Monday, May 12, 2014

Cardinal Kasper (7)

His remarks. I realize only now that I could have written this almost as if it were an academic paper through quoting and paraphrasing and then giving commentary throughout. Instead I just went paragraph-by-paragraph and gave a response to it, in a much more conversational way. Oh well.

The cardinal says, " In no way do I deny the indissolubility of a sacramental marriage. That would be stupid." But everything he says makes it as if it makes no difference what the doctrine actually says! How can the pastors shepherd the flock if the juridical mechanisms do not promote the life of sanctity without any doubt, without any reservation, without any knowledge of an instantaneous about-face and repeat? It's rather connected to the points raised by Episcopalian "bishop" Gene Robinson, infamous as the first open and partnered homosexual "consecrated" in that communion, regarding his divorce, issues that need to be addressed.

I presume that His Eminence refers to the practice of making an act of spiritual communion through a devout prayer, such as the ones popularized by Ss. Alphonsus Liguori and Josemaria Escriva. Yes, sanctifying grace cannot be present in the soul: it is killed by mortal sin which kills charity, which takes the person away from God. As a general "rule," it is understood that the seven sacraments are the visible means of acquiring interior grace, and so it would seem that ordinarily an act of spiritual communion does not confer sanctifying grace. It would increase actual grace, those movements towards God and especially towards repairing one's broken union with Him, and thus further prepare one to receive more sanctifying grace (that's a tricky concept, receiving "more grace," but it's possible..). Making spiritual communions instead of receiving Our Lord in the Eucharist also allows us to give greater thanks when we do receive Him, so it is a venerable and worthy practice. So to answer the cardinal's question, "But spiritual communion goes very far: it’s being one with Christ. Why should these people be excluded from the other Communion?": the two are distinct but related, and that means all sinners (mortal: remember venial sin isn't exactly sin...see the Catechism of the Catholic Church) are excluded from the table of the Lord whereas they can make a spiritual communion.

Why does women's ordination and the like have to come up again and again? The esteemed predecessor of Francis, St. John Paul, declared that such a thing was not only not going to happen, but that it was impossible, based on the mandate given by Christ to His Church, a divine limit that he could not overturn even as Pope. (A remarkable exercise of the dogma set by Vatican I. See Fr. Hunwicke.). It would seem that diaconal ordination of women is also impossible. Not their assistance in liturgical matters in special cases, e.g. cloistered communities of women which had nuns  assisting in the Office with the maniple, or even as an (unfortunate) acceptable, regular practice, but their reception of the sacrament of Holy Orders. Now, I will grant there is a problem of equity in that only six sacraments are available to women, and to female religious only five, but let's face it, the norm in the West and about half of the Christian East is for only six sacraments to be available to men (celibacy in the West and for monks, and married men do not become bishops, ever). God works in his own mysterious ways. Yes, I know, it's a cop-out, but if we were to find all the problems then God would make us righteous by any means, and that would overturn Christ's clear teaching on Christian life and His warning that Hell is quite full! People would ignore His moral exhortations presuming that they would become righteous by other means.

Cardinal Kasper seems to ignore the Pope's remarks regarding the clericalization of the laity and the proper role of women. Why shouldn't female theologians be at the CDF? I mean, I'm not entirely against it, but I think it encourages the female ordination crowd, since theology and priesthood have since the patristic era been associated. And based on surveys of Anglican female clergy, I'm not convinced we'd find too many orthodox theologians who are female, so it'd be a rare occurrence (look at the flap with the LCWR and tell me that's not a problem. Or Tina Beattie.). It's not about women, either, it's really about the massive influence of feminism on so many women today which colors their judgment of theology.

Women when convinced of the truth of the faith as handed down to them recognize in a particular way, distinct from a layman's, that their place is not in the sanctuary or in the Roman Curia. Even if they do teach and work in the diverse ways available to them, it is influenced in a particular way by their calling as wives and mothers, if they are married. Dr. Wear, my Honors professor for the class on later antiquity, is very faithful to the Church and is a great professor and a wonderful mother (troublesome kids do not equal bad parenting...). The same is true for Dr. Puppo, adjunct theology. Dr. Georgedes in the history department is faithful as well and a great teacher, and someone who is not married, They exercise their calling in a particular way that's different from men like the TOR friars who are ordained and who have a calling to teach, especially the Queen of the Sciences, in a particular way.

What does being in favor of Pope Francis have to do with Vatileaks and things going wrong? One might be against him, or at least frustrated, because things are still going wrong, either the same people who undid Benedict are still at work or because Francis is one of them or is ignorant of the pastoral reality..or any number of reasons...And I can never figure out why synodality automatically equates to give more power to the episcopal conferences. Not in the cardinal's mind here, but certainly in other pieces. Let's give diocesan bishops more authority, which is the traditional way. I mean, Francis cited the order of Trent for bishops to stay put in their dioceses unless they had to travel. Also, synods and Popes issuing church documents to address issues in the Church which are lengthy teachings, condemnations, and exhortations all rolled into one is novel...so I'm not convinced the Synod of Bishops can do much more.

I hope that I can continue my thoughts on holiness, marriage, family, and so on within the next few weeks. But this series on Cardinal Kasper's interview is...

Concluded. 

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