Invalid Input

Invalid Input

Search the Remnant Newspaper
Thursday, May 8, 2014

Cardinal Kasper: Pope Believes 50% of Marriages Are Invalid

Written by 
Rate this item
(34 votes)
Walter Cardinal Kasper Walter Cardinal Kasper

The hits keep coming fast and furious this week. On May 7, Commonweal Magazine published an interview with Cardinal Walter Kasper entitled, “Merciful God, Merciful Church.” The introduction to the article starts as follows:

During his first Angelus address, Pope Francis recommended a work of theology that “has done me so much good” because it “says that mercy changes everything; it changes the world by making it less cold and more fair.” That book is Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life by Cardinal Walter Kasper…

The article goes downhill from there. Nevertheless, since Cardinal Kasper is highly thought of by Pope Francis, what he thinks is unfortunately relevant. I will thus attempt to pick out some of the Cardinal’s interview “gems” and give some commentary.

Right out of the gate, the Cardinal gives an interesting commentary on Exodus:

Kasper: God’s relation to Moses in the Burning Bush is not “I am,” but “I am with you. I am for you. I am going with you.”

Hmm. Let me check that…

Exodus 3:14:God said to Moses: I AM WHO AM. He said: Thus shalt thou say to the children of Israel: HE WHO IS, hath sent me to you.

Interesting…. Anyway, Kasper continues…

Kasper: The God of the Old Testament is not an angry God but a merciful God, if you read the Psalms.

Hmm.. let’s take a look at a psalm. Psalm 7 will do:

Psalm 7:7-13:God is a just judge, strong and patient: is he angry every day? Except you will be converted, he will brandish his sword: he hath bent his bow and made it ready. And in it he hath prepared the instruments of death, he hath made ready his arrows for them that burn.

Looks like the Cardinal is building his credibility so far. He continues…

Kasper: Mercy is also a critical point for the church. She has to preach it. We have a sacrament of mercy—the sacrament of penance, but we have to reevaluate it, I think.

“Reevaluate” the Sacrament of Penance which Christ established? Apparently Christ’s sacrament of mercy does not go far enough for Cardinal Kasper?

Kasper then starts to talk about Communion for the divorced and remarried who have obtained no annulment for their previous marriage. He mentions his proposal that divorced and remarried Catholics confess the “failure” of their first marriage, do a period of penance, and then be allowed to receive Communion even though they are still actively participating in the adulterous second marriage.

The Commonweal interviewer then plays devil’s advocate and presents the Traditional critique of this proposal. As we know, a person cannot confess a sin and receive absolution when that person has no intention of amending the sinful behavior. In the case of the divorced and remarried absolution would depend on, at minimum, a resolution for the divorced and remarried couple to live as brother and sister. Cardinal Kasper’s response?

Kasper: I have high respect for such people [those who choose live as brother and sister in this situation]. But whether I can impose it is another question. But I would say that people must do what is possible in their situation. We cannot as human beings always do the ideal, the best. We must do the best possible in a given situation. A position between rigorism and laxism—laxism is not possible, of course, because it would be against the call to holiness of Jesus. But also rigorism is not the tradition of the church.

Thus Kasper reduces the perennial moral teaching of the Church to mere “rigorism.” But he doesn’t stop there. He then has the temerity to cite two Doctors of the Church to defend his erroneous idea!

Kasper: Alphonsus Liguori was a rigorist at the beginning. Then he worked with simple people near Naples and found out that it’s not possible. And he was a confessor. Then he worked out this system of equiprobabalism—where there are arguments for and against, and in these cases you can choose. I’m very sympathetic to this. And of course Alphonsus Liguori is the patron of moral theology. We aren’t in bad company if we rely on him. And Thomas Aquinas wrote on the virtue of prudence, which does not deny a common rule, but you have to apply it to a concrete and often very complex situation. So I think there are arguments from the tradition.

The depths of deception and sophistry to which Cardinal Kasper will sink to destroy the Church’s teaching forbidding divorce seem to know no bounds. Testifying against Cardinal Kasper from Heaven, I now quote St. Alphonsus Liguori from a sermon on impurity given on the Sixteenth Sunday after Pentecost:

St. Peter calls this vice an unceasing sin. " Having eyes full of adultery and sin that ceaseth not." (2 Pet. ii. 14.) Impurity is called an unceasing sin on account of the obstinacy which it induces. Some person addicted to this vice says: “I always confess the sin.” So much the worse; for since you always relapse into sin, these confessions serve to make you persevere in the sin. The fear of punishment is diminished by saying “I always confess the sin.” If you felt that this sin certainly merits hell, you would scarcely say : I will not give it up ; I do not care if I am damned.

