Methinks the Cardinal doth protest too much

After a long hiatus, the blog is back. If you thought I was dead, I hope you have been praying for my soul.

Cardinal Kasper turns his attention to a second situation, namely those who really had valid, sacramental marriages and yet by some tragic circumstance their life partnership is broken and one or both have contracted a second, civil marriage. He begins by warning:

It would be mistaken to seek the resolution of the problem in a generous expansion of the annulment process. The disastrous impression would thereby be created that the Church is proceeding in a dishonest way by granting what, in reality, are divorces.

This is surely right, although I would be hard pressed to find another description of Kasper’s approach to this point as something other than a “generous expansion of the annulment process.” He has suggested that we strip away the judicial process and entrust the whole thing to an individual who knows the people well and will be sympathetic; he offers no account of how this will result in anything but more annulments.

It reminds me of Hans Urs von Balthasar, who had a habit of penning the most outrageous theological statements and then appending, “but not in a heretical sense, of course”—leaving his unhappy reader to figure it out. And I know a fellow whose trademark conversational tick is to preface all his potentially upsetting remarks by denying he means to do what he is doing: “I don’t mean this at all to criticize anyone,” but you’re all doing a lousy job; “I don’t mean this at all to disparage what was done before me,” but it nearly wrecked the place.

Already I find it hard to believe Kasper’s protestations of caution. But as we get further into his text, it will get even harder to believe in his sincerity.

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Author: Dr. Holmes

Dr. Jeremy Holmes teaches Theology at Wyoming Catholic College. He lives in Wyoming with his wife, Jacinta, and their eight children.

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