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Ready for this? (I'm not...)  From Religion News Service:



Cardinal Kasper is enjoying the spotlight, and taking heat, as the ‘pope’s theologian’
David Gibson | May 15, 2014


NEW YORK (RNS) To hear Cardinal Walter Kasper tell it, he became the pope’s point man for reform in the Catholic Church thanks to a bit of serendipity, or, if you will, Providence, before anyone knew that Francis was going to be the next Roman pontiff.

The genesis of their partnership, Kasper recalled during a recent trip to New York, was a fateful encounter that took place a few days before last year’s conclave, when all the electors in the College of Cardinals from around the world were staying in the Vatican guesthouse.

Kasper’s room happened to be right across the hallway from that of Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio of Buenos Aires. A renowned German theologian who just turned 80, Kasper had recently received a Spanish translation of his latest book, “Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life.” He brought a couple copies with him and gave one to Bergoglio.

“Ah, mercy!” the Argentine cardinal exclaimed when he saw the title. “This is the name of our God!”

The two men knew each other a bit — Kasper had been to Buenos Aires several times on church business — but it turns out Bergoglio’s reaction wasn’t just one of those pro forma compliments you might give to an acquaintance at a book party. Mercy had long been a guiding principle for Bergoglio’s ministry, and he devoured Kasper’s original, wide-ranging study in the days leading up to the voting.

Then, on the evening of March 13, it was Bergoglio who emerged on the balcony of St. Peter’s Basilica as Pope Francis. And just four days later, the new pope addressed a huge crowd in the square — and as a surprised Kasper watched on television, he heard Francis praising him as a “very sharp theologian” and effectively blurbing his work: “That book has done me so much good,” Francis said.

“But don’t think I do publicity for the books of my cardinals!” the new pontiff quickly added.

Too late. The subsequent editions of Kasper’s book led with Francis’ praise above the title, and ever since Kasper has been enjoying the kind of influence that a short time ago would have been as unimaginable as, well, the kinds of reforms that Francis has been promoting.


‘This pope is not a liberal. He is a radical!’

For years, Kasper had been an odd man out in the Roman power structure. When he was a bishop in Germany in the 1990s, Kasper led efforts to try to persuade Pope John Paul II to find a way to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion. But that was thwarted by conservatives in Rome, led by another German, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, John Paul’s longtime doctrinal czar.

Vox Wrote:Doctrinal "czar"! Ohhhhh, scary! We need fitting music!


Kasper continued to push for reforms, however, often sparring with Ratzinger in the pages of Catholic journals. Still, John Paul made Kasper a cardinal in 2001 and later named him head of the Vatican department for relations with other churches.

Vox Wrote:St. John Paul the Greatest did that. Yes.

The post turned out to be something of a way station for Kasper, and when John Paul died in 2005 there were some who pitched Kasper as the last great hope for a progressive turn in the church: “Kasper the Friendly Pope,” as some quipped.

Instead, it was another German theologian, Joseph Ratzinger, Kasper’s longtime rival, who emerged from the Sistine Chapel as Benedict XVI, apparently cementing the church’s turn toward conservatism. Kasper retired and settled down to writing books on topics such as mercy.

After Benedict announced he was resigning,  Kasper once again entered the conclave by another stroke of fortune: Cardinals over 80 are barred from voting for a new pope, and Kasper’s 80th birthday was March 5 — one day after the cardinals began deliberating. He made it by just 24 hours.

Ten days later, Pope Francis was elected.

To be sure, Francis shares a passion for mercy with Kasper.  But he also relies on Kasper not only to provide the theological underpinnings for his views but also as a kind of front man to sell Francis’ push to renew Catholicism.

[html] “This pope is not a liberal pope. He is a radical pope!”[/html] Kasper said as he sat in an office at St. Paul the Apostle Church on Manhattan’s Upper West Side during a weeklong U.S. sojourn. “This pope goes back to the gospel.”


‘Holy Father, there will be a controversy … ‘

After Francis publicly praised Kasper’s work, [html]an older cardinal in Rome came to the pope and insisted: “Holy Father, you should not recommend this book! There are many heresies in it!” The pope smiled as he told Kasper the story, and reassured him: “It goes in one ear and out the other.”[/html]


Further proof of Francis’ trust in Kasper came in February when the pope tapped him to deliver a lengthy talk for a meeting of all the world’s cardinals who had gathered to discuss updating the church’s policies on a range of hot-button issues.