But the devil deceives you. Commit this sin, he says; for you afterwards confess it. But, to make a good confession of your sins, you must have true sorrow of the heart, and a firm purpose to sin no more. Where are this sorrow and this firm purpose of amendment, when you always return to the vomit? If you had had these dispositions, and had received sanctifying grace at your confessions, you should not have relapsed, or at least you should have abstained for a considerable time from relapsing. You have always fallen back into sin in eight or ten days, and perhaps in a shorter time, after confession. What sign is this? It is a sign that you were always in enmity with God. If a sick man instantly vomits the medicine which he takes, it is a sign that his disease is incurable.

Similarly, St. Thomas Aquinas is crystal clear on the issue:

Nothing supervenient to marriage can dissolve it: wherefore adultery does not make a marriage cease to be valid. For, according to Augustine (De Nup. et Concup. i, 10), "as long as they live they are bound by the marriage tie, which neither divorce nor union with another can destroy." Therefore it is unlawful for one, while the other lives, to marry again.

We then get to the worst Kasper bombshell. The interviewer quotes Kasper as stating that the Church’s canon law presumption of marriage validity is often a “legal fiction. He then asks if the Church can afford to not presume marriages are valid.

Kasper: That’s a real problem. I’ve spoken to the pope himself about this, and he said he believes that 50 percent of marriages are not valid. Marriage is a sacrament. A sacrament presupposes faith. And if the couple only want a bourgeois ceremony in a church because it’s more beautiful, more romantic, than a civil ceremony, you have to ask whether there was faith, and whether they really accepted all the conditions of a valid sacramental marriage—that is, unity, exclusivity, and also indissolubility. The couples, when they get married, they want it because it’s stable. But many think, “Well, if we fail, we have the right.” And then already the principle is denied. Many canon lawyers tell me that today in our pluralistic situation we cannot presuppose that couples really assent to what the church requires. Often it is also ignorance. Therefore you have to emphasize and to strengthen prematrimonial catechesis. It’s often done in a very bureaucratic way. No, we have to provide catechesis. I know some parishes in Rome where couples have to attend catechesis, and the pastor himself does it. We must do much more in prematrimonial catechesis and use pastoral work and so on because we cannot presuppose that everybody who is a formal Christian also has the faith. It wouldn’t be realistic.

Thus, if we are to believe Kasper, the Pope himself believes at least half of all marriages are invalid. Why? Because of poor catechesis according to Kasper. And who was providing the catechesis to those who married over the last 50 years? Ahh, yes. That would be the priests and bishops of the “New Springtime” ushered in by Vatican II. A Council which taught that the unitive and procreative ends of marriage are co-equal, flatly contradicting the Catholic teaching that procreation is the primary end of marriage.

As Archbishop Lefebvre, a Council Father recalls:

Marriage has always been defined by its first aim which is procreation and its secondary aim which is married love. Now, at the Council they sought to alter this definition and say there was no longer a primary aim, but that  the two aims of which I speak were equivalent. It was Cardinal Suenens who proposed this change and I still remember Cardinal Brown, the Master General of the Dominicans, getting up to say, “Caveatis! Caveatis!--Beware! Beware! If we accept this definition we go against all the tradition of the Church and we pervert the meaning of marriage. We do not have the right to modify the Church's traditional definitions.”

He quoted texts in support of his warning and there was great agitation in the nave of St. Peter's. Cardinal Suenens was pressed by the Holy Father to moderate the terms he had used and even to change them. The Pastoral Constitution, Gaudium et Spes, contains nevertheless an ambiguous passage, where emphasis is laid on procreation “without nevertheless minimizing the other aims of marriage.” The Latin verb, post habere, permits the translation “without putting in second place the other aims of marriage,” which would mean “to place them all on the same level.” This is what is wanted nowadays; all that is said about marriage comes back to the false idea expressed by Cardinal Suenens, that conjugal love--which was soon termed quite simply and much more crudely “sexuality”--comes at the head of the purposes of marriage. Consequently, under the heading of sexuality, everything is permitted--contraception, family planning and finally, abortion.

One bad definition, and we are plunged into total disorder. 

Thus, Cardinal Kasper, one of the prime Post-Conciliar wreckovators of the Traditional concept of marriage, now wants to profit from the disorder he and his confreres helped create. First the innovators created the confusion as to what marriage is, and now they cry that half of the marriages must be invalid because the people getting married are confused!

Further, Kasper has the audacity to say that one ground of marriage invalidity is the couple believing that they have the right to leave the marriage if it fails. But isn’t this precisely the right that Kasper is arguing for in the Synod? The right for married and divorced Catholics to re-marry and receive Communion after their first marriage “fails?”

