common with Bergolio is that they speak extemporaneously far too often, resulting in confusion. What the faithful need more than anything else these days is clear, unadulterated, catecheses of Church teachings.

    We live in a culture where personalities are idolized and self-promotion has reached an art form. A little more anonymity in the Church so that it is Christ who is front and center is in order.

    • Interested

      Agreed and I would humbly submit perhaps a bit more intellectual honesty from those that reinterpret the Pope’s words after every utterance to explain what he really said. To deny the obvious communication problems is to spin everything and is not consistent with justice.

    • TheAbaum

      I don’t mind a book tour if his Archdiocese is terrible need a funds to build new Churches because the pews are splintering under weight of so many butts pressing down on them, or if the Seminaries need new dormitories to accommodate the rush of young men in discernment. Those of course are not his problems.

      The winner of the ABaum foundation’s (hey if a Cardinal can engage in a little self-promotion, surely a pseudonymous guy on the Internet can) first annual Tetzel award is.. Cardinal Walter Kasper. Unfortunately, we represent the poorer Church and there is no cash prize to accompany this prestigious award.

  • tamsin

    Above all, we can safely predict the endless invocation of hard cases in an effort to generate emotion-based expectations that the Church must, in mercy’s name, change her teaching.

    Or, the desire to make an exception for one proves the rule must be changed for all. At some point, generating emotion-based expectations devolves into emotional use and abuse of the listener.

  • Dick Prudlo

    I had to stop reading after the St. John Paul the Great additive.

  • John MacGovern

    In my view, my humble view, Kasper is a problem, a serious problem. And he is not alone. But the Church will survive. We have that on Christ’s words: and the gates of Hell shall not prevail against Her. Which is not to say things will not get difficult, indeed very difficult, as I predict they will. The Church has survived tough times before. Remember the famous words of Saint Jerome:..and the whole world woke up one morning, lamenting and marveling, to find itself Arian.

    • TheAbaum

      The floors of hell are paved with the bones of bad Bishops. Maybe Kasper thinks he’s going to get one of those massages where the masseuse walks on your back.

  • Patrick

    The lack of respect to the Holy Father is disturbing by some commentators. As far as being a “hero” I understand that all Christians are called to holiness but martyrdom is not a term that should easily be thrown about or expected of all Christians. One only needs to study how human beings are brutally tortured, as limbs and body parts are cut off piece by piece today as well as other unutterable tortures that the “heroism” of the Martyrs is unique and not something every Christian could endure.

    • Art Deco

      The lack of respect to the Holy Father is disturbing by some commentators.

      Other people find ‘disturbing’ the Pope’s phone counseling, use of hackneyed terminology appropriate to opinion magazines, indulgence of dubious characters like Cdl. Kaspar, and harassment of the Franciscan Friars.

    • Interested

      Obeying is not bring a hero.

    • JP

      Once a Catholic is confirmed martyrdom is always a shadow – perhaps a very thin one in our times, but it exists none-the-less. We are all called to holiness; easier said than done. However, the laws of Christ do not change because of our failures, sins, and weaknesses. We are called to crucify ourselves daily. And in spite of ourselves, Christ is always there to forgive. Yes, martyrdom seems like another old artifact of History. For who in the US in this day and age is flayed alive or fed to lions on account of his faith?

      Yet, there are people who do live heroically. A decade or so ago, a doctor in my area (she was Catholic and already a mother) was diagnosed with cancer after she found out she was pregnant. She chose to forgo treatment as it would surely kill her unborn child. She gave birth to the child but died a few weeks later. That is heroism. She could have undergone radiation therapy (that was the only chance she had of survival); but, she didn’t in order to save her child.

      There are other examples; the Catholic who quietly fights his own Nature in order to please God and help others. Pride is one of the great things that leads us to sin. The person who humbles himself in order to “die a little” is one of the quiet heroes. Heroic deeds are not necessarily the most dramatic, and at times are the most difficult.

  • Vinnie

    Sounds like the pharisees in Jesus’ time. “Boy, am I glad I’m not like that “average” tax collector over there – you could never expect him to be heroic like I am.”

  • RufusChoate

    How many English Bishops stood heroically against the claims and looting of the Tudors and their minions as self proclaimed heads of the English Church? One former Chancellor and Two or Three Bishops if memory serves me and maybe a hundred monks and priests. The rest fell under the the rubric “heroism is not for the average Christian.” and vanished from the pages of history as being only average Englishmen and not Christian in any lasting sense.

    • publiusnj

      “Vanishing form the pages of History” is an overstatement. Many of the priests/bishops. who remained silent when Henry VIII usurped the Liberty of the English Church. acted more heroically after seeing the depths of Protestantism brought on by Edward VI’s regents. So, when Mary I took the throne, she worked with Parliament to restore the Roman Obedience of the English Church, and it was one of those formerly compliant bishops, Stephen Gardiner, Bishop of Winchester and Mary’s Chancellor, who led the members of both houses of Parliament to kneel before the Papal Legate and Mary, presenting the petition that proclaimed that Parliament was “very sorry and repentant of the schism and disobedience committed in this realm against the See Apostolic” and begged to be returned “into the bosom and unity of Christ’s Church.”

      As of Nov. 17, 1558 when Mary died and Anne Boleyn’s girl Elizabeth took the throne, almost all the bishops who then occupied the sees of England refused to go along with Elizabeth’s very Protestant agenda. Only one of the bishops participated in her coronation and most ended up imprisoned for refusing to go along with Elizabeth’s Acts of Uniformity and Supremacy. At their Convocation in 1559, they passed five articles that are gloriously Catholic:

      (1) That in the Sacrament of the Altar, by virtue of the words of Christ duly spoken by the priest, is present realiter, under the kinds of bread and wine, the natural Body of Christ, conceived of the Virgin Mary, and also his natural Blood.
      (2) That after the consecration there remains not the substance of bread and wine, nor any other substance, but the substance of God and Man.
      (3) That in the Mass is offered the true Body of Christ,and his true Blood, a propitiatory sacrifice for the living and the dead.
      (4) That to Peter the Apostle, and his lawful successors in the Apostolic See, as Christ’s Vicars, is given the supreme power of feeding and ruling the Church of Christ Militant, and confirming their brethren.
      (5) That the authority of handling and defining concerning the things belonging to faith, sacraments, and discipline ecclesiastical, hath hitherto ever belonged, and ought to belong,
      only to the pastors of the Church; whom the Holy Ghost for this purpose hath set in the Church; and not to laymen.

      • kentgeordie

        Outstanding contribution. How about if the English bishops were to reaffirm the glorious pronouncement of 1559, rather than speaking on political issues beyond their competence or authority.

    • Michael Paterson-Seymour

      One bishop only, St John Fisher, bishop of Rochester.

      • kentgeordie

        If you visit Rochester Cathedral, you will see they commemorate St John Fisher, their most distinguished bishop, who was murdered by founder of their faith community. Oh dear, what a muddle is Anglicanism.

  • JP

    In some ways this entire issue of family, marriage, annulment, and communion is one giant straw man – in Germany at least. Germany has 3 rather large provinces that have been Catholic for over a millennia – if not longer: Bavaria, portions of Baden Wurttemberg, and Rhineland-Hesse. A large minority of Germans are Catholic. Yet, not only does Germany have a large incidence of co-habitation, but it also has one of the lowest birthrates in Europe if not the world – the stats in heavily Catholic Bavaria are about the same as the rest of Germany.

    In other words, who in Germany really cares? Mass attendance is low, as is attendance to Confession. Of all the problems the RCC has in Germany (or the entire West, for that matter), is the prohibition against divorced Catholics taking Communion one of them? Seriously. Or, is this issue just one of the many bones that activist groups such as Wir sind Kirche have to pick with the Vatican? Is this nothing more than a boutique issue pushed by Progressives in the Church. The RCC is fast decaying in Europe. It’s a spent force. I suppose caving to the demands of the well-off, yet dwindling numbers of Catholics in Europe will get the Vatican positive press; however, it will open the flood gates for more “reforms”.

    • ForChristAlone

      You’ve nailed it in my opinion. Pulled the covers on the whole charade. Kasper would do well to stay home and strategize with the few faithful left how they will go about evangelizing the German people. A novena to St Boniface might jump-start the whole thing.

    • TheAbaum

      Reforms = deforms.

  • Jay

    Reading this article and then reading comments from extremists like Maggie Sullivan make me even more convinced that the Culture Wars will destroy the “One” True Church. Soon we will see the same thing that happened to the Anglican Church. There will be an American Catholic Church, two or three German Catholic Churches, etc. The extremists on both sides will to be blamed.

    • slainte

      Jay, The Catholic Church has weathered attacks against it since its inception. We Catholics have been targeted repeatedly by hostile states and cultures determined to wipe us and the Faith off the face of the earth. They have not prevailed because Our Lord has promised that the gates of Hell will not prevail against His bride, the Church. He is our Protector.
      .
      A sincere welcome home to you! Don’t be afraid. As a new Catholic you have found the Truth in God’s Church and you will come to know Him through the Sacraments, the Word, and Tradtition. The commenters here enjoy testing the boundaries of the faith by using the intellect and a lot of laughter and ribbing. We actually do learn by participating in these fast and furious debates. Join in and have fun. Joy is also part of being Catholic.

      • Crisiseditor

        You nailed it, Slainte. Thank you. We should celebrate the fact that there are Catholics who feel passionately about the Faith. What should concern us are not the fierce debaters but the lukewarm who are largely indifferent to the serious matters raised on this site.

        • Jay

          Lukewarm is not what I want either. I’m weary though of extremists on both sides who let pride get in the way of standing in solidarity.

          • Dart Echo

            Lukewarm is not what I want either. I’m weary though of extremists on both sides who let pride get in the way of standing in solidarity.

            Please explain this.

            • Tom Schuessler

              So orthodoxy means there is no path to mercy, and no Eucharist, for those who have remarried? That’s the law. I just read of Jesus in the Gospel of John offering mercy to a Samaritan woman who had been through five husbands. She became a powerful witness – what the pope would call a missionary disciple – in her city.

              • Interested

                Do we presume on God’s mercy? As in I get to keep committing adultery because I want that more than anything else? Is that mercy?

                Where is this notion that orgasm is the highest goal above faithfulness to God?

              • Dart Echo

                I was repeating what Jay wrote.

            • Jay

              I like what John Allen has to say in this short youtube clip ohttp://www.youtube.com/watch?v=d9_U47y7rXQn the political divisiveness amongst Catholics.

          • slainte

            Jay, Those you view as extreme are here to learn as well. Knowledge and interaction with others help to diffuse the underlying issues which may give rise to various forms of extremism.
            .
            You have much to share. Join with us, be patient; teach us what you know and we will reciprocate in kind.

        • slainte

          Thank you for providing a forum to make this all possible and for being even-handed in your interactions with posters. I am appreciative.

  • Valentin

    How sad is it that a Cardinal (who’s job it is to set a good example or rather guide the faithful) is willing to fold with this one important case of teaching which is a command from Christ despite him knowing Church teaching fairly well. That shows an extreme lack of integrity and fortitude.

    • TheWhiteLilyBlog

      Pascendi said it was a characteristic of modernism to parade orthodoxy as part of the smoke and mirrors.

  • Stu

    He has already overplayed a bad hand.

  • adevar@hotmail.com

    God bless Cardinal Kasper .

    • Interested

      Why? Because the heterodox like him?