The meeting, or consistory, was the first in a series of discussions that Francis has planned to jump start long-stalled talks on contentious topics — one of them whether divorced and remarried Catholics can receive Communion; it’s not the sexiest topic but it is a huge pastoral crisis given that so many Catholics have remarried without an annulment and are barred from the altar rail. Even a murderer can confess and receive Communion, as Kasper likes to note.

“I told the pope, ‘Holy Father, there will be a controversy afterward,’” Kasper said. The pope laughed and told him: “That’s good, we should have that!”

Vox Wrote:Like a hole in the head, 'cause 50 years of it just hasn't been enough!

Sure enough, fierce criticisms tumbled in.

Vox Wrote:Here come those curmudgeonly bastards who care about doctrine! Who do they think they are? Catholics?

“Such a shift wouldn’t just provoke conservative grumbling; it would threaten outright schism,” warned New York Times columnist Ross Douthat. Phil Lawler, editor of Catholic World News, agreed that such a change was beyond the pale: “The Kasper proposal, in anything approaching its current form, is unworkable,” he wrote.

To be sure, Kasper himself did not exactly tamp down the flames in his recent appearances at Catholic campuses and in interviews with U.S. media.

Speaking to the liberal Catholic magazine Commonweal, for example, Kasper said the pope himself “believes that 50 percent of marriages are not valid” — an assertion that left many conservatives aghast. “I am stunned at the pastoral recklessness of such an assertion. Simply stunned,” wrote canon lawyer and popular blogger Edward Peters.

Vox Wrote:Ya know what? That actually wouldn't surprise me, given the state of catechesis. So what's being done about THAT? Instead of dealing with the roots of the problems, let's just twist doctrine and become Prots with better-looking vestments. On second thought...:

[Image: ugly38.jpg]

[Image: ugly39.jpg]

At a public talk at Fordham University, Kasper also irked the right, and pleased the left, when he tweaked the Vatican’s doctrinal chief, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, who had just delivered a blistering critique of leaders of most American nuns. Kasper expressed his “esteem” for Mueller and said his office tended to take a “narrow” view and must be more open to dialogue and change.

Vox Wrote:We might as well put those two words together -- say, "changealogue."

That, too, sparked a fresh round of complaints.


‘Some people say I made a revolution’

Despite the pushback, colleagues describe Kasper as rejuvenated by the reform Francis has launched.

“I do not know if my proposals will be acceptable,” the cardinal said with a shrug. “I made them in agreement with the pope, I did not do them just myself. I spoke beforehand with the pope, and he agreed.”

Kasper’s ideas are controversial not so much for their content but because at heart they are about whether and how the church can change.

“Change is always a risk,” Kasper said. “But it’s also a risk not to change. Even a greater risk, I think.”

Kasper said he was confident that the process of debate that Francis had launched on the topic of family life and sexuality would in the end produce some significant reforms, in part “because there are very high expectations.”

Vox Wrote:Gosh, isn't it nice to know that we should expect a lot of changes because some other people expect it? Nevermind Vatican I; the Pope can change doctrine because some folks have "high expectations" that he does.

He noted that the church has often changed, or “developed,” over the centuries, and quite recently in the 1960s when, for example, [html]the Second Vatican Council reversed long-standing teachings[/html] against religious freedom and dialogue with other believers.

Vox Wrote:Or did it? I mean, if you hear some rabbis tell of it, Nostra Aetate says that Jews don't need Jesus and Catholics aren't supposed to preach the Gospel to them. The document doesn't say that at all, but "The Big Lie" principle works that way.

Kasper reiterates that he’s not advocating a change in the church’s dogma on the sanctity of marriage, but a change in the “pastoral practice” about who can receive Communion. “To say we will not admit divorced and remarried people to Holy Communion? That’s not a dogma. That’s an application of a dogma in a concrete pastoral practice. This can be changed.”

Kasper said it is the voice of the faithful that has made the difference. “The strongest support comes from the people, and you cannot overlook that,” he said.

“If what people are doing and what the church is teaching, if there is an abyss, that doesn’t help the credibility of the church,” he said. “One has to change.”

