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Wolves in Wolf's Clothing

by Christopher A. Ferrara

That’s gratitude for you. No sooner does Karl Lehmann get his Cardinal’s hat than he calls for a Third Vatican Council to address “problems” with the papacy. This is the same Cardinal Lehmann who, as Bishop Lehmann, publicly defied the Pope’s directive that the German bishops cease issuing “counselling” certificates to German women which they were using to obtain abortions.

Now we find that, according to The Tablet (April 28, 2001), the Vatican Secretary of State, Angelo Sodano, “had originally supported Lehmann’s position in the controversy over whether the Catholic Church in Germany should continue to provide some of the pregnancy counselling centers there, as Lehmann desired. The question was whether the Church was colluding in abortion by issuing certificates confirming that pregnant women in distress had been given counselling, if these were then used to secure a termination. It had been Sodano’s opinion that such matters could be decided by the local bishops’ conferences, but eventually he was forced to sign a decree together with Ratzinger which compelled the German Catholic bishops to pull out . . .” This is the same Cardinal Sodano who, in his famous address at the Lateran in 1998, praised the writings of Hans Küng, and called him “the German theologian,” even though Cardinal Ratzinger (by order of John Paul II) had stripped Küng of his theological credentials in 1998.

The Tablet sees in the elevation of Lehmann and his fellow dissenter in the German episcopate, Bishop Walter Kasper (whose writings cast doubt on the Bodily Resurrection and the existence of the person of Satan), the end of the “Ratzinger era.” The newspaper noted that “During the ceremony in St. Peter’s Square, it was noticeable how cordially Cardinal Sodano, Secretary of State, embraced Cardinal Lehmann at the kiss of peace, whereas Cardinal Ratzinger’s congratulation was monosyllabic.”

Interesting, Cardinal Sodano, who oversees the persecution of Father Nicholas Gruner, warmly embraces a Cardinal who defended the practice of Church facilities issuing abortion certificates used to kill children in the womb. And now we have two new German Cardinals — Lehmann and Kasper — who take it as their mission to undermine the centrality of the Roman Church for the sake of ecumenism. Cardinal Kasper has just published an article rejecting Cardinal Ratzinger’s theological statement The Church as Communion, which he issued in 1992 as head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. This document (however ambiguously) upholds the primacy of the universal Church, centered in Rome, over local “particular churches.” As The Tablet notes: “Lehmann and Kasper seek to curb Roman centralism in favor of the teachings of the Second Vatican Council” — that is, “the ‘progressive’ interpretation of Vatican II . . .” Cardinal Kasper in particular objects to the notion that “the one universal Church is . . . identified with the Roman Church, and de facto with the Pope and the Roman Curia.” That is, he objects to the constant teaching of the Church that, as Saint Pius XII affirmed in Humani Generis, “the Mystical Body of Christ and the Roman Catholic Church are one and the same thing.”

The Tablet also noted that “In criticizing Roman centralism, Cardinal Kasper was speaking not only as a theologian, but as the president-to-be of the Council for Promoting Christian Unity.” God help us. The man in charge of “ecumenism” at the Vatican does not believe in the primacy of the Roman Church.

Our Lord warned us about wolves in sheep’s clothing who would come in to ravage the flock after He had ascended to Heaven. But here we are dealing with wolves in wolf’s clothing, who can be seen a mile away. Why in heaven’s name was this pair of professional Church-wreckers given red hats?