    • TheAbaum

      He’s certainly in need.

    • http://shyanguya.wordpress.com/ @FMShyanguya

      Better prayer with chances of it being accepted and the petitioner not offending, ‘Please God, mercy and forgiveness for a prince of your Son’s Church and his kind, justice for your Church.’

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  • Paul

    ‘That said, Kasper’s thinking about how we realize justice and mercy in
    the economy is much more attentive to economic truths than, for
    instance, the dubious assumptions which apparently informed the economic
    commentary articulated in Evangelii Gaudium.’

    When WILL Christians, particularly Christian leaders and media pundits stop talking dismissively of the welfare-state, as if it were the very poor and ineffective alternative to a spartan stream-lined state geared to maximize short-term profits for the rentier sector? And as if the damage caused by putatively excessive bureaucratic growth were horrendous, when compared with the plunder of of the public purse of rank US capitalism, at any time in the country’s history?

    Even after WWII, during the period the French call, Les Trente Glorieuses, the economic boom enjoyed in the more economically advanced countries of the West, was gained at the expense of the Western-backed tyrannies in South America and elsewhere across the globe, even Spain and Portugal, under the still mysteriously extant fascist regimes of Franco and Salazar.

    When an Italian leader sought to nationalize the major, Italian oil- company, so that citizens could enjoy the benefits of the massive oil profits, he was killed in a mysterious plane-crash; mysterious, that is, only to those unaware of the favoured modi operandi of Big Oil – the large corporations if it comes to that, all to protect the national interest of course.

    How many people starve under an overblown bureaucratic state?

    • Interested

      In our country economic problems are often linked to moral transgressions. When was the last time you heard someone from the Church talking about fornication and loose living as leading to single motherhood and poverty?

    • TheAbaum

      “When WILL Christians, particularly Christian leaders and media pundits stop talking approvingly of the welfare-state, as if it were the very good and effective alternative to a properly ordered and limited state rather than something designed to maximize short-term profits for the rentier sector?”

      • slainte

        When they are able to expand their vision to recall a Catholic Church fully engaged in an active social mission, operating independently of the welfate state, and providing schools, hospitals, charities, orphanages, and other services locally to all in need. This was our Church just 50 years ago.

        • TheAbaum

          For example, a Church able to adoption placements in conformity with its values, not the peculiar novelties of the state.

    • Art Deco

      was gained at the expense of the Western-backed tyrannies in South America and elsewhere across the globe,

      I see you’ve been consuming Andre Gunder Frank. That particular research program imploded when economic sociologists within it were actually asked to verify their contentions. Characters like Alejandro Portes resorted to rhetorical gamesmanship. Others (e.g. Christopher Chase Dunn) actually did have a program of statistical research and discovered some interesting relationships (the export-enclave problem appears real), but the whole mass of theses could not be substantiated. Affluent countries trade largely with each other and trade intramurally. Technological adaptations and process improvements therein cannot be attributed to some posited process of sucking resources out of South America (given that value added attributable to trade with the third world is pretty minimal for most advanced economies).

  • Paul

    And yes, saying that most Christians are not called to heroism was, I suspect, an unfortunate short-hand. All Christians are, but to different kinds. Even the canonised saints would feel embattled at the trials facing them under a welter of different family responsibilities in the teeth of extreme poverty and a hyper-oppressive fascist regime.

    The instructions in the catechism would not cover a hundred and one situations faced by people in such worldly situations; rather, they must act on faith, evidently prayerfully, as they believe the Holy Spirit is guiding them.
    I believe that was what Cardinal Casper was indicating.

    As regards economic ‘dependency’, to disparage it as a social ill, rather than a misfortune, man-made, moreover, is to disparage Christ’s Beatitudes and Sermon on the Mount. Indeed, the early Church exercised a form of communism more absolute than any we have been familiar with in more recent times.

    • Interested

      The CCC is quite clear that adultery is evil.

      • Paul

        So was adultery classified as evil under the Law of Moses. What would you have said to Jesus, when he set aside the punishment of stoning clearly prescribed in the Law of Moses, when dealing with the situation of the woman caught in adultery, arraigned before a group of religious authorities?.

        When he told her to go and sin no more, he didn’t even exact from her an expression of repentance or a firm undertaking of amendment. What would you have said to him about that?!

        The fact is that Jesus knew all too well the scandal given to the ordinary folk by the hypocritical, Pelagian behaviour of the authorities.

        I believe it was made clear by the Cardinal that there could be no blanket amnesty; they would be dealt with on a case-by-case basis, if it went forward. Abandonment of a wife, in particular, for selfish reasons is surely a hideous sin.

        Most of you, also, all seem to have overlooked the Cardinal’s remark that Francis considered that, at least, 50% of marriages today are not even valid, due to a superficial motivation for a religious ceremony and consequent ignorance of the seriousness of the requirement of a one-to-one commitment.

        But then some of you suddenly find the Pope the devil incarnate, having been more than happy with the effective complacency of earier popes, as the very vicars of Christ, concerning the fascist regimes such as Pinochet’s. A learned treatise/encyclical here and there, but nothing like their pugnacious attitude to Communism.

        Yet I don’t recall reading that Stalin, monster though he was, was ever so sadistically sick as to have his goons train dogs to rape women prisoners, or have prisoners generally tortured a few feet away from their family.

        Looking at the video-clips and related posts concerning the Fatima prophecies on YouTube, as ever what do we find? The right-wingers vilifying Francis, some even Benedict, too. They see the pope who was killed as John Paul II, the scourge of Communism, though it was John Paul I who was actually killed, and the sensible inference is that the debasing of the Church in the last days was by the likes of his evident murderers, the P2 Freemasons’ lodge and associated mafia, who had been using the Vatican Bank for money laundering and all sorts of other villainy. Although that would have only been the last act in a long sorry saga of the institutional Church’s effective collusion with the far-right capitalism. Is there any other kind?

        • Interested

          So, you have an agenda that is not consistent with Catholic teaching. Jesus never condoned sin. Never. That the civil punishment was changed is not evidence the moral law is changed. Your argument is not with “conservatives” but with Jesus through His Church.

          Adultery is an objective mortal sin. Full stop.

          If no decree of nullity is found how does one claim they have a right to orgasm simply because they want one? That is arrogance of monumental proportions.

        • Stu

          “When he told her to go and sin no more, he didn’t even exact from her an expression of repentance or a firm undertaking of amendment.”
          ——–
          Being God, he didn’t have to do that. He knew whether she was repentant or not and clearly she was.

          Priests, while acting in the person of Christ while administering the Sacraments, don’t normally have the ability to read minds (Padre Pio being a noteworthy exception) so the normal requirement for absolution is a commitment to never sin again.

          I’m not sure how a person in an adulterous relationship (Christ’s characterization, not mine) can make such a commitment all while intended to stay in the adulterous relationship. How would this happen?

  • elarga

    English is not the cardinal’s first language; all the “bad” stuff came out in interviews in English and the book was probably translated by a professional translator.

    • Interested

      Please. There is an article right now from a news service that interviewed him. He says he told the Pope his recommendations were controversial and the Pope said to him that is good.

    • ForChristAlone

      He needs to return immediately to Germany and begin the evangelization effort to bring the German people to Jesus Christ.

  • Pingback: Samuel Gregg on two manifestations of Walter Card. Kasper | Fr. Z's Blog

  • Pingback: Samuel Gregg reads Cardinal Kasper’s book on mercy | Foolishness to the world

  • TerryC

    It’s always dangerous to try to climb inside the mind of another, but I’m going to pull the string anyway.
    The statement has been made that the Holy Father believes that 50% of all marriages are invalid. Now whether Pope Francis truly believes this or not I believe that Kasper believes this. So it doesn’t come down to him not believing in the insolubility of a sacramental marriage, but of him believing that 50% of the people the Church is barring from Eucharist are being prohibited from receiving in error, since they are not in sin.
    Note : I am not saying I believe this to be true. However it is not that far a jump to go from that belief of marriage invalidity to the question: Is it acting mercifully to prevent half of the people who could receive Communion from receiving the grace attendant to that sacrament to prevent the 50% who are in sin from further compounding their sinfulness by receiving Eucharist while actively engaged in the sin of Adultery?

    Note I am not making that claim myself. I am merely saying that someone who is more interested in mercy than justice might see the potential salvation of the innocent 50% more important than the additional debt occurred by the guilty.
    Of course I’d say if 50% of the marriages are really invalid lets pour more resources into tribunals to determine if that’s true, and get those in that situation regularized. And more resources into pre-Cana to ensure more couples are properly disposed to the sacrament before they marry.
    Still that would mean Kasper doesn’t disbelieve the Church’s stance on marriage, he is merely incorrect about the number of invalid marriages.

    • Art Deco

      Still that would mean Kasper doesn’t disbelieve the Church’s stance on
      marriage, he is merely incorrect about the number of invalid marriages.

      Yeah, that’s it.

    • ForChristAlone

      I for one advocate that if a marriage “fails”, then do not try to re-marry. Then the problem of receiving the Eucharist is solved. We live in a society where everyone has come to believe that you cannot live without sex. Haven’t we?

      • Interested

        Of course, the post modern mind cannot accept such wisdom. It is counter to the dictatorship of relativism that makes sexual license a god.

        • Tina McCormick

          You can live without sex, but you cannot live without love. When man and a woman love each other deeply, in a self-giving way, it is very natural, and part of God’s plan, that they desire each other physically. Sex is an integral part of a loving relationship between a man and a woman. I find it odd that many people seem unable to make a distinction between love and sexual license. When we speak of “adultery” in this context, I don’t think we are talking about sexual lust.

          • Art Deco

            You can live without sex, but you cannot live without love.

            I’m recalling the Ingrid Bergman character in the movie Cactus Flower:

            “Zat sounds like somesing which came out of a fortune cookie”.

      • Tina McCormick

        You can live without sex, but you cannot live without love. When man and a woman love each other deeply, in a self-giving way, it is very natural, and part of God’s plan, that they desire each other physically. Sex is an integral part of a loving relationship between a man and a woman. I find it odd that many people seem unable to make a distinction between love and sexual license. When we speak of “adultery” in this context, I don’t think we are talking about sexual lust or flings.

        • Interested

          We are talking about sex with a person one is not married to.

          • ForChristAlone

            She has an inadequate idea about what marriage is. If it is a union between two people it cannot be broken. It is therefore impossible to enter into a union with another person. The problem is that the Church issues annulments based on flimsy reasons. It’s totally out of control – cottage industry that employs nuns who are looking for power and control and jobs to pay for their cars and apartments.

  • Strife

    So the messenger destroyed his own message? And this guy is a Cardinal?

    Yeah. There’s a systemic problem here.

  • wva88

    Interesting. If every Catholic is called to “heroic virtue” then it necessarily follows that every person must “go, sell whatsoever thou hast, and give to the poor, (Mar 10:21 DRA). Thus it is sinful for a member of the laity to have any possession.

    • Interested

      Actually, the Church has said all are not required to do that. Try again.

      • hombre111

        ???? Christ was very strong on possessions. Did you ever read his parable about the camel and the eye of the needle? Some say he was talking about a real needle. Others say he was talking about an actual narrow gate. To pass through, a camel could not carry its load. We instinctively ignore this parable, refusing to be challenged as we accumulate our stuff. It is human nature. We are generous to ourselves and stingy to unfortunate others.

