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"Kasper the Friendly Heretic" Update

Kasper Undermines What He Appears to Defend

by Christopher A. Ferrara

Cardinal William Kasper is a very skillful theological termite, who manages to undermine the Faith while seeming to defend what he calls "the Catholic perspective" on "ecumenical issues." Witness Kasper’s address to the "House of Bishops" of the "Church of England" on June 5, 2006, concerning its debate over whether to "ordain" women "bishops" (which has already happened in the American and Canadian branches of the "Anglican Communion").

First of all there is the theme of Kasper’s address: "Ecumenical dialogue in the true sense of the word has as its goal the restoration of full Church communion. That has been the presupposition of our dialogue until now. That presupposition would realistically no longer exist following the introduction of the ordination of women to episcopal office."

This one statement alone is full of subtle subversion: First, the statement implies that there could actually be "full Church communion" between the Anglican Church, a human organization founded by Henry VIII that preaches a "gospel" full of heresy and immorality, and the Catholic Church, founded by God Incarnate in the Person of Jesus Christ.

Second, the statement implies that the ordination of women as priests is not an insuperable obstacle to "full Church communion," when obviously the madness of women priests in and of itself precludes any possibility of "communion" between the Catholic Church and the Anglican "Church."

Third, by speaking of "full Church communion" the statement implicitly denies the teaching of the Catholic Church, affirmed in Dominus Iesus, that Protestant sects, including the "Church" of England, are not churches at all, since they lack Holy Orders (as Pope Leo XIII infallibly declared in Apostolicae Curiae) and a valid Holy Eucharist. Hence there is only one way for Anglicans to achieve "full Church communion" with Catholics: by leaving the Anglican pseudo-church and becoming members of the Catholic Church.

Kasper, in the manner of all "ecumenists," pretends there is some other way to Christian unity besides the conversion of the non-Catholic party. According to Kasper, the big problem is not the fundamental impossibility of any "communion" between the one true Church of Christ and the "church" of Henry VIII. No, it’s this lady bishop thing that bothers Kasper.

Concerning the ordination of women as priests, however, we find more subversion in Kasper’s address. Kasper presents the Church’s infallible teaching against the ordination of women as merely "the official argumentation of the Catholic Church…" and the Church’s "position" on the matter. The Catholic Church, says Kasper, is "convinced that it had no authority for such ordinations…. It therefore considers such ordinations invalid."

Thus, a truth of revelation itself  —  that Christ calls only men to the sacred priesthood  —  is reduced to a mere argument, position, conviction or consideration of the Catholic party to "ecumenical dialogue." The Catholic Church’s sole and exclusive authority to speak infallibly on this question is passed over in silence, as if the Catholic Church were just another party with an opinion on the matter.

Concerning "women priests" Kasper goes on to say that "it can be academically demonstrated that the rejection of the ordination of women within the tradition was not predicated on contemporary concepts alone but in essence on theological arguments. Therefore it should not be assumed that the Catholic Church will one day revise its current position."

What clever modernist this man is: See how he creates just a bit of wiggle room for the idea that the Church could someday approve the ordination of women. We should not assume the Church will one day revise its "position," says Kasper, because that position is founded on "theological arguments" which can be "academically demonstrated." But implicitly denigrated and thus denied is the Church’s unique role in declaring infallibly, with no prospect of later change, that the ordination of women is simply impossible  —  now and forever  —  because it is contrary to the revealed will of God Himself.

Having reduced the infallible teaching against women priests to a "position" of the Catholic Church of which she is "convinced" by "academic demonstrations" and "theological arguments," Kasper proceeds to do the same with respect to women "bishops."

The idea of women "bishops," says Kasper, "confronts us with a new situation relative to the ordination to the priesthood, and represents a considerable further escalation of the problem." Thus, the absurdity of women bishops is not simply rejected as contrary to revelation, explicated by the infallible teaching authority of the Catholic Church, but rather as merely the escalation of a theological "problem."

For Modernists, you see, there are no absolutely right or wrong answers, but only "problems" to be worked upon endlessly by means of "arguments" and "demonstrations" which never really end. For the Modernist, the Church does not teach with a peremptory authority that men may not question. The Church merely proposes "solutions" to various "problems"  —  such as the "problem" of women "bishops"  —  which solutions are then up for discussion in the hope of reaching an agreement with the non-Catholic interlocutor through "ecumenical dialogue."

Here the theological subversion in Kasper’s address comes fully to light: After making various academic and historical arguments against women "bishops" and suggesting that even the Anglicans agree with some of these arguments, Kasper concludes: "The decision for the ordination of women to the episcopal office can only be made with an overwhelming consensus, and must not in any way involve a conflict between the majority and the minority. It would be desirable that this decision would be made with the consensus of the ancient churches of the East and West…. It should then not take place, or should be postponed until a broader consensus can be reached."

Simply amazing: While purporting to defend infallible Catholic teaching on the impossibility of women priests and bishops, Kasper ultimately reduces the entire question to one of consensus. Nowhere, absolutely nowhere, does Kasper state in his address that it is objectively, absolutely and infallibly the case that there can be no such thing as a female priest or bishop, no matter how "overwhelming" a contrary "consensus" might be.

See, then, how Kasper ultimately relativizes infallible Catholic teaching against women’s ordination, along with every other teaching of the Church in the process. For Kasper, it is as if there were no infallible Magisterium that has spoken once and for all on this and other questions. For Kasper, it is a matter of arguments, positions, demonstrations and, finally, the achievement of a consensus. For Kasper, like any other Modernist, there is no absolute truth, placed forever beyond further discussion and debate.

Leaving no doubt that he has no respect whatever for the Church’s unique role as the one infallible teacher of truth in these matters, Kasper concludes that "the growing practice of the ordination of women to priesthood led to an appreciable cooling-off [of ecumenism]. A resolution in favor of the ordination of women to the episcopate within the Church of England would most certainly lower the temperature once more; in terms of the possible recognition of Anglican orders, it would lead not only to a short-lived cold, but to a serious and long-lasting chill."

By referring to the "possible recognition of Anglican orders" Kasper yet again (see my previous columns on this subject) undermines the infallible teaching of Leo XIII in Apostolicae Curiae that Anglican orders are absolutely invalid and could never be recognized by the Catholic Church. As even the secular online encyclopedia Wikipedia notes, in his theological commentary on John Paul II’s apostolic letter "Ad Tuendam Fidem," then Cardinal Ratzinger "listed Leo XIII’s Apostolicae Curae, declaring Anglican Holy Orders to be ‘absolutely null and utterly void,’ as one of the irreversible teachings to which Roman Catholics must give firm and definitive assent."

It is obvious that Cardinal Kasper does not give firm and definitive assent to the irreversible teaching of the Catholic Church. He continues impudently to imply that it is still up for grabs and could someday be reconsidered.

Kasper’s public statements, many of them noted in this column, leave no doubt that he is a pernicious Modernist whose occupation of a high Vatican office presents a clear and present danger to the entire Church. One must say that the currently reigning Pope has a duty to remove this man from all positions of authority until he publicly and unequivocally affirms his adherence to Catholic doctrine and dogma by subscribing without reservation to a detailed profession of the Faith. That is how the great Pope Saint Pius X dealt with Modernists, and that is how they should be dealt with today.