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“Ecumenical Follies” Update

Kasper Trudges On, Uselessly

by Christopher A. Ferrara

Cardinal Walter Kasper’s address to the “Anglican Communion” at its Lambeth Conference on July 30, 2008 is a prime example of the absurdity of “ecumenical dialogue.” In the face of the accelerating decomposition of this “Communion” on account of its purported “ordination” and “episcopal consecration” of women and homosexuals — developments which have driven more conservative Anglicans to lodge a now-pending request for a mass return to Rome — Kasper continues to pretend that the “Anglican Communion” has a future.

As he declared to the Lambeth Conference: “We hope that we will not be drawn apart, and that we will be able to remain in serious dialogue in search of full unity, so that the world may believe.” What? Is Kasper seriously suggesting that whether the world will believe in Christ depends on whether Rowan Williams and his band of loons achieve “full unity” with the Catholic Church?

And what is this “full unity” of which Kasper speaks? Is there such a thing as “partial” unity? Perhaps as a verbal formulation, but not in reality. The Catholic Church is the Mystical Body of Christ. The members of that Mystical Body can no more be partially united to her than one’s hand can be partially united to one’s physical body. A partially united hand is a dead hand. And the Anglican Church — as recent events would show even to the comatose — is a dead “church.”

“[T]he Anglican Communion contains significant elements of the Church of Jesus Christ,” said Kasper. Yes, and a junkyard contains “significant elements” of an automobile. But what good are they without the functioning whole? Aside from a valid baptism, which (as the Catholic Church teaches) any heretic can provide, the Anglican Church has no “elements” to offer: no priesthood and no episcopate (as Pope Leo XIII infallibly decreed in Apostolicae Curae [1896]) and thus no valid Mass, and certainly no authentic teaching of the Gospel.

Ignoring reality, Kasper further declared: “[W]hen we can look back at what the Anglican-Roman Catholic International Commission (ARCIC) has accomplished over the past nearly four decades, we can say with confidence that it has indeed borne good fruit.”

Really? Where is it, Cardinal Kasper? After forty years of useless “ecumenical dialogue,” the Anglican Church has countenanced not only contraception and abortion, but the “ordination” and “episcopal consecration” of women and homosexuals to join the ranks of the other lay people in clerical costumes who identify themselves as Anglican clergy. Even conservative Anglicans want out of the “Anglican Communion,” yet Kasper sees “good fruits” in the dialogue with this ever-more-decrepit human organization. There are none so blind as “ecumenists” who will not see.

Turning to the question of women’s “ordination,” Kasper offered this howler: “As you well know, the ordinations of women to the priesthood in several Anglican provinces, beginning in 1974, and to the episcopate, beginning in 1989, have greatly complicated relations between the Anglican Communion and the Catholic Church.”

Yes, and suicide greatly complicates relations with the living. Does the Cardinal not realize that he has descended to the level of self-parody?

Next the Cardinal offered this hard-hitting observation: “It also seems to us that the Anglican commitment to being ‘episcopally led and synodically governed’ has not always functioned in such a way as to maintain the apostolicity of the faith…”

No! Really? What makes you think that, Cardinal?

Further regarding the “ordination” and “consecration” of women and homosexuals, Kasper stated that “the Catholic position, which understands itself to be consistent with the New Testament and the apostolic tradition, is well known.”

So, it’s the “Catholic position,” is it? Well, a “position” or an understanding of self is hardly the same as a dogmatic truth revealed by God Incarnate. But such is the corrosive language of “ecumenism,” which not only fails to convince anyone outside the Church that she alone teaches the whole truth of the Gospel, but actually undermines the faith of Catholics by reducing Church teaching to a collection of “positions” and “understandings” to be discussed with “dialogue partners.”

At the end of his address, however, Kasper finally hinted that what the Catholic Church teaches just might be what God has revealed: “The Catholic Church finds herself bound by the will of Jesus Christ and does not feel free to establish a new tradition alien to the tradition of the Church of all ages.”

Feel free? Is this a matter of “feelings” or of man’s strict duty to believe and to do as Christ commands?

And then the Cardinal, having just praised the non-existent “good fruits” of “ecumenical dialogue” with the loony Anglicans, actually seemed to admit defeat: “While our dialogue has led to significant agreement on the understanding of ministry, the ordination of women to the episcopate effectively and definitively blocks a possible recognition of Anglican Orders by the Catholic Church.”

Just a moment, Cardinal: There is no “possibility” of the recognition of Anglican orders. As he has been doing for years, Kasper continues to challenge the Church’s infallible teaching that, as Pope Leo XIII declared, “ordinations carried out according to the Anglican rite have been, and are, absolutely null and utterly void.” (Apostolicae Curae, 36).

What is it that Kasper does not understand about this infallible pronouncement? Is it the word absolutely? Or perhaps null gives him some difficulty. Is the word void unclear to him? Kasper needs to explain how he finds a “possibility” of validity in the phrase “absolutely null and utterly void.” Or else he needs to explain why we should not view him as simply what he appears to be: a neo-Modernist enemy of the Faith.

At any rate, and even more tellingly, Kasper added: “It now seems that full visible communion as the aim of our dialogue has receded further, and that our dialogue will have less ultimate goals and therefore will be altered in its character. While such a dialogue could still lead to good results, it would not be sustained by the dynamism which arises from the realistic possibility of the unity Christ asks of us, or the shared partaking of the one Lord’s table, for which we so earnestly long.”

Translation: The Catholic Church cannot get anywhere with the “Anglican Communion.” There is no realistic possibility of “full unity” between it and the Catholic Church, and the entire process of “ecumenical dialogue” has ended in a disastrous failure.

But why was it not apparent to Vatican “ecumenists” from the beginning that there could have been no other outcome? Why did they not see from the start that there can be no “dialogue” with a “church” whose very origin and continued existence depends upon a rejection of the authority of the one true Church that Christ established? The answer to these questions lies in the “diabolical disorientation” of the Church, of which initiatives like “ecumenical dialogue” and prelates like Kasper are symptomatic. It is from this parlous condition of the Church that Our Lady of Fatima must deliver us.