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"Kasper the Friendly Heretic" Update

Kasper Calls for Tinkering with the Papacy

by Christopher A. Ferrara

This column has recounted how Cardinal Walter Kasper has publicly denied the necessity of Jewish and Protestant conversion, denied the defined dogma that the Old Covenant has been superseded by the New Covenant, and called into question the dogma of the apostolic succession as an unbroken line of Catholic bishops going back to the original twelve Apostles.

During a talk he gave in Kansas City in early 2002, Bishop Fellay of the Society of Saint Pius X recounted the following story concerning the elevation of Walter Kasper to the rank of Cardinal: "I heard from another Cardinal that when Cardinal Ratzinger heard that Walter Kasper was about to be nominated he went to see the Pope and said to him, ‘Kasper is a heretic!’ (Cardinal) Castrillón explained to me how the Vatican was obliged to give a Cardinal to Germany. The nominations were made during the big fight in Germany over Church-assisted abortion."

If the former Cardinal Ratzinger really believes that Kasper is a heretic  —  and by his own words he is  —  then why is Kasper still head of the Pontifical Council of Christian Unity during the pontificate of Benedict XVI? I believe the faithful are entitled to an answer to that question.

Meanwhile, Kasper is still busy gnawing away, termite-like, at the integrity of the Faith. As reported by Zenit on May 26, 2005, he addressed the Italian National Eucharistic Congress on that date, before an audience that included Orthodox Archbishop Kirill of Yaroslavl and Rostov of the Moscow Patriarchate, and Lutheran Bishop Eero Huovinen of Helsinki, Finland.

On that occasion, Kasper referred to John Paul II's frankly stupefying proposal in the 1995 encyclical Ut Unum Sint that the Catholic Church, together with Protestant and Orthodox theologians, should "find a way of exercising the [papal] primacy which, while in no way renouncing what is essential to its mission, is nonetheless open to a new situation."

Kasper then asked: "What is impeding us from starting today, here in Bari, to discuss this proposal? Why not reflect together on an osmosis between the principle of synodality and collegiality and the Petrine principle, which, precisely in past weeks, has shown its spiritual strength?"

What is all of this supposed to mean? What exactly is this "osmosis between the principle of synodality and collegiality and the Petrine principle"? Osmosis? The phrase is perfectly silly. And how does one find "a way of exercising the primacy" that would be acceptable to Protestants and Orthodox without "renouncing what is essential to its [the papacy’s] mission"? That is, how can the Pope exercise his primacy without requiring obedience and submission to his authority  —  precisely what the Protestants and the Orthodox refuse to grant, and will always refuse to grant so long as they remain Protestants and Orthodox?

There are only two interpretations of Kasper’s remarks: either he wishes to diminish the authority of the papacy until it becomes acceptable to the Protestants and the Orthodox, or he is merely playing a verbal game he knows will result in no real change in the papacy. In the first case he is espousing heresy, and in the second he is merely dishonest. Take your pick.

If the current Pope, as Cardinal Ratzinger, warned his predecessor that Kasper is a heretic who should not be made a Cardinal, then how can he fail to remove that heretic from his high position in the Vatican? Right now, however, the sound of a termite chewing is being heard throughout the Church. And Kasper is only one member of a vast hive of ecclesial termites that have flourished in the absence of any exterminator for the past forty years.