        • Interested

          You claim to be a priest? The Church does not bind all to a vow of poverty.

          • hombre111

            Who said a vow of poverty? We are simply called, as Catholics, to follow the simplicity of Christ. Conservatives, who grant no mercy to people who have divorced and remarried, often give themselves a pass on this basic Christian reality.

            • Interested

              You are deflecting. No one here is glossing over sin except for the libs.

            • Art Deco

              Conservatives, who grant no mercy to people who have divorced and remarried,

              You got a complaint, it’s with Christ.

              • hombre111

                It’s with people who choose to pile huge burdens on other people, in the name of Christ.

                • TheAbaum

                  Project much?

            • TheAbaum

              You should grant mercy to people who work hard and make a few bucks.

              • hombre111

                I have a parish full of such people. The people who work the hardest make little more than minimum wage. I feel only contempt for those who inherit great wealth and then use it only to get richer. The Finance “Industry” is a machine fabricated by the rich, for the rich, taking but not giving to the real economy where the real people are.

                • TheAbaum

                  Give us another lecture on mercy, you fraud.

                  I feel contempt for petty partisans who parade about arrogating a certain credibility from their collar. Of course I don’t render mass judgments on people I’ve never met.

                  Don’t talk about the real economy until you participate in it.

                • Art Deco

                  Mean annual working hours tend to be longer for white collar employees than for blue collar employees.

                  • TheAbaum

                    And less distinguishable. I have gotten calls from my boss at 9PM and spend many hours outside those “at work” engaged in continuing education, in addition to staying past the official time on a regular basis.

        • Hombre111

          Be still, be irenic.

  • Tina McCormick

    I admire Cardinal Kasper’s courage to apply the vital Catholic principle of mercy to the real life of many, if not most, Catholics today. Instead of speaking in abstractions, he brings Christ’s message to those who live in pain and confusion. The Church cannot continue to ignore the fact that most Catholics fail to be “heroic” at all times. In many cases, people’s failure to live up to the great ideals of our faith is due to weakness and not, as some suggest, simple negligence or indifference. Much pain comes from such situations and it is the Church’s as well as lay Catholics’ responsibility to assist in the healing process. At least Cardinal Kasper is offering solutions to the real and widespread problem of failed marriages. Most of the comments to this article strike me as mean-spirited and rigid. Meanwhile, the churches are becoming empty and we fail in our mission of love and healing. Eventually, Christ will be with those we exclude in harsh and pious judgment while only a few pews will remain filled with those reveling in their own superior piety.

    • ForChristAlone

      More 60’s cheap sentimentality – the “I feel your pain” nonsense.

      • Tina McCormick

        And where is Christ “front and center” in this dismissal of someone’s pain?

        • Interested

          What is the cause of the pain?

        • hombre111

          Go, Tina! Do not listen to the Pharisees.

          • Interested

            The Pharisees are those who claim to follow God but reject His word. They want the easy place while rebelling against His call to true freedom.

            • hombre111

              They were the spiritual heroes of that day who sometimes followed a very difficult place. In many ways, Jesus was very close to the Pharisees. But they tried to turn the guiding hand of the Holy Spirit into some kind of domesticated law, with no room for the kind of challenge Jesus offered.

              • Interested

                As I said the modern Pharisees and the rebellious liberals. They claim to be faithful while rejecting moral truth.

              • TheAbaum

                “In many ways, Jesus was very close to the Pharisees. ”

                My head hurts.

                • hombre111

                  You just don’t know much about the Pharisees. Read a book about the Gospels.

                  • TheAbaum

                    I read the actual Gospels. Try it.

          • Stu

            Not what Christ taught.

            “Then Jesus spoke to the crowds and to his disciples, saying, “The scribes and the Pharisees have taken their seat on the chair of Moses. Therefore, do and observe all things whatsoever they tell you, but do not follow their example. For they preach but they do not practice.”

            • hombre111

              And those who want to leave divorced and remarried people without Communion preach, but do not practice, a genuine compassion.

              • Stu

                They can receive the Eucharist just like the rest of us. Go to confession with a commitment to sin no more.

                Do you realize that receiving the Eucharist when we are in a state of Mortal Sin blunts any Grace we could have received? How is that compassion? It makes people feel good, but it’s not real.

                Know the truth and the truth will set you free.

                • hombre111

                  See my reply to interested, below.

              • TheAbaum

                And those who want to leave divorced and remarried people in a state of sin preach, but do not practice, a genuine compassion.

                • hombre111

                  A state of sin means a state of continued rebellion against God. Sincere divorced and remarried people who long to be fully united to the Church are anything but this. Maybe our unforgiveness is the true state of sin, because it fails to recognize the work of the Spirit in a repentant heart.

                  • TheAbaum

                    A state of sin means a state of continued rebellion against God.

                    Do tell…

                  • ForChristAlone

                    You purport to know every man’s heart, do you?

              • ForChristAlone

                False teaching

          • Slainte

            I am not a Pharisee, Hombre; and these posters are providing sound advice to Ms. McCormick regarding our heavenly Father’s and Jesus’ teachings. We are called to carry the cross in the case of divorce notwithstanding that one spouse may have been wrongly abandoned. That spouse should as soon as practical commence an annulment proceeding to have the Church determine whether the first marriage was valid.
            .
            Remarriage and engaging in the marital act within an illicit second union places the souls of both persons in jeopardy. You do not help Ms. McCormick by suggesting otherwise.

            • hombre111

              Good to hear from you, Slainte. Ms. McCormick isn’t saying that. I suspect she would accept the Church’s annulment process. What she rejects, as I do, is the spirit of some of the people on this thread who reject the annulment process and want to condemn a divorced person to a life of celibacy, or to force them to wait for remarriage until after their spouse dies.
              I have never said this publicly, but in the midst of these Pharisees, I will confess that, even though I have always sent people to the Tribunal for an annulment, I believe the whole thing is based on bad sacramental theology, which flows from the essence philosophy. We force people into a long drawn process, and many turn away, because the non-Catholic party in this equation feels sorely put upon. And so, I am compelled to use every bit of persuasion and diplomacy at my command. Many priests don’t know how to do this, and simply say, we are in charge of marriage. Take it or leave it. I regret our inability to simply solve the situation pastorally, as the Eastern Church did before its split from Rome, and continues to do.

              • ForChristAlone

                Have you been condemned to a life of celibacy? Is that how you view what is intended to be a freely offered gift of yourself to Christ and his Church?

            • ForChristAlone

              Slainte, I has heartened to hear of your testimony above. I sat with a woman friend and member of our parish not long ago whose husband walked out on her and their 6 children and took up with another woman. My friend was consumed with grief. She did mention that she was planning to apply for an annulment after the divorce. She asked what I thought. I encouraged her not to. She asked why. Besides the reality of the sacrament, I asked her if she believed in conversion of heart, repentance and forgiveness. She said yes and I reminded her that such is possible through God’s grace for her husband. Would she want to foreclose that possibility? She saw the truth in what I was telling her and said that she would think seriously about it. I told the same thing to a man, also in our parish, whose wife did the same to him as the husband above. I encouraged him to put his wedding ring back on. The last time I saw him some six months after, he told me that he replaced his wedding ring and thanked me. He said that he and his wife were continuing to work on their marriage -even though a civil divorce had intervened. This gives the cross of Christ some real meaning.

          • ForChristAlone

            “Go, Tina”! Do you hear yourself? This is infantile.

        • ForChristAlone

          You pander to man’s weakness and sin rather than calling him to live in God’s grace.

    • Interested

      You invert the Gospel to defend sin.

      • hombre111

        So speaks the left brain, unable to see beyond its narrow focus. This is not the Gospel. This is cruelty.

        • Interested

          The Gospel never leads one to sin or excuses to sin more. Get over the teenage rebellion. Time to grow up and abandon yourself to Christ through His Church not to rebellion.

          • hombre111

            I invite nobody to sin, and do not offer an excuse to sin more. But I want to treat the sinner with compassion and allow him to feel hope and respect.

            • Interested

              Great then repent, confess, and live as brother and sister. No problem.

            • ForChristAlone

              You sound like you think you’re god.

            • ForChristAlone

              You really think you have the power to “allow him to feel hope and respect”? Who do you think you are?

        • ForChristAlone

          No, Interested is an orthodox Catholic; you are not.

    • Stu

      “At least Cardinal Kasper is offering solutions to the real and widespread problem of failed marriages. ”

      ——-

      It seems as thought his “solution” is to simply deny that marriage even exists.

      You bring up Christ who very clearly said, “Everyone who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery, and the one who marries a woman divorced from her husband commits adultery.”

      How do you reconcile that with what Cardinal Kaspar is suggesting?

      • hombre111

        The instinctive dismissal of the left-brain, which, like a telescope, sees very clearly only a small part of a much larger story, and leaves the rest behind. The small picture is legalism and the unproven supposition that some unbreakable ontological reality automatically comes into existence when two people, no matter how flimsy their faith, marry freely and then have intercourse. And so we have this parody of a sacrament.
        Despite the article above, I have posted on these threads solid documentation that the early Church Fathers, especially in the east, treated divorce with pastoral compassion, instead of immovable legalism. In practice, they interpreted Jesus’ words to mean that a marriage should not end, not that it could not end. And so they dealt with divorce through the sacrament of Penance and had a kind of three strike policy.

        • Interested

          You have posted left wing dissent which had been rejected by the magisterium.

        • Stu

          BS.

          • hombre111

            The left brain checks in.

            • Stu

              You should start bringing your whole brain.

              • hombre111

                I do. I try to be logical and know the facts. (left brain) I also consider the larger picture and how the discussion has to do with real people in their real struggles in their real lives. I also use my imagination and listen to my intuitions. (right brain)

                • ForChristAlone

                  You’d have been better suited to have been a social worker.

              • TheAbaum

                Or any brain.

        • Tina McCormick

          I like the words “pastoral compassion, instead of immovable legalism”!

          • Slainte

            You want the Church to affirm error and sin for reasons best known to yourself.

            • Tina McCormick

              Are you seriously accusing me of “sin”??? Who is throwing stones here? Did I accuse you or anyone else of sin in this discussion? If you are not up to intellectual debate, you should perhaps stay out of it.

              • Slainte

                I stated that you wish the Church to affirm error and sin.
                .
                Why you wish the Church to do so is best known to yourself.

                • Tina McCormick

                  Cheap shot, however you mean it. Beware of self – righteous piety and try to understand other people’s situations. Many people whom we condemn as “sinners” are actually closer to God than we might ever know.

                  • Slainte

                    I have not condemned you or engaged in any “cheap shot”.
                    .
                    I take issue with what I perceive is an effort on your part to use mercy to justify an intentional transgression of God’s holy law. Marriage is an indissoluble covenant by and among Our Lord Jesus Christ, one man and one woman, and should not be treated as an inconsequential issue. Marriage is rarely easy and always requires a dying to self in favor of Christ, one’s spouse, and one ‘s children.
                    .
                    Because of the gravity of this Holy sacramental union, one must seek the Church’s guidance regarding any issue concerning its validity before engaging in another union or having sexual relations with anyone other than one’s spouse.
                    .
                    There is a reason why there is a crucifix hanging over Christ’s altar of sacrifice; it is a constant reminder to every Catholic that we also will sacrifice in this world. It is only through the cross that we encounter the resurrected Jesus.
                    .
                    To follow Christ and the Church is to embrace humility and to reject pride.