Thus Kasper sets up a perpetual circle of marriage invalidity. If his proposal passes, couples will know they have the ability to marry again if the marriage they are entering into “fails.” Yet if the couple believes this, according to Kasper, it would invalidate the very marriage the couple is attempting to contract. Therefore, if we follow Kasper’s “logic” to its conclusion, we see that it would practically end marriage in the Catholic Church.

The interviewer then asks the Cardinal how he responds to Cardinal Caffarra who, in discussing Kasper’s proposal, asked publicly “What happens to the first marriage?”

Kasper: The first marriage is indissoluble because marriage is not only a promise between the two partners; it’s God’s promise too, and what God does is done for all time. Therefore the bond of marriage remains…The second marriage, of course, is not a marriage in our Christian sense. And I would be against celebrating it in church. But there are elements of a marriage. I would compare this to the way the Catholic Church views other churches. The Catholic Church is the true church of Christ, but there are other churches that have elements of the true church, and we recognize those elements. In a similar way, we can say, the true marriage is the sacramental marriage. And the second is not a marriage in the same sense, but there are elements of it—the partners take care of one another, they are exclusively bound to one another, there is an intention of permanence, they care of children, they lead a life of prayer, and so on. It’s not the best situation. It’s the best possible situation. Realistically, we should respect such situations, as we do with Protestants. We recognize them as Christians. We pray with them.

Thus, Kasper amazingly uses the confused ecclesiology of Vatican II, to further confuse Church teaching on marriage. If the second marriage is not a marriage in “our Christian sense” then it is not a marriage. An adulterous relationship, no matter how much it may externally resemble a true marriage, is not a marriage. Further, even if the second marriage, per impossible, were a true marriage, the divorced and remarried Catholic would then be committing the sin of bigamy.

Clearly Cardinal Kasper, through his deceptive use of sophistry and confusion, is trying to justify fornication in an adulterous union as something acceptable to Catholic morality. Instead of trying to be reasoned with, as if he were making a rational theological argument, the man should be censured for denying Catholic doctrine. However, as all Modernists before him, the Cardinal has the audacity to protest that he denies no such thing.

Kasper: In no way do I deny the indissolubility of a sacramental marriage. That would be stupid.

Indeed, this idea would be stupid to Kasper, but not because he believes that the indissolubility of marriage is Catholic doctrine. Rather because denying the doctrine outright would make it very easy for his opponents to marginalize him. Thus Kasper resorts to the age old tactic of the Modernists in affirming the letter of Catholic doctrine, while gutting it of all meaning.

In the interview, Kasper also provides more shocking evidence of the notion that the Pope favors Communion for the divorced and remarried. A notion denied by our Neo-Catholic brethren. Kasper is speaking of a divorced and remarried woman in the following anecdote:

Kasper: …I know a woman who prepared her daughter for First Communion. The parish priest said the girl can go to Holy Communion, but not mama. I told the pope about this, and he said, “No, that’s impossible.”

Thus it is time for Neo-Catholic apologists to break out their rationalization dart-board. The only question is whether the dart will land on “translation error”, “misunderstanding”, or “annulment and radical sanation by phone.”

Cardinal Kasper then continues by conflating spiritual communion with sacramental Communion.:

Kasper: Pope Benedict XVI has already said that such [divorced and remarried] Catholics can receive spiritual communion. Spiritual communion is to be one with Christ. But if I am one with Christ, I cannot be in a situation of grave sin. So if they can receive spiritual communion, why not also sacramental Communion?...Being in spiritual communion with Christ means God has forgiven this person. So the church, though the sacrament of forgiveness, should also be able to forgive if God does it. Otherwise there is an opposition between God and church—and that would be a great problem.

This is, of course absurd. The entire reason one makes a spiritual communion instead of receiving Sacramental Communion is because one is aware of committing an unconfessed grave sin which precludes one from doing so. A spiritual communion is advised in this situation in the hopes that it will inflame the will of the sinner towards contrition and sacramental absolution. It was never meant to be a substitution for or a bypassing of the sacrament of Penance.

Mercifully, the interview then draws to a close. But not before Cardinal Kasper lays out what we can expect under the rest of Pope Francis’ reign:

Kasper: I have the impression that Pope Francis is determined to make some changes. He’s already made very important ones. I think there’s already a point of no return…Pope John XXIII only had five years, and he changed a lot. There was also a point of no return with Paul VI. Pope Francis cannot do everything by himself; he thinks in categories of process. He wants to initiate a process that continues beyond him. He will have the opportunity to appoint, I think, 40 percent of the cardinals, and they're the ones who will elect a new pope. In that way he’s able to condition a new conclave.

May God have mercy on His Church!


Last modified on Thursday, May 8, 2014