Friday, February 11, 2011

Cardinal Kasper Severely Criticizes Theological Dissidents

Editor: We got earlier statements from the good Cardinal at Enlace Catolico. Here he is again, this time for Vatican Radio and, saying his piece against these theologians.  It's certainly one of the most striking statements from a Curial official so far, and one of the most surprising.  Here are some excerpts from his interview as translated at

As we pointed out last year in September, the Cardinal had admonished Germans to obey the Holy Father.  

"Churches, which have opted for woman's ordination and the recognition of same-sex partnerships, have put themselves for that reason in a very deep crisis"

Rome ( The Roman Curial Cardinal, Walter Kasper has made a clear denunciation for the "Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung" against the Munster "Theological Referendum". has documented the main statements from "Radio Vatikan"  from FAZ-Report on the theme of "We're Coming to the Point".

"No sensible man, no follower of Christ will contend that the Catholic Church in Germany has had an acerbic and necessary break.  No one can seriously contend that the teachers and teacheresses of Theology are accorded any especial responsibility.  As one who has been in service for more than thirty years in academia,  I must say clearly, that the Memorandum has disturbed me greatly... because I would have expected more from Theologians, namely, a substantial theological contribution.

I ask myself, how a theologian can speak of the past situation and their difficulties, without mentioning the crisis of faith. Instead of this, the Memorandum remains stuck in a justifiable self-criticism.  Do the undersigned seriously believe that the Church's constitution today is an existential question for people? Is it not the reverse: that the crisis in the Church follows from a crisis of faith?  That is also valid for the horrible cases of sexual abuse.

What the undersigners of the Memorandum want to bring to the Dialog, has already been long known and expressed by other groups ad nauseum.  For that reason I have paid attention as the initial words of the message of freedom in the Gospel demand.  I thought: Yes, that's it.

I asked myself, how can it be that German Catholic theologians are so clearly  closed, that  churches, which are decided for women's ordination and for the recogniztion of same sex partnerships, have for that reason put themselves in a much deeper crisis than the Catholic Church in Germany.

The Celibacy is not just for today a hot iron in the fire.  Actually, I have been preoccupied with it for over forty years with other theologians that Pope and Episcopal College have the duty to assure the unmarried state of the diocesan priesthood.  Clearly, the fact is little known that this assessment has been for a long time in place.  The question has been discussed internationally, exegetically as well as historically some exceptions, that it can't be seriously allowed to review the old arguments.  Not less than three World Conferences of bishops have voted in the meantime with overpowering majorities for the continuance of the unmarried priesthood.  If anyone had wanted another internal Church legal structure, then it would have been appended, that decisions would also have been recognized, that he had preferred another solution himself.

Only a hopeless and futureless and therefore false conservatism can be living, what pastoral structures have previously been  identified artificially with 'viri probati' [married men of good character].  In any event those superficial German priestly communities in the Diocese are also not the final word.

More imagination and a view  beyond one's own teacup could help out tremendously.

The crisis of faith is not only a celibacy crisis, rather it has also led to a crisis of the faithful and the community.  When in Germany the number of regular churchgoers since 1950 has dropped more than two thirds, then that is a sign that has been long nudging and pushing to the real ground, what the priest shortage really means.  I can only propose a radical solution which is set on this "radix", on this root, in place of superficially turning on the parameters of celibacy."



RobbyS said...

Of course you are right. The problem is that Catholics have become so secularized that we tend to live just for the "now" which we seem to assume will last forever. And the "now" is what gives us pleasure or what avoids pain.

Anonymous said...

I am not quite sure what the Cardinal is getting at here, besides the fact that he seems to suggest that the myopic focus on celibacy is wornout.
He also suggests that the real problem is a problem of the faith, no one takes it seriously or cares about it anymore.
My only comment is "well dah..." Archbishop Lefebvre warned about this from the early 70's and it only now is filtering up to the level of the Cardinals.
Shows how insulated they are from life in the actual parishes and enslaved to their Vatican II ideology, that it has taken over 40 years to even be recognized.
One good modern development now however is that anyone with an internet connection at the Vatican can now google to find out what life is like for ordinary Catholics, disobedient priests, liturgical abuses, bad doctrine etc.

Tancred said...

Maybe he's turning over a new leaf? And yes, he's saying that these theologians are clueless. They are all old fossils from the Bader Meinhof sixty eight days...

If anyone's out of touch it is they. Perhaps Cardinal Kasper has been realizing this now with the free time he's had while writing his forthcoming book on the Church.

JD said...

It's interesting that it is Cardinal Kasper that is saying these things. Perhaps, as you said, he is turning over a new leaf. With the Church still in chaos I welcome any encouraging words from any Cardinal,even ones that in the past have said things that have left me a little confused to say the least.

Unknown said...

It's very difficult interpreting Cardinals. They get to take lots of public positions that get universal distribution. Kasper and Schoenborn come especially to mind.

Given a list of 100 Catholic issues, an arbitrary number, most of them, and for most lay Catholics for that matter, if one plotted their views on scatter plot graphs, one who was attempting to develop a well formed conscience would have a very difficult time finding many with whom they agreed with on the vast majority of issues.

And there are some issues that outweigh the other 99.

The universal Catholic Church has, almost from the beginning, encompassed a tremendous range of views.

And, as George Weigel recently wrote, the Church prefers heresy to apostasy any day of the week.

Pray for us sinners, now, and at the hour of our deaths. Amen.

Tancred said...

Weigel just wishes that were true, then it would justify his existence in the Church, but what Cardinal Kasper is doing isn't consistent with other Old Liberals and it's not consistent with what he's said in the past.