                    • Tina McCormick

                      Ok, I accept that justification. However, despite your piety and intellectual appreciation of the meaning of the cross, sacrifice, humility, etc. you really seem little interested in other people’s cross or level of sacrifice and humility. You have no idea of my crosses or the level of my sacrifice, yet you choose to lecture me on them and seem to imply that someone might have a hidden agenda to “affirm sin” when voicing doubt and pointing to human frailty. And in no way did I justify “intentional transgressions, ” but, rather, real human weakness and despair in the face of terrible challenges. These painful issues must be discussed with practical solutions in mind. If we ONLY see the cross, we miss the Resurrection.

                    • hombre111

                      Tina, Slainte means well and I appreciate her efforts, even though her approach to life is much more severe than the life most people can lead. She has tried very hard to be the mother of a large family, and so she carries a large burden.Maybe the struggle other people face and its consequences for their lives is something she needs to consider more deeply, as she tries to faithfully follow Christ. My great spiritual turnaround came during Confession, when a man in the agony of questions about birth control broke down in tears. This was no sinner seeking the easy way out, but a man on the economic and emotional breaking point.
                      I wish the two of you could sit down and have tea together.

                    • slainte

                      Hombre, you have unwittingly mischaracterized my status. I am divorced; was the innocent spouse; and was not the plaintiff in the divorce proceeding.
                      .
                      It is curious that Ms. McCormick seeks to opine upon that which she acknowledges having no personal experience, except as a child of divorced parents. And in the name of mercy and compassion concludes that I (and others) am guilty of not understanding those who walk the path that I have walked. I am not remarried.
                      .
                      I would suggest, Hombre, that Ms. McCormick and I are very much separated by a common Catholic faith which we apprehend quite differently.
                      .
                      I am, however, grateful that she acknowledges my ability to respond to her queries with some level of intellectual rigor; sometimes my juris doctorate helps me in this regard.

                    • hombre111

                      Whoops! Sorry. I confused you with another woman who comments frequently on the Crisis site, who speaks from the experience of a large family. But I have always appreciated your comments, and will keep your impressive biography in mind.

                      Both of you have a unique perspective. Tina knows what divorce can do to a family, and you live with the pain of your own divorce. I think you are correct about your different understanding of the Catholic faith. Your backgrounds are also different: a doctorate in law and a doctorate in history. Thanks to a discussion in Crisis, I spent some time looking at the origin and intent of American law and still concluded that it leaves much of life outside a focus that is a lot narrower than my experience in the Humanities and Church History, along with my experience in South America, as a campus minister, and as a pastor, and Tina’s doctorate in History.

                      I would still suggest that you go on CNA to see the real Tina and the way she handles issues. She approached this Crisis discussion in the way people discuss things on The New York Times, or Commonweal, and got a rude awakening. I hope that you both will continue to talk to each other.

                    • slainte

                      Hombre, I have met the real Tina here on this forum. She speaks of things she does not understand and labels those who disagree with her viewpoints as “condemning” her personally. For those whom she qualifies as lacking intellectual gravitas, she summarily disposes with a mandate to cease posting.
                      .
                      Her view of mercy in place of God’s law, as opposed to a guiding principle in the application of that law, is inconsistent with the totality of Catholic tradition and any credible biblical exigesis. Her positions do not resonate with me.
                      .
                      I trust that her exchanges were made in good faith and not merely to provoke those who accept and practice traditional Catholicism, but who disagree with several of Cardinal Kasper’s theological positions on various social issues.

                    • hombre111

                      Thanks for the reply, Slainte, but please say that to her, not to me. I hope you will name some of the things she does not understand. She did not ask you to quit posting, but said she was going to cease posting. Glad she didn’t. And God himself put mercy in front of the Law. Her positions resonate with me. I am trying to provoke those who accept and practice what they call traditional Catholicism, but only when they call it “orthodox.” One little corner of a worldwide Church with a vast and interesting Tradition does not qualify as “orthodoxy” to me.

                    • ForChristAlone

                      Slainte, one thing that comes across clearly in your post is that you are a person of high moral character and dignity. I would be humbled to have you as a spiritual director anytime.

                    • slainte

                      Thanks for your kind words.

                    • Tina McCormick

                      Sitting down for tea together sounds good to me!

                    • ForChristAlone

                      You’re affirming sin because you’re affirming sin. It’s tautological.

      • Tina McCormick

        Every divorce is a spiritual failure and personal tragedy. It is also a widespread social evil. However, I believe that there are cases, in which the marital bond can, indeed, not be upheld and that there should still be hope for love and reconciliation in this world with another partner. Indeed, even the Church grants annulments, which are the same, if not worse, than divorce. Read Christ’s words carefully. In this particular case, it sounds like the woman has been discarded/abandoned. Not she, but the man is primarily the adulterer. This case doesn’t sound like two people had agreed that their marriage is in shambles, beyond hope, and the cause of great misery. This is about one spouse being abandoned by the other and Christ’s words are a powerful reminder of keeping a commitment – in this case to the woman who had been divorced by her husband, whose fate in Judaic society would have been disastrous.

        • Stu

          I think you selectively read His words with your preconceived notions. Because He also said, “‘For this reason a man shall leave his father and mother and be joined to his wife, and the two shall become one flesh’? So they are no longer two, but one flesh. Therefore, what God has joined together, no human being must separate.”

          So even if the man and woman agree that “their marriage is in shambles” and have given up hope, they still can’t dissolve what God has joined together.

          Unless, out of the hardness of our hearts, you want us to regress back to what Moses allowed?

          • Tina McCormick

            Your quote on marriage as two people being “one flesh” is, of course, essential to our Church’s view of marriage. However, I am a Catholic and not an evangelical literalist. I trust that our Church will come up with the right interpretation, which should always be consistent with all of the other tenets of our faith. I might dabble in exegesis, but will trust that the Holy Spirit will guide the Magisterium to come up with the final answers. When a cardinal brings up a new perspective in addressing urgent real life issues, then I must believe that this might signal an important new discourse within the Church. I hardly have the right to call any cardinal a “heretic.”
            Getting back to the practical point of marriages, I sometimes wonder whether it could be God’s intention to keep people in loveless marriages, if he himself is love. And then to prohibit people from loving each other just because they had been married to someone else before? If God is, indeed, love, then we are closer to Him every time we love and are willing to give ourselves to someone else. But, then again, I will gladly defer to the Church before I draw my own conclusions.

            • Art Deco

              then I must believe that this might signal an important new discourse within the Church.

              That’ll let me off the hook….

            • Stu

              “I trust that our Church will come up with the right interpretation, which should always be consistent with all of the other tenets of our faith.”
              —————–
              It has. Christ gave us the teaching and the Church has affirmed it for 2,000 years. We don’t need to regress back to the weaker understanding of those in the Old Testament.

              “And then to prohibit people from loving each other just because they had been married to someone else before?”
              ——————
              You can and should love everyone and being married doesn’t preclude that. What you seemingly referring to is that ability to have sexual intercourse outside of your marriage. That is and will always be adultery. And even Cardinal Kasper admits such which is why he says the Church would “tolerate” it vice “accept” it. is that really showing love to our fellow man who is in a tough position? Sounds like condescension to me as it creates a very open group of second-class Catholics who get pass on sin because they just can’t live up to what Christ calls us all to do and PROVIDES the Graces for us to do.

              BTW, what other sins will the Church now tolerate under this new paradigm of his? Can it please be one that challenges me?

              • Tina McCormick

                But the Church HAS changed its views on different things, including the status of women. She has consistently brought Christ’s message to bear on real life complexity – not to follow fashion or changing cultural preference. With regard to marriage, She would do well to rethink it’s views on annulment and divorce. Most Catholics who separate from their spouse and don’t choose the annulment process are often being more honest about past decisions. And the whole premise of annulment is terrible for the children, too. Broken marriage are a a reality and keeping a marriage together today is so much harder than it used to be. And I believe that there should always be a chance for a new start. I also find your use of the term the “adultery” too generalizing. If we can see the mutually agreed upon “separation” as creating a new state, then a new intimate relationship would be more like an extra-marital relationship. By the way, I am married, but was the victim of my own parents’ divorce, which had disastrous consequences for everyone.

                • Art Deco

                  But the Church HAS changed its views on different things, including the status of women.

                  And that ‘change’ would be what, sister?

                  • Tina McCormick

                    It might be time to leave the cardinals behind and venture into papal territory. It’s a far cry from Pius X’s Motu Proprio, forbidding women to sing in the church choir, to John Paul II’s Letter to Women. Vatican II clearly understood that women needed to play a more visible part in the Church. Who would have even conceived of female Eucharistic ministers before? Of course, through Mary, the Church has always venerated a “woman.” Pius X was especially vocal about Mary’s centrality to our faith. However, most women are not virgins and neither can they hope to carry the Son of God. It is these very normal, “worldly,” women that our Church has given more attention to during the last century. Homilies on women as carriers of the “good news” were probably not common before Vatican II.

                    • Slainte

                      The Church has always affirmed the important and irreplaceable role of woman; it is society and culture that has degraded her and given license to men to do the same through divorce, contraception, and abortion.
                      .
                      To suggest that a woman is made more whole by undertaking male roles within the Church is mistaken. We are made male and female; complementary and fulfilling of each other.
                      .
                      Liberalism’s Egalite which rejects the natural differences of man and woman has no place within Christ’s Church.

                    • hombre111

                      Tina writes a column for CNA. Go take a look at her thoughtful column on “Pope John Paul, A Saint for Women.”

                    • TheAbaum

                      Your recommendation is enough to direct anybody’s precious, limited time elsewhere.

                    • Art Deco

                      Thanks for letting the cat out of the bag about what this mess with the eucharistic ministers was all about. Since they are perfectly unnecessary, atraditional, promote disrespect for the host, and are supposedly debarred in ordinary circumstances per the Congregation for Divine Worship, I’ve long wondered why they persist. I’ve figured it out: vulgar histrionics.

                    • hombre111

                      Tina, I just read Art Deco’s disrespectful reply. The hierarchy can repeat, and repeat, and repeat how much they respect the “true” role of women, but as Art Deco shows, their dignity is always in danger. I read some of the voices on this thread and thank God they did not receive a call to the priesthood.

                    • Tina McCormick

                      Thank you! I’m getting a little tired of this party and will retire. Perhaps you would be interested in reading some of my columns. I invite you to do so on CNA before I am burned on the stake. It’s also starting to feel odd that I’m the only one here with a fully disclosed name….May God have mercy!

                    • hombre111

                      Tina, I just started to read your posts. What a wonderful voice of reason, which is not exactly what goes on with some of these threads. I am a hardnosed old goat fifty years ordained, so I have nothing to lose. I insist on being the voice of reason here, and in the name of prudence, chose not to use my own name, and never reveal the red state I call home. Good luck to you. I will be following your columns.

                    • ForChristAlone

                      And the reason why you do not reveal your name is that you’re not likely to remain in a ministry representing the Church if you do.

                    • TheAbaum

                      Because in three minutes, I would be pennig a letter to his “Bishop”.

                    • TheAbaum

                      “I insist on being the voice of reason here”

                      Best laugh I’ve had in weeks.

                    • hombre111

                      Just read your excellent column on Pope John Paul a Saint for Women. Wonderfully kind and thoughtful. I will follow you faithfully. Right away, I saw your problem: A doctorate in history. In other words, the larger view. Not a good fit with some of the people on this thread in Crisis.