So Kasper gives Bergoglio his book two days before the conclave and then ten days later Pope Francis is pimpin it out to the world, unbelievable stuff
Cardinal Kasper is a heretic plain and simple. And no I don't have the slightest qualms about saying so. Where's our modern day St. Nicholas when we need him? This man needs a St to slap him across the face to either knock some sense into him or make him leave the Church in disgrace. what's really an act of mercy is for the Pope to remove those from office who teach heresy. Real mercy is making sure Catholics are taught true doctrine.
1. Bit of pot calling kettle black here.
2. The author of the article appears to be in favor of Kasper. Notice how he calls Ratzinger a "czar" and how Kasper had been pushed out of the "Vatican power structure". The author does not go into the issue of how most of the cardinals find his ideas simply dumb. Instead, it is a "power" issue.

2. St. JPII, Kasper sure loves you. . . .

3. I think this pontificate will be characterized by a) being short, b) being crazy, c) being a turning point for middle-of-the-road conservative cardinals, who will now see what happens when they "settle" in a Conclave. They will learn that they cannot ever settle again, that they have to do their homework, that the days of polite gentleman's disagreements are over. The next Conclave I bet will be a LONG one. This pontificate could very well be exactly what the doctor ordered, something really stark, something that makes cardinals draw lines in the sand. Something that can shock young cardinals,  embarrass older good cardinals to the point of making them work together now to fix this in the near future. I say let Pope Francis run wild now, talk nonsense left and right, as long as he stays away from formal doctrinal declarations, and he seems to be allergic to speaking about Faith and Morals anyway, which is why he lets the likes of Kasper get out there and spew his nonsense. Then Kasper gets eaten alive by the other cardinals. And the Pope can go back to Santa Marta and think about where next to stir the pot up.
Unlike John Paul II and Benedict XVI who were moderately conservative Francis is the quintessential arrupean Jesuit. That being said I pray for a very short pontificate, as I do not see him all of a sudden becoming doctrinally orthodox and reining in abuses. Perhaps the line in the sand is drawn. The consequences of this Pontificate will reverberate around the Church and the world for a long time. Lets pray that at the next conclave the Holy Ghost inspires the Cardinals to choose someone whose doctrinally and liturgically conservative and much more careful about public statements. Francis and his hot shot "theologian" and arch ecumenist Walter Kasper are out of control.
Are we still Catholic? It's getting harder each day to determine  Huh?
There's nothing new here.
And Kasper (and, supposedly, also the Pope) did say that the cause of the ca. 50% of marriages invalid is poor Catechism; reading his interview at Commonweal his (or the Pope's) rationale is quite convincing: one cannot expect that a couple that chose to get married in the Church just because it is “beautiful” to have a valid marriage (I myself know of churches that have weddings every Saturday, of people whose only tie to the Church was baptism made when they were babies). And he did say the appropriate answer to this is better Catechism of the couple before the wedding. I think this observation is one that Traditional Catholics can appreciate: indeed there either far too many marriages or far too poor education (which done well could easily change the couple's mind).

At his interview he said that what he wants -- allowing persons in second union to eventually receive the Eucharist -- is to be restricted to a very small group of faithful that found themselves in this situation. Of course, one could argue that this allowance to a very small group will eventually expand by using much of the same reasoning used for the first allowance (why restrict it to only the utterly pious and faithful Catholics? Why not have mercy on the Laodiceans that go to Church on Sundays?).

And by the way, it would be very nice to have a radical Pope, in the literal sense; a Pope that valued the roots of the Church and not some recent novelty or the pressures of the times.
(05-19-2014, 10:58 AM)formerbuddhist Wrote: [ -> ]Cardinal Kasper is a heretic plain and simple.

I guess people who buy into his theology are heretics plain and simple too.
(05-19-2014, 08:42 PM)NorthernTrad Wrote: [ -> ]
(05-19-2014, 10:58 AM)formerbuddhist Wrote: [ -> ]Cardinal Kasper is a heretic plain and simple.

I guess people who buy into his theology are heretics plain and simple too.

That would be the simple solution, sure.  Possibly an elegant one, too.
Walter Kasper Wrote:“If what people are doing and what the church is teaching, if there is an abyss, that doesn’t help the credibility of the church,” he said. “One has to change.”

Hmm, which one?  The Church, or the people?

I should have thought that to ask the question was to answer it, but somehow the good Cardinal and I seem to have come to opposite conclusions.

I wonder what conclusion his protegé will come to...