Sunday, May 11, 2014

Cardinal Kasper (4)

Cardinal Kasper's remarks.

Now in my class entitled "the Word of God: Scripture and Tradition, my professor, Dr. Stephen Hildebrand, made it a point to explain the work of salvation history by presenting several complementary views of the divine economy held by several Church Fathers. One view he taught was St. Augustine's view in To Simplician, his commentary on Romans 7 and 9 (and naturally, the one Paul seems to wrestle with in Romans), and one also held in the City of God on law and grace that I already discussed, where God makes us right by grace in the period after the Law, of grace but before the Resurrection at the end of time.

This is particularly relevant because Cardinal Caffara of Bologna and others have asked a mighty question: "What happens to the first marriage?" and in response, Cardinal Kasper had this to say:
God provides a new chance—not by cancelling the demands of justice: God does not justify the sin. But he justifies the sinner. Many of my critics do not understand that distinction. They think, well, we want to justify their sin. No, nobody wants that. But God justifies the sinner who converts. This distinction appears already in Augustine.
It would seem that Christ's teaching on adultery is crystal-clear. Marriage is a permanent communion of persons and as such it takes its ending only in the form of death, not in any human juridical marriage. Divorce was permitted only because under the Mosaic Law man was able to know sin, but because he is rebellious once told not to do things, he does it (I suppose it's a way to deal with breaking the Sixth Commandment), and also he was unable to keep the law. This requires sanctifying grace, made accessible to married couples through the raising of marriage to the dignity of a sacrament.

He makes the mistake again of referring to Holy Communion in the context of the "second plank as a refuge from sin," borrowing from the Fathers. Dr. Peters in February dismissed his misuse of the image. The relationship between sin and Holy Communion is not found as the second plank but rather its foundation. Without Christ reconciling the world to God there would be no sacraments, and it is in Christ, the New Zion, that we worship, day in and day out in all places re-presenting the sacrifice of Calvary, the true and perfect and bloodless sacrifice offered for the expiation of our sins. (On a tangential note, Joseph Ratzinger in Introduction to Christianity talks about faith and certainty and uncertainty in terms of holding onto a plank in the wide-open ocean, which is interesting...).

To be continued...

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