                    • ForChristAlone

                      “I will follow you faithfully.” See what I mean?

                    • ForChristAlone

                      You and Hombre make a nice couple. Enjoy your lives together.

                    • Tina McCormick

                      Easy to say such things when you hide behind a fake name!

                    • TheAbaum

                      “Thank you! I’m getting a little tired of this party and will retire.”

                      You can always tell the hit and run types.

                    • Tina McCormick

                      What church do you even belong to?

                    • TheAbaum

                      The one that requires CAPITALIZATION, but I could ask you the same question.

                    • Tina McCormick

                      Except that I have tried to not be mean and insulting in my posts.

                    • Art Deco

                      Thanks, but clarity should be an object of communication. (Of course, clarity may be too revealing for some).

                    • Tina McCormick

                      Sorry, but it is not clear to me what you are implying.

                    • TheAbaum

                      “Except that I have tried to not be mean and insulting in my posts.”

                      “What church do you even belong to?”

                      EPIC FAIL.

                    • Tina McCormick

                      This was after you saying that I was the “hit and run type.” You have also accused a priest, who has given his life to serve the Church and others of having a “disorderly thought process,” of having “no brain” and all kinds of other things. Most of your responses to people you disagree with are vicious and insulting. Sorry, but this behavior is not civil and certainly not Christian. I can’t really figure out what you are trying accomplish with these types of rants. But, of course, you are hiding behind anonymity, so you must get a great thrill out of insulting people. Who is the “hit and run type” here?

                    • Art Deco

                      You have also accused a priest, who has given his life to serve the
                      Church and others of having a “disorderly thought process,” of having
                      “no brain” and all kinds of other things.

                      No one knows who you are here. Maybe he’s a priest. My guess would be retired middle-school social studies teacher, a toned-down version of one of the characters in The Corrections. He’s a persistent purveyor of garage sale leftism and therapy-culture. His thought process does have a certain ‘order’ to it, just not the order you want.

                    • TheAbaum

                      You are a hit and run poster. You have, like some many that come upon us, emerge ex nihilo when the topic is homosexuality, will post furiously here and disappear, because the topic will change because it will move on from your particular obsession..

                      As for the poster who claims to be a priest (we have no evidence) I find it odd that you don’t object to his use of a pseudonym at all, as you do with Art Deco. Inconsistency is a sign of disorderly thought and the mutual admiration society borders on a serenade.

                      Any reasonable person can see Hombre is a disorderly thinker, he claims to be a priest, but dispenses with the Church’s positions when he sees fit. He posts on matters (business, economics) he has no competence, issuing fatwas against the “rich” and others, based on personal caricatures and simmering resentment. What he’s written about St. John Paul is twisted and pathetic.

                      There is no Christian requirement to suffer fools or error gladly. That you want to upend two millenia of understanding on marriage is your concern, but I feel compelled to dispute it. I’m sorry if you thought other people were going to rollover and play dead.

                      You have a great deal of audacity to write “what church do you even belong to” and then complain about civility, with the patently immature defense “he started”. Of course it’s the same audacity that deludes you into thinking that you have a right to redefine marriage or question somebody else’s Christianity (as you promote heterodoxical views).

                    • Art Deco

                      No dignified individual is in danger from being told not to manhandle the host and to please sit down and take their appropriate place at the appropriate time.

                    • hombre111

                      Art, unless we go into the field of book-keeping and economics, you rarely make a logical, consistent statement. Usually, you will pick some piece of a post, tear it to pieces, and ignore the larger point of the discussion. In some of your longer arguments with someone, I cannot tell if you can really repeat what that person is trying to say. Respectful listening is the key to communication, not argument. And, almost inevitably, there is the gratuitous insult.

                    • Art Deco

                      Art, unless we go into the field of accounting and economics, you rarely make a logical, consistent statement

                      Those are not properties you are in a position to recognize.

                    • hombre111

                      As usual, you touch only part of my comment. I never argue with you when we are talking economics, even though I might not agree. I begin to argue when you adopt an attitude that justifies indifference to the struggles of the poor and powerless.

                    • TheAbaum

                      Nobody is capable of covering your disturbed grievances in a combox.

                    • Art Deco

                      Usually, you will pick some piece of a post, tear it to pieces, and ignore the larger point of the discussion.

                      For pity’s sake, do a quick and dirty review of “Tina McCormick”‘s posts. They are 98% gas, reducible to ‘you big meanies, creative sophists will give me what I want’. Often the purpose of verbiage has little to do with communication, and she is not a student of Strunk and White.

                      The one interesting nugget is the association in her mind between this issue and the ‘status of women’. Those of us with some cursory familiarity with social statistics on family life have an idea about what that means.

                      Again, given the actual social matrix in which we all live, caterwauling about the Church’s teachings on divorce is just warped. I’ve thumbed through what critics of liberalized divorce law had to say a century ago. I cannot say they were prescient; it’s worse than they imagined.

                    • hombre111

                      As Mark Twain said, there are damn lies and then there are statistics. To label somebody’s thoughtful comments as 98% gas reveals the left-brain gone into its shadow side, overcome by dark emotions it doesn’t have the wisdom to control.

                    • hombre111

                      ??? That is what I mean, Art. Again, you touch the incidental, the non-essential. I have never seen a Eucharistic minister “manhandle the host.” The ministers in my parish are well educated in the meaning of the Eucharist, well trained in the proper way to distribute Communion, reverent, and essential. This is the way it has been in any parish where I have served. We emphasize it as a ministry, a call to serve in Christ’s Church.

                    • Art Deco

                      I have never seen a Eucharistic minister “manhandle the host.”

                      You were studiously refusing to take note of it.

                    • ForChristAlone

                      Rarely if ever a need for EXTRAORDINARY minister of the Eucharist. But rules don’t apply to you. They never have.

                    • tamsin

                      I’m not following why you scare-quoted “woman”.

                      Mary is central, yet useless to “real women”? Just because I’m not a virgin and, as it turns out, none of my boys looks to be the Son of God?

                      Mary was a “women as carriers of ‘good news'”, literally speaking.

                      She was the first Christian, and all that.

                      I think the Church has been very helpful to women from the start. Sometimes men are a little backwards, but we have to give them time.

                      Liberalizing annulments is going to hurt women more than it helps them.

                    • Tina McCormick

                      I never meant that Mary is “useless” to women. That would be outrageous. What I have said is that when women go about their daily and often chaotic and challenging lives, then it can be hard to identify with Mary. We find comfort in praying to her as Our Mother, but we can find it hard to relate to her as a practical example. That is why it can be helpful to think of other, more regular, and humanly frail Saints. And when I write about the Church paying more attention to women as “bearers of good news,” then I am referring to more emphasis on regular women, like Mary Magdalen discovering the empty tomb.

                  • Michael Paterson-Seymour

                    Try Bl John Henry Newman’s example, “Another instance is supplied by the Papal decisions concerning Usury. Pope Clement V., in the Council of Vienne [the 15th ecumenical council], declares, “If any one shall have fallen into the error of pertinaciously presuming to affirm that usury is no sin, we determine that he is to be punished as a heretic.” However, in the year 1831 the Sacred Pœnitentiaria answered an inquiry on the subject, to the effect that the Holy See suspended its decision on the point, and that a confessor who allowed of usury was not to be disturbed, “non esse inquietandum.” Here again a double aspect seems to have been realized of the idea intended by the word usury.”

                    His other examples include absolute predestination and the interpretation of “Extra ecclesiam…”

                    There is no reversal here, but rather a more developed or nuanced understanding.

                • Stu

                  The Church may change disciplines and practices (though I dispute that it has ever had a position on the “status of women”) but not doctrine or dogma.

                  If a marriage is valid, it is final. There is no “divorce” within the Faith. Therefore, if you take up with another person outside of your marriage then you are committing adultery. I’m not making this up. This is not my opinion. These are the words of Christ.

                  You bring up the notion that keeping a marriage together in this era is harder. That is an opinion and unfounded. But let’s assume that it is true. You aren’t going to strengthen marriages and families by telling everyone it’s now okay to simply divorce. In fact, lowering the standards never achieves higher results.

                  And BTW, my parents divorced when I was six years old. There failure was aided in part by society’s embrace of the ease of no-fault divorce. Much easier to walk away instead of having the fortitude to fight for their marriage and for their children. Funny how we want to call the former, “courageous.”

                  If we truly love people and want to show them compassion, then what need to give them is the truth.

                  • Tina McCormick

                    But the Church is becoming more and more generous with granting annulments – so not much of a consistency there. I am the last person on earth to defend divorce as an easy way out! I think the worst thing that has happened to marriages is that people go into them with the wrong expectations. Marriage as a stable social institution cannot be based on love alone. In fact, I believe that people have the obligation to remain together when they have children – no matter what (or almost no matter what). However, if contrary to everyone’s greatest hopes and intentions a marriage fails utterly, then we have the obligation to have a case to case approach. I don’t think that the Church’s annulment policies are helping much. Annulments are, obviously, a solution to “adultery” and they are becoming more and more common. I have to say, however, that I find annulments more destructive to children than a regular divorce. Plus, I think that there is a lot of dishonesty in them.
                    In terms of Christ’s words, I believe that there is room for new exegesis. “No man” may separate what God has joined. Which man? Someone outside of the marriage? What if the spouses are in a physical and emotional sense no longer “one flesh”? What is the basis of God’s decision to make them “one flesh”? Did you know that marriage was not a sacrament until the Gregorian Reforms? But, as I have said before, I personally resist doing any exegesis and like leaving it up to the Church. However, if a new perspective is brought up by a cardinal, then I am very open to re-interpretation. It is very cowardly of people to start yelling “heretic” as soon as someone seems to disagree with what seems to be the agreed canon. The Holy Spirit works in different ways and there have been MANY changes and developments in our Church through history – and mostly for the betterment of humanity. What is wonderful about it is that the core of our faith has remained the same.

                    • Stu

                      They aren’t being more generous with annulments. Fact is, too many couples haven’t been prepared for marriage properly and don’t rightly understand it. Further, the process of getting an annulment is much better understood nowadays which means that dioceses are doing a much better job of forwarding cases that will be determined as invalid. But they aren’t a solution to “adultery” because the finding is that the marriage didn’t exist (Christ did caveat His statement on marriages being forever to apply only to lawful marriages).

                      Tina said..”Did you know that marriage was not a sacrament until the Gregorian Reforms?”
                      That’s not quite true and shows a rather simple understanding of things. Good place to start in better understanding it is here” http://www.newadvent.org/cathen/09707a.htm

                      Cardinal Malingo once brought up a “new perspective”. That was just as disjointed.

                    • Tina McCormick

                      The whole idea of “marriage not having existed” is a total brain twister and very dishonest – especially today when people are quite well informed and act voluntarily. I can think of many marriages which could have been declared “invalid” for some odd reason, but people have the honesty to take full responsibility for their past actions.

                    • Stu

                      It’s not dishonest. It’s reality. And by “didn’t exist” I mean in the eyes of the Church. No one doubts that they were together or even operating under good faith or that such unions require you take responsibility for your actions.. But there are condition that have to be met for it to be lawful and sacramental and people often do not understand this. I have talked with them.

                    • Tina McCormick

                      But there are many marriages that might not be lawful and sacramental in the eyes of the Church. Many Catholic marriages are entered into for the wrong reasons. In many of these cases, the separated spouses will either never speak an annulment or will “stick it out” in an unhappy marriage for the children’s sake. Annulment are much worse for children than a simple divorce. Annulment don’t really solve anything in my view. I am so relieved that the Church will be addressing the complexities of today’s families during the Synod this fall!

                    • Stu

                      Annulment are much worse for children than a simple divorce.

                      ———————-
                      No they aren’t. Because they allow the parents to really start again properly.

                      And indeed, the Church will address it. But they will not be endorsing divorce as a means of strengthening the family and marriages.

                      Cardinal Kasper has overplayed his hand…big time.

                • tamsin

                  And the whole premise of annulment is terrible for the children, too. I’d be interested to hear your thoughts on how annulment is terrible for children; but I do respect your decision not to continue to engage in any more back-and-forth in the Crisis combox for now. I read your two articles at CNA. Including the one on Monica (a favorite saint of mine). Perhaps that would be a good forum to explore your thoughts on how the effects of civil divorce differs from the effects of annulment on children etc.

                  • Tina McCormick

                    Annulments are especially terrible for children, because it makes them feel that they, too, were a mistake. Divorce is bad enough. But you are right, this is not the forum for this type of in depth discussion. And, anyway, it’s not up to us to draw conclusions from all of this but to the Church.

                • slainte

                  Tina writes, “….Most Catholics who separate from their spouse and don’t choose the annulment process are often being more honest about past decisions. And the whole premise of annulment is terrible for the children, too…”
                  .
                  Tina, are you separated or divorced from your husband?

                  • Tina McCormick

                    No, I am not and never will, if it’s up to me, because of my children. But my parents divorced and I carry the scars and endure the consequences to this day. And even my own children suffer because of it. I am really not defending a casual view of divorce here!
                    My mother was a saintly person, but never went back to the Church after her divorce, because of her guilt, until she was on her death bed. I wish there had been a way for her to be reconciled with the Church during all those terribly sad and lonely years before she passed away. And she had remarried, because in her generation and because of her lack of education, she needed the financial support and social standing. That was in Germany in the 80s! On top of it all, her second marriage was worse than the first, which was not her fault. She had basically grown up as an orphan in post-war Germany and her life was really a tragedy from beginning to end. I wish that she could have had a home and real guidance in the Church. But she left, because she felt unworthy. I am sure that Christ was hoping she would return through the whole ordeal. Finally, he came to her and the end of her life was a beautiful miracle, a transformation from bitterness to the peace and love that only Christ can give.

                    • slainte

                      And is your father still living?

                    • Tina McCormick

                      Yes, and in a civil marriage. …..

                    • Slainte

                      What was your surname when you acquired your doctorate from Harvard?

                    • Tina McCormick

                      Why would you ask that?

                    • Slainte

                      To verify your credentials. Veracity matters.

              • Interested

                Of all the shocking things that have come from certain prelates lately the idea of tolerating objective mortal sin as some type of mercy is beyond absurd. It is a type of primitive theology that we would expect from an unschooled teen.

                • Stu

                  Kind of flies in the face of Christ coming to free us from our sins. So indeed, it’s hard to see keeping people enslaved to their sin as a form of mercy.

            • Interested

              Love is a choice, not a feeling. The measure of love is sacrifice. Just because a cardinal spouts off does not mean his words are helpful or consistent with Catholic teaching.

              As a society we are in “love” with ourselves. Sacrifice is just a word to us. The cross is for other people or other sins, not the sexual issues because they are our real god.

              Your friend hombre reveals the secular mindset. The ideology of post modernism and relativism demands we are comfortable. We will seek any legalistic loophole, any appeal to a stagnant undeveloped theology from those is schism, and kooky theologian that has built his/her career on dissent, anything that can rationalize pursuing our unfulfilled desires.

              This is not simply about marriage. It is about our understanding of truth and authentic mercy.

            • tamsin

              whether it could be God’s intention to keep people in loveless marriages, if he himself is love? Maybe He is calling us to understand His love, which is different than our definition of love as used in your word “loveless”.

              to prohibit people from loving each other just because they had been married to someone else before? You are welcome to love anyone you wish at any time. The question is, how.

              we are closer to Him every time we love and are willing to give ourselves to someone else. The question is, how to love, which may be different than in the movies.

        • Slainte

          But Christ’s love is a sacrificial love, not a permissive one. Catholics are called to imitate Him. As He suffered, so shall we.
          .
          Those abandoned in divorce must unite their pain with Christ’s. He was the most innocent of all, yet he was treated unjustly by this world and put to death for the sin of another.

          • Tina McCormick

            Who is talking of “permissive”? Let’s focus on mercy, instead. And, surely, God does not WANT us to suffer and revel in pain. That was the whole point of the Incarnation – to forgive sins and BECAUSE OF HIS LOVE make us “go and sin no more.” The greatest pain always comes from turning away from God. God wants us to accept his love and forgiveness and recognize the Resurrection as the real basis of our faith – a call to joy and hardly a glorification of sacrifice!

            • Slainte

              We should focus on Christ’s teachings applied mercifully.
              .
              If one was validly married in the Church and there is no basis for an annulment, one is called to live the celibate life; and with the help of God ‘s and His grace can do so successfully.
              .
              If one has joined with another in a civil “marriage” despite being validly married already, one is called to refrain from that act which belongs only within a valid marriage. Parties to an invalid second union are called to celibacy.
              .
              The Church and all of its members must support those who are carrying this cross as it is a heavy one indeed.

        • tamsin

          there should still be hope for love and reconciliation in this world with another partner. and another, and another. There is no limiting principle, which is the problem, which uniquely hurts women.

          the woman who had been divorced by her husband, whose fate in Judaic society would have been disastrous. A priest told me the primary context for Moses’ decision to allow divorce was that women were in very real physical danger if there was no alternative for a man to get out of marriage except by the death of his wife.

          • slainte

            I agree with you.

    • Art Deco

      I admire Cardinal Kasper’s courage

      That word does not mean what you fancy it means.

    • hombre111

      Amen, Tina. The author represents the Acton Institute, whose economic theories are almost a synonym for a lack of mercy. Crisis seems to be an arm of the Acton Institute. Kasper’s comment that the early Fathers treated divorce with pastoral compassion instead of canonical rigidity is well documented. They said that, following the teaching of Jesus, marriage should not be dissolved. They did not say that a marriage cannot be dissolved. Long before its separation from Rome, the Eastern Church had developed a three strikes policy, dealing with failed marriages through the sacrament of Penance. Do not let the left-brain thinkers of Crisis (narrow mindedness and dismissal of evidence to the contrary is a trait of the left brain) shut out the right-brain, which sees the larger picture.

      • Interested

        Relativists hate the truth. Nothing new here. Same old propaganda.

        • hombre111

          A living tree bends under the hurricane. The dead, immoveable telephone pole breaks and crashes.

          • Interested

            Rebellion is not life but sure death.

            • hombre111

              When a tree stops bending and no longer grows, it is already dead.

              • Interested

                Bending to the Truth is good. Bending to the devil is evil.

              • ForChristAlone

                this is the ‘hardness of heart” Jesus spoke about. Hombre has made up his own mind and never bends to the Truth. So sad.

      • Art Deco

        which is based on theories of the Austrian School, whose economic theories are almost a synonym for a lack of mercy.

        Um, no. “The Austrian School” in contemporary parlance are an eccentric subset of macroeconomists associated with the von Mises Institute, not the Acton Institute. They actually reject the pedagogic devices of theoretical economics, are skeptical of statistical studies (or find them invalid), and have as their signature policy recommendation an updated version of the gold standard called a ‘currency board’. There are very few academic Austrians and the characteristics of their work are such that they are not all that suitable to work as corporation economists, either.

        The Acton Institute is not in the business of pushing particular approaches to macroeconomics.

        The notion that an economic theory, which offers a stylized description of productive and consumptive behavior, is a ‘synonym for lack of mercy’ is a comment of someone who doesn’t know economics from tiddlywinks.

        • hombre111

          My research told me differently.

          • Art Deco

            You did not do any research or understand it if you did. Read hyperlibertarian Bryan Caplan on the subject of Austrian economics and why he’s not a subscriber:

            http://econfaculty.gmu.edu/bcaplan/whyaust.htm

          • TheAbaum

            You aren’t competent to do “research”.

      • Hombre111

        It is time to be restful and restrained.

    • hombre111

      After writing the comment below, I turned to the Breviary for the Office of Readings. There, Cyril of Alexandria writes: “This is why we should all be of one mind and if one member suffers some misfortune, all should suffer with him.”

      And then, in Psalm 107:
      “Some were sick on account of their sins
      and afflicted on account of their guilt
      They had a loathing for every food;
      they came close to the gates of death.
      Then they cried out to the Lord in their need
      and he rescued them from their distress,
      He sent forth his word to heal them
      and saved them from the grave.

      It is unimaginable that the Lord of Mercy would deny Holy Communion to those who are grieving for the greatest failing of their life. The Church is supposed to be a mother who nourishes her children…and yet she gives her breast only to those who are without blame?

      • Stu

        The individual, even in their pain, are the one who are denying the mercy.

        Think prodigal son.

        • hombre111

          If the person is in a loving, subsequent marriage, there is no going back. Or if the other spouse is married, there is no going back. The Church has to deal with the person who is there, not with what could have been.

          • Stu

            The other spouse being married isn’t relevant. But if a divorced AND REMARRIED Catholic stays in that relationship, they are committing adultery. That’s objectively a mortal sin.

            Is it a difficult position for someone once they acknowledge that such is the fact? Of course. But we applaud doing the right thing because it often means making a difficult choice. As Christ told us, if we love Him we will keep His commandments.

            • hombre111

              It is only a marriage if the first marriage somehow still exists. This idea flows from Augustine the guilt stricken repentant fornicator with a negative mother complex who could not quite abandon his Manichean pessimism about the human body. The idea that some kind of invisible but unbreakable bond arose the minute two baptized people (no matter the depth of their faith, maturity, or mental health) made a promise and had intercourse came to us via celibate theologians who did not have the life experience to grasp what a real marriage was.
              The Church in the East had the wisdom to see that, through their own sinful human frailty, a couple could destroy their marriage, and what remained was dead, dead, dead. To insist that an unbreakable something still remained was farcical.

              • Stu

                You assume it is a wise position of the East. I say it is imprudent because couples in that position aren’t exactly objective and again it runs counter to the words of Christ and the consistent teaching of the Church.

                Your assertion that the teaching flows from hangups from Saint Augustine is just desperation of a weak hand on your part. But if you are going to assert that, then I’ll counter with the belief that those who want to change this teaching are simply looking for a workaround to bed down their neighbor’s wife.

                • hombre111

                  The East was wise, and compassionate. As I have stated before, I have seen the consequences of your rigid position in my own family. A nephew and a niece fell in love with baptized, marginally religious non-Catholics who had been married before, the first to an abusive spouse, the second to a woman who proved her instability by running through three more marriages. The non-Catholics found themselves facing the year+ marriage case, as explained by pastors with a business-like, dogmatic attitude.

                  Both couples have been married, out of the Church, for many years. Their love is evident, their bond strong, and they have three kids apiece. Following the “constant tradition of the Church,” I am supposed to believe that the first, unloving marriages were sacramental symbols of the unending love of Christ for his Church, and love filled, second relationships were not? Give me a break.

                  • Art Deco

                    I have seen the consequences of your rigid position in my own family.

                    The use of the second person possessive is inappropriate here, fraud.

                  • Stu

                    Has the Church found that their first marriages were valid?

                    You again equate the easy way with the right way. That’s really the change in this era. Everyone wants what they want, like they want it and right now.

                    Endorsing divorce as a means to address divorce isn’t the answer. Unless you are the type who calls for gasoline truck at a fire.

                    • hombre111

                      I think experience found that their first marriages were invalid. One person tried, the other person was violent or utterly unsupportive from the beginning. A symbol for the love between Christ and his Church? It’s like saying a rotten steak is a fitting symbol for a good meal. To repeat myself for the tenth time, This invisible and unproven sacramental bond that supposedly exists no matter what was a creation of medieval theologians who could not handle the earthy and sensual quality of marriage, and a perfect example of the essence fallacy. The Church needs to admit the marriage died, absolve the couple when they admit the role they played in destroying their marriage, and let them have a life.

                    • Stu

                      Our own experience isn’t a valid test for truth. You can rant all you want more than a 100 times on what “The Church needs to” do and I will take your opinion as seriously as any other gent who sets himself up as “pope”. At least the crazy guy out west who calls himself “Pope Michael” has the gumption to be open about it.

                    • hombre111

                      Our own experience is an important part of the search for truth. This is added to the community experience. Eventually, a picture starts to emerge. In this discussion about marriage, we have the need to honor Christ’s words and respect the marriage bond. We see the results, when that bond is not taken seriously. This has been explained many times in this discussion.
                      But we also have to look at the millions of people who are trapped in the divorce quagmire. Real ministry requires compassion and some reason to hope. The stern admonition that everybody has to be a hero rescues only a few. I will not leave the rest to drown. It would be a mortal sin against my responsibility to love the way Christ loves.

                    • ForChristAlone

                      more cheap sentimentality masquerading as Church teaching…as you can notice, few, if any, buy it here but you continue to promote the lies…tsk, tsk

              • ForChristAlone

                Perverse thinking (as usual). Now let’s hear come clear thinking from the real Hombre111

          • ForChristAlone

            It’s BS that “there’s no going back.” Of course, you can put aside a subsequent “marriage” because it’s not valid and “causing one’s eye to sin. Father, “love” marriage style is the union of two persons. How can you have a union with one person when you’ve been previously united with another? But, then again, you’re celibate.

      • http://shyanguya.wordpress.com/ @FMShyanguya

        Are you @hombre111 the priest?

        • Hombre111

          He is the one, and the many.

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  • Tina McCormick

    Not all sins are equal. The “sin of divorce” is mostly due to a personal failure to live up to one’s promises. With it comes much pain – that caused by disappointment in oneself, the feeling of guilt to have caused pain in others, and the sense of exclusion from the Church and Christ’s healing presence. Penance is always part of the healing process for any Christian who has experienced failure through sin. But, like Christ, the Church should never turn the repenting sinner away, but grant him a new start “in some way.” That, in fact, is the whole meaning of the Incarnation, to give us weak and sinful humans a new chance, again and again. Our Church needs to address the complex problems we all face in modern culture with a clear direction, BUT ALSO with love and mercy. Cardinal Kasper’s courage consists of his willingness to accept that challenge and not simply resort to rigid formulas. And here’s a message to those who like throwing stones: Christ came, ABOVE ALL, for all the sinners in this world.

    • Interested

      Civil divorce is not the issue. Having sex with someone you are not married to is the issue.

    • Stu

      The Church doesn’t turn a repenting sinner away. Repentance means you are remorseful for your sin and have made a firm commitment to not do it again. And if we fail even when trying to follow Christ, we can come back and receive absolution again and again if necessary.

      But a divorced AND REMARRIED Catholic who continues to live in sin with someone who is not his or her spouse, isn’t really repentant.

  • Interested

    The rebellious ones cannot wait to crack the moral law. They do not understand God is Truth. His law is not separate from Him.

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  • T.Procopio

    Perhaps his Eminence is old and senile. Seriously.

    • Art Deco

      I knew a traditionalist priest who resigned his administrator’s position and went off the grid completely. Before disappearing, he listed among his sources of disaffection Cdl. Kaspar “preaching heresy”. That was about 10 years ago. The Cdl. would appear to have been senile for some time.

  • Thomas

    Who had the sad idea to create Walter Kasper a cardinal? He reminds me of Casper the Friendly Ghost.

    • Art Deco

      The final decision was made by the same man who appointed Abp. Bernard Law to the College of Cardinals. I suspect the real problem is a stinky applicant pool, all the way down the line. The troublesome Mr. Shea offered many years ago that (in America), we have the bishops we want. As a rule, I suspect he is right.

      Rotten time for the Church.

      • Thomas

        I think you are right. Worst than Kasper only Dolan, a guy I even want to forget that ever existed.

        • Tina McCormick

          How can you be so disrespectful of a Cardinal?

          • Art Deco

            Mass entertainment instructs us today:

            Q: “How can you say that?”

            A: [courtesy Nancy Walker, with her signature rasp]:

            “He opens his mouth and it comes out.”

          • Thomas

            Because he did everything to protect the infamous pro-abortion “Catholic” politicians of the United States as you certainly now, despite the fact that they are automatically excluded from the Catholic Church for supporting a crime.

            • Tina McCormick

              You either respect the Church hierarchy or you don’t. You can’t just pick and choose. You might not agree with everything, but you can’t show disrespect either. That’s the nature of our Church. It strikes me as inconsistent when Catholics attack cardinals and bishops for being “heretics” while they defer to the Church, the magisterium, and the Holy Spirit when it suits their own views.

              • Art Deco

                You either respect the Church hierarchy or you don’t. You can’t just pick and choose.

                So sue me. And go ‘respect’ Bp. Tschoepe if that’s what moves you.

              • TheAbaum

                “It must be observed, however, that if the faith were endangered, a subject ought to rebuke his prelate even publicly.”

                St. Thomas Aquinas, Summa Theologica II, II, q. 33, a. 45

  • Art Deco

    Tina’s telling us everything but how many of her gal pals have thrown over their husbands consequent to consumers’ dissatisfaction.

    • Tina McCormick

      Actually, none, so far!

      • Art Deco

        Of course not. You’ve defined their dissatisfactions as compelling.

  • Tina McCormick

    This has been a very interesting and very important discussion. Perhaps we can all agree that open discussions will generally bring us closer to the truth, or, in this case, towards understanding the Truth better. Perhaps some of the participants can even appreciate that Cardinal Kasper’s words encouraged such important discussion. We must always strive towards a deeper understanding of our faith and sometimes that means accepting the challenge of a new perspective. Thank you, Cardinal Kasper!
    In the interest of full disclosure and transparency and to counter attacks of postmodern relativism, let me just briefly mention a few points about myself: I am myself married and am raising five children. I belong to the most conservative parish in my archdiocese. I am personally interested in the topic of divorce, because I grew up in a broken family and know the pain and despair and sense of exclusion a divorce can bring to very saintly people. I also trust that the Catholic Church will, in time, address crucial social issues in a way wholly consistent with Christ’s call to mercy. I applaud a discourse within the Church that is both rooted in the principles of our Faith and its traditions AND is responsive to the needs of the marginalized faithful. In case you are ever interested in constructive debate, I invite you to comment on my articles on the Catholic News Agency website. You are also most welcome to join me as a friend on Facebook.

    • Art Deco

      It wasn’t that interesting and it was not important at all.

      • Tina McCormick

        Then you must have a very boring life, indeed, considering that you keep posting insults. And it’s rather cowardly that you do so under a fake name.

        • Art Deco

          That’s what’s known as an ‘assessment’, sister. If you find it ‘insulting’, too bad. (My assessment is that you spew more than your share of humbug and that sentence is an example).

          I’ve used the same handle for nine years. I had a couple of reasons for so doing. I am here to discuss issues, not to discuss me. If that’s ‘cowardly’, so be it.

          • Tina McCormick

            Your assessment of the discussion doesn’t bother me in the least. It is your style of participation in it. And I’m sorry, if I have offended you in any way or if, as you say, my writing lacks the clarity to qualify me to participate in these discussions. English is not my first language.

            • Art Deco

              my writing lacks the clarity to qualify me to participate in these discussions.

              I think your lack of concision is the whole point.

              And I do not see a point in ‘discussing’ settled issues.

              • Tina McCormick

                Just wondering whether you have a favorite saint. Or anyone, in particular, whose style of engagement you admire.

            • ForChristAlone

              Are you blaming your calling Art Deco a “coward” on your lack of proficiency in the English language?

              • Tina McCormick

                No, but because he seems to enjoy insulting people without giving his real name. I believe that qualifies as cowardly. It’s OK to remain anonymous, but at least one should respect the basis rules of public discourse.

                • ForChristAlone

                  How can you know what he “enjoys?” You’re able to divine his very subjective experiences? Did he ever say he enjoyed what you accuse him of?

                  And if you believe that “one should respect the basic rules of public discourse”, why then did you violate that which you say you believe? Aren’t you being inconsistent?

                  • Tina McCormick

                    Sorry, ForChristAlone, but if you don’t mind people using insults in discussions then I choose not to discuss with you any further. Obviously, we have different views on proper behavior.

                    • ForChristAlone

                      I am questioning your double standard as it applies to you. Do you not see that? If you find what you call his insults objectionable, how can you then turn around and call him a coward?

                • Art Deco

                  But I do respect the rules. I just do not respect that with which you’ve replaced them. I could be more congenial responding to you and ‘hombre111′, and when I was younger, I would have been.

                  In the words of Fr. Paul Shaughnessy, the Church is suffused with people who wish to replace a faith derived from ecclesiastical authority with one derived from personal experience (or someone’s personal experience). In the process, the Church’s claim to indefectibility is junked.

                  All that is hombre’s whole shtick, though he adds on a mess of trumpery derived from late 20th century opinion journalism and pop psychology (salient aspects of which he denies reading, go figure). I do not buy his priest claim, but it would not surprise me if it were true. Most clergymen are unimpressive nowadays and we have an idea that about a quarter or more of Catholic clergy can be described (as Fr. Wilson puts it) as ‘Jungians, Unitarians, and goofies’.

                  Any sentient being surveying the social landscape can see the devastation, and here the two of you are advocating that the Church be more accommodating to the sources of devastation. (Hombre will blame ‘predatory capitalism’ or some such).

                  And your shtick, sister, is to replace teaching, sanctification, and governance with cloying nincompoopery you label ‘compassion’. It’s dross.

                  • Tina McCormick

                    We don’t want the Church to be “accommodating to the sources of devastation.” Instead, we emphasize the importance of mercy towards those who HAVE BEEN THROUGH devastation. Plus, I believe the Church needs to do a lot more to PREVENT devastation through education and counseling.

                    • Art Deco

                      You can educate and counsel. People will generally not listen, but you can attempt it.

                      As for the devastation, the vast majority of divorces are a response to antecedents my mother’s contemporaries would not have bothered about, which is to say banal domestic friction and inanition and a fancy on a part of one party or another that they can trade up. The ‘devastation’ is derived from calling in the law and serving papers on the other party. Most of the rest (refugees from a life lived with an alcoholic, tomcat, borderline personality, or one with a volcanic temper) are not anxious to be married to anyone else if they can make rent.

