Sunday, May 11, 2014

Il Papa, Marriage, and 'Holy Smokes!!'

Ed Peters is the go-to Canonist in blogdom, and he's sent out an alarm.

...Either the pope did not say what Kasper claims he said, whereupon the cardinal should immediately retract his words, or the pope really did tell Kasper that half of all marriages (let’s just say half of all Catholic marriages, although the phrasing here embraces all marriages on earth) are invalid, whereupon the Church needs immediately to examine the truth of that claim. If, Deus vetet, half of all Catholic marriages really are invalid we are facing an unprecedented sacramental, social, and pastoral catastrophe that demands emergency action.

I’m serious: suppose we awoke to find half of all Catholic baptisms invalid, or half of all Masses, or half of all ordinations, or half of all Confessions, would not virtually everything else in the Church come to a screeching halt until the cause of such stunning invalidity were identified, rooted out, and repaired? Of course! But by the same token, how can the possibility—one being openly attributed to the highest level in the Church—that half of all Catholic marriages are invalid not call for an equally urgent immediate ecclesiastical response? We simply have to know whether the pope (a) is really alerting us to impending disaster, or (b) was just spit-balling ideas with an old colleague (and is now steaming mad at him for broadcasting his idle remarks to the world), or (c) said absolutely nothing of the kind. Precisely because all three scenarios are possible, Fr. Lombardi has to seek a clarification from the Holy See. And, yes, I sympathize with his reluctance to do so.

Indeed.  Of course, as a Canonist, Peters happens to have experience.

To be clear, I see no evidence that half of the world’s marriages (or even half of all Catholic marriages) are invalid, but I am certainly open to examining whatever evidence the pope (perhaps) and Cdl. Kasper (at least) might have to support this astounding claim. Indeed such an investigation would be of the highest priority for many in the Church.

In an update to the post, it is mentioned that Cdl. Kasper did not accurately relay his conversation with the Pope.

That's not a surprise.  Cdl. Kasper has an agenda.  Twenty years ago, a priest-friend of mine who was well-acquainted with Cdl Kasper's work (and who knew him socially) referred to the Cardinal in clear and disparaging terms.  Not polite, nor politic, nor the usual Romanita; it was direct and forthright.  Kasper has been at the ragged edge/fringe for at least two decades, on a wide variety of issues.

Be careful when citing Cdl. Kasper's works or comments.  Be VERY careful.


Terrence Berres said...

Now, now, it's not like half the checks in the collection bounced.

Anonymous said...

Didn't St. John Paul II elevate Cardinal Kasper to serve as head of a Vatican dicastery? And why would the current Holy Father invite him, and him alone, to address the recent consistory? In fact, after he delivered that lecture, which is now on sale under the title "The Gospel of Marriage," wasn't Pope Francis widely quoted as having praised, not just the lecture itself, but also Kasper's competence as a theologian, in particular?

Dad29 said...

Yes, Anony.

So what?