Saturday, June 18, 2016

Francis Saying Same Thing About Marriage Two Years Ago [Update 3]

"The vast majority of marriages are invalid, Walter!"
"I know, Jorge. We must not rest until they all are."

Kasper Two Years Ago: Francis Says 50% of Catholic Marriages Invalid

The Bear thought there was something familiar about the ludicrous claim by Pope Francis that the vast majority of marriages were invalid. His Vatican handlers have tossed the Pope's marriage claim down the memory hole by omitting it, and a couple of other embarrassing statements from the official English summary. (h/t Edward Pentin tweet.) (Query, what does one make of an 80-year-old man with disinhibited speech who must have people follow him around erasing his verbal mishaps?)

By the way, does this mean the vast majority of Catholic couples are fornicators, and that the vast majority of Catholic children are bastards? Nice. What could be more destructive of marriage than to question the validity of "the vast majority" of them?  The statement is not just wrong, it is wrong-headed and damaging.

And please, just stop with the "no official Church teachings were harmed in this latest debacle." If Pope Francis said he was hiding a family of Martians in Santa Marta, that wouldn't change Church doctrine. But it would change our valuation of the credibility of Pope Francis generally. The only possible answer left to the question of why we should listen to Pope Francis is "Pope Magic." Seriously. That is what the greatest religious institution of the West has been reduced to in our day.

Anyway, sure enough, two years ago, the Bear had written on Cardinal Kasper's similar claim about the Pope from Lifesite News.

Asked about the situation of marriage in a largely post-Christian world in which most people are at best “baptized pagans,” Kasper said, “I’ve spoken to the pope himself about this, and he said he believes that 50 percent of marriages are not valid.” 
“Marriage is a sacrament. A sacrament presupposes faith. And if the couple only want a bourgeois ceremony in a church because it’s more beautiful, more romantic, than a civil ceremony, you have to ask whether there was faith, and whether they really accepted all the conditions of a valid sacramental marriage—that is, unity, exclusivity, and also indissolubility.”

Someone else more qualified that the Bear is welcome to point out Kasper's (and Pope Francis') bizarro sacramental theology. [Update: See comment 1, by Lurker.] In May 2014, the Bear satirized this under a headline, "Half of All Catholic Marriages to End Sunday."

Cardinal Walter Kasper, acting on, he claims, secret orders from Pope Francis, instructed every Catholic couple to flip a coin before Mass next Sunday before a priest to see if their marriage is valid. If tails, the marriage was invalid and the couple must go to confession before communion. More significantly, their marriage is automatically annulled. 
"Is not such a big ding," the prelate said. "Dere is nutzing to keep dem from gettingzun married again if dey feel like it. But fur all dose couple fur whom der schpark is kaput, it is a wunderbar opportunity to trade up."

Pope Francis' Crypto-Protestantantism

[Update] You see, Francis believes everything comes down to the unmediated personal encounter between God and human. You can have the grace of the sacrament without the form, and you can have the perfect form of the sacrament yet not receive the grace because of an imperfect appreciation of its purpose. It is thus easy to understand why he devalues the Church. It may or may not be of assistance, depending on the individual Catholic's appreciation of its (ever-changing) mission and purpose. But it is not necessary, since a Protestant, or Muslim, or an atheist may be better disposed toward God than an ignorant or uncharitable Catholic.

Protestants teach that there is "an invisible Church of believers," a teaching rejected by the Catholic Church. Similarly, Pope Francis believes there is "an invisible community of valid marriages," which is not one and the same with Catholic sacramental marriages.

Not an Off-the-Cuff Blurt, but Long-Held, Considered Opinion

Pope Francis has firmly held this marriage idea for a long time, and has spoken about in private and in public. It is intellectually dishonest to pretend that it was just something that just now boiled up in his brain during rambling off-the-cuff comments. Could one not instead argue that a firmly held opinion discussed with high-level theologians and taught in public is part of Pope Francis' ordinary magisterium? Assuming, that is, that he has one to exercise?

The Bear is reminded of Roger Waters' song "Watching TV" from the Amused to Death album. "They bought the front row seats on Calvary / they are irrelevant to me." Key word, "irrelevant."

The Bear does not feel the need to argue the point, or tie it all up with some official theory. There are some things that are too slippery for argument, or at any rate would just create a tar baby. He's just a disreputable old show Bear, after all, le jongleur. But he is reminded of the famous observation about treason: "Treason doth never prosper. What's the reason? For if it prosper none dare call it treason."

Almost none.

Ed Peters, Phil Lawler and Fr. Z -- Showing a Bit of Fatigue?

Go here for learned commentary from Ed Peters. He also reminds us that toward the end of the Pope's incoherent ramblings, he actually said that, on the other hand, many co-habitating and civilly married couples DO enjoy the graces of Holy Matrimony.

[Update] Go here to see Fr. Z's tired defense of Francis. (Mainly in the sense that one gets the impression Fr. Z is tired of having to spend his credibility constantly stamping out the same brushfires.) Realize that Phil Lawler from Catholic Culture is being quoted for almost the entire article. Mirabile dictu, neither offers an apologia for Pope Francis. When Fr. Z and Phil Lawler seem tired of Francis, the Pope has a problem.

However, Fr. Z. goes the expected route of "doesn't officially change a thing," and tries to shrug it off with a bit of biting humor intended to put his readers in their place. With sincere respect, the Bear thinks it falls flat. More clerical condescension is the last thing we need. We aren't the problem. Francis is. Having said that, Fr. Z has a difficult task, not fundamentally different from the Bear's. Trust the Bear on this. He knows whereof he speaks. We are both trying to acknowledge that everything is not peachy, but that doesn't mean you can even think about leaving the Church.

The Bear is not only a Bear but a free agent who depends on his readers for salmon. The  Bear answers to no man. Believe the Bear: Fr. Z is one of the good guys, although he can be frustrating sometimes. He's kind of what the Bear would be if the Bear had to be responsible.

What if Pope Francis Were on Parole?

Back to Francis. To put it in terms the Bear is familiar with, your parole officer quickly gets tired of the same excuses for the same infractions, be you ever so winsome. Francis would have been violated a long, long time ago.

Once again, visitors, friends and woodland creatures. This is not a slip during off-the-cuff comments. This is a belief Francis has held for at least two years, discussed with top theologians, and presented twice to the public First through Cardinal Kasper and now personally.
"If this be treason, let us make the most of it."


  1. I must be short for I must soon do my own song and dance this Saturday.

    There perhaps is now enough evidence to label Pope Francis' sacramentology as non-Catholic, and if we dare, Protestant. Pope Francis clearly thinks that belief that something is so, or something is not, is what makes it so. The fullness of grace received in a sacrament is contingent upon the Faith of the individual, but Faith is also a Theological Virtue, a grace given by God. Faith doesn't make the sacrament exist or not. But Pope Francis believes that the sacrament only exists because of the individual's Faith. It is worse when Pope Francis labels things in terms of knowledge. Perfect knowledge has never been necessary. Jesus said