                • Arturo D’ Ecco

                  Only a fool uses their “real name” on an internet chatboard.

                  It exposes only to potential fraud, risks to reputuation and other perils.

                  If he had used the pseudonym Arturo D’ecco you would know doubt been pleased as punch.

                  • Tina McCormick

                    I might be a fool, but an honest one.

                    • Slainte

                      I never suggested you were a fool. If you hold a doctorate in history from Harvard, under what name was it awarded and in what year?

                    • Tina McCormick

                      The fool comment was not in response to you, but to someone else implying that I was one. You are welcome to join me on Facebook, if you want to know more about me.

                    • slainte

                      No thank you regarding Facebook.
                      .
                      I would prefer to verify your professional credentials as represented by the Catholic News Agency (“CNA”). Your professional biography at CNA states that you hold a doctorate in history from Harvard.
                      .
                      Under what name was the doctorate degree awarded and in what year?

                    • Tina McCormick

                      I have truly nothing to hide whereas you seem happy in safe anonymity: Christine McCormick, PhD, Harvard 2002.

                    • slainte

                      Tina,
                      .
                      Thank you.
                      .
                      Regarding the issue of anonymity, we debate issues at Crisis, not personalities.
                      .
                      When and if I choose to post articles upon which my credentials become relevant, I will then happily disclose my name.

                    • Tina McCormick

                      Still not sure what my professional credentials have to do with my comments on this site.

                    • slainte

                      Your positions are an enigma to me. At points you assume a traditional view of the faith and then you veer off into a very liberal, anti-traditional posiition.
                      ,
                      Your educational background and/or life experiences have no doubt contributed to the formation of your views.
                      .
                      As I read your testimony, I am reminded of a child of divorce who finds herself in a marriage which may have become abusive and which requires her to take steps (including seeking the assistance of a Court) to protect herrself and her children. Because she hated what her parents’ divorce did to her and maybe because of the nature of her employment, she refrains from filing a divorce petition herself. Yet she wants a new life for herself and her children and a chance to love again.
                      .
                      For this person whose Catholic faith matters greatly, the Church’s change of position regarding divorced Catholics would be of optimal priority.
                      .
                      Am I close to the truth?
                      .
                      .

                    • Tina McCormick

                      No, you are not.

                    • slainte

                      The person I described would find great compassion in this forum and within the Catholic Church community.
                      .
                      I wish you happiness and well-being.

                    • Arturo D’Ecco

                      So?

                      Would this be the same Harvard that was going to have a black mass?

                    • Tina McCormick

                      I was just responding to someone calling my title into question. I do not flaunt it.

          • hombre111

            You don’t really discuss issues, Art. I have never seen an exposition of your thoughts about any topic that could remotely compare with what Tina and I have written. I take that back. You did give a good discussion about economics once, but with the usual one liners and insults.

            • ForChristAlone

              If that’s the case, what then does it say about you? Why would anyone as erudite as you condescend to engage the likes of Art Deco?

      • ForChristAlone

        If you object to insults, why do you reply in this way when all Art Deco did was to aver his opinion that the discussion was not all that interesting, nor important to him. Did his stating an opinion that differed from yours warrant an attack on him?

        • Tina McCormick

          Oh, there’s history! Scroll down the thread and you’ll find all kinds of nasty remarks aimed at different contributors.

          • ForChristAlone

            Is this tit for tat? He was replying to your statement above and this was simply his opinion in response.

    • ForChristAlone

      The teachings of the Catholic Church as contained in the Catechism are not debating points. Herein lies the essence of the problem with your various “positions.” We don’t take “positions” on Church teachings – whether those teachings pertain to marriage, contraception, fornication, adultery, divorce and “remarriage,” the Real Presence of Christ in the Eucharist, Christ’s Resurrection from the dead, abortion, etc etc. And if bloggers maintained discussions within the perameters of the teachings of the Church as contained in the Catechism, there would be greater harmony in the Church. And this most especially applies to those charged with the teaching of the faith (as in Bishop Kasper).

      • hombre111

        As in Cardinal Kasper, the Pope’s theologian, author among other things of one of the more profound books on the Trinity, and director of the Church’s effort at ecumenism.

        • ForChristAlone

          No matter, he is not above the Catechism, or are you not aware of what constitutes Magisterial teaching?

    • hombre111

      Very good, Tina. You have gained a fan. Some of the others won’t bother because they only read the meanderings of the extreme Right, and then call themselves profound thinkers.

      • Tina McCormick

        I am YOUR fan! This is the first time that I am involved in such a discussion and it is frightening how people insult those who disagree with them. It’s really very sad!

        • hombre111

          Depending on the site, it is par for the course. The comments on NYT are high caliber, but no so much on the Washington Post. Commonweal is an excellent, respectful site. But follow some other threads for the fun of it, and you find yourself aghast.

          • ForChristAlone

            My, oh my, oh my…

          • Hombre111

            Still and silent, still and silent.

        • ForChristAlone

          What is insulted is the flouting of the teaching of the Catholic Church as contained in the Catechism by those who hold themselves out to be faithful Catholics. It is this we find profoundly offensive.

          • Tina McCormick

            Nobody is saying that the Catechism is “wrong,” but that the Church needs to address changes in our culture in new ways. And some of the principles in the Catechism should be, if not rethought, then rearticulated in a way that makes sense to people. You can hardly put the Resurrection and contraception on the same footing. You need to understand that the Gospels themselves are a living document that our Church is called to interpret over time. You can read St. Augustin e’s On Christian Teaching, if you have doubts.

            • ForChristAlone

              I happen to think that it is you who needs to do a lot more understanding. I am relieved to now know that you are not saying that the Catechism is “wrong.” And for your information, “principles” are just that – principles. And, yes, I am putting the Resurrection and contraception on the same footing because they share the fact that they are teachings of the Catholics Church not subject to change or interpretation. But, the catechesis you’re in need of is beyond my desire to instruct you.

            • hombre111

              Tina, after having heard from TheAbaum, Art Deco, and ForChristAlone for the umpteenth time, I move on. Right now, there is a very interesting discussion about Christopher Dawson, which could use your historical expertise. Believe me, this loquacious trio will land on you again, but in the meantime, you will get to say something thoughtful that conservatives need to hear.

              Right now, I am retelling the story of America’s cynical involvement in Nicaragua, in response to Art Deco. It is in vain, of course, but some reader might do some fact checking and realize I am right. With your background, you can shed the light on many of the assumptions that appear on Crisis.

              • Tina McCormick

                I have even been thinking that they might all be the same person! Quite a trio!

                • Art Deco

                  Nope.

              • Art Deco

                I’ve reviewed your hack work. It’s error laden on factual details and on significance.

                One persistent feature of your writing is that your ratio of emphatically stated opinions to actual knowledge is abnormally high.

              • ForChristAlone

                One thing we have to remember about hombre is that he was ordained 50 years ago. Now let’s see what was happening to the Church in 1964 and the 10 years following.

                First they began stripping the altars, tabernacles were removed, uplifting music and liturgy were replaced by guitar strumming Nashville types, communions rails were done away with, Christ’s body was received in the hand, the sacrament of confession was ignored, sin was denied, protestant thought was placed on equal footing with the teachings of the Catholic church, priests were vacating the priesthood by droves – oftentimes marrying the nuns who were leaving also at the same rate, Catholic schools were closing, disobedience against Church teaching was commonplace, the Church ignored its teaching authority, pedophile priests were gaining traction, hundreds of Eucharistic ministers flooded the sanctuary to distribute communion formerly done by priest, nuns left the convents to get jobs, take up apartments, buy their first car and schedule time at the hairdresser and annulments of marriage became a cottage industry in more than one diocese, vocations dried up and the missionary nature of the Church came to a screeching halt. And that doesn’t even come close to detailing the wreckage of his early experiences of life in the Catholic Church as a priest.

                So with all this and more going on for hombre in the first ten years of his priesthood and thereafter, I would guess we should cut the chap some slack and not be too surprised at his views, I just hope he still believes in Christ’s presence in the Eucharist when he celebrates his 50th Jubilee Mass.

                • hombre111

                  Mmm, a good caricature. What I remember is wondering if I could survive in a coffin that called itself a church. Then came the Vatican Council, which opened doors and windows. The nonsense of saying “my” Mass became a community celebration. The bizarre custom of mumbling away in a language nobody could understand gave way to people sharing prayer together in a common tongue. By emphasizing the dignity that comes through Baptism, the Church returned to the idea of lay ministry, which included lay communion ministers. By receiving Communion in the hand, I realized the holiness of my own body, and gave up Jansenist contempt for mere humanity. When people got a better understanding of sin, they realized that not every sin was a mortal sin, and so they began to surrender that nagging Catholic guilt. In my parish, I hear confessions for two hours every Saturday, and then we have a full church twice a year for the communal penance services. No loss of a sense of sin here.
                  Some of the priests who left the priesthood realized that they had been forced to live a celibate life that was not a call from the Holy Spirit, but a “discipline” established in the Middle Ages to preserve Church property. Other priests and nuns who were immature children unable to adapt to sudden freedom. Seminary formation did not prepare men for the real world, and the sex abusers slipped through an open door. And the bishops, protecting the institution instead of the children, moved them from place to place without telling the people. And etc..

                  • TheAbaum

                    “What I remember is wondering if I could survive in a coffin that called itself a church”.

                    I could imagine your sermons might make make the two indistinguishable.

                  • ForChristAlone

                    Is there anything you don’t try to explain away? I actually commiserate what you were forced to endure as a post-Vatican II priest.

              • Hombre111

                Heeding the small still voice that counsels you to caution, prudence and stillness.

          • hombre111

            Sadly, literalists, Protestant or Catholic, live at the lowest level of intellectual endeavor. The Catechism is not a list of doctrines cast in stone, but an invitation to explore more deeply and understand more clearly the meaning of Christ’s Gospel. We see this in the Acts of the Apostles. Jesus said, “I have come only for the Jews.” The conservatives among those first Christians took Jesus at his word, and did not minister to Gentiles.

            But the Spirit could not be stuffed into a box. We see Philip, Peter, and James and John reaching out to non-Jews. The Spirit inspired Stephen to see that the Jewish world was over. He and the other Greek speaking Christians were driven out of the city, but the apostles were not.

            Paul went after those “liberals” in Damascus, got knocked off his horse, and joined that Greek speaking Christian community in Antioch, which did not observe the Jewish dietary codes, or the demand for circumcision, which taught him their vision. It was this community that sent Paul forth. He went to the Jews first, was rejected, and then to the Gentiles, whom he baptized. When he went to Jerusalem, the conservatives howled, “What have you done to our Church?”

            The moral of the story is, if the conservatives had prevailed, the Church would be a community made up only of Jews. God broke the conservative cage. And he still does.

            • ForChristAlone

              There is no chapter in the Catechism devoted to “Beliefs that are Optional and Subject to Personal Opinion.” But then again, the Vatican might call upon you to write it so don’t lose all your contributions to Crisis as they will likely come in handy. But the Catechism will have to be re-named “Church Teachings for the Protestant Wing.”

      • ForChristAlone

        Most of us here have sampled the fare of the protestant wing of the Catholic Church and have found it wanting. At the same time, most of us here went through our defiant, rebellious stage when we were in our teens; it no longer serves us. We have matured. The 60’s Church has died; the grand experiment in disobedience failed.

  • Eric_Beocarl

    Wow, this escalated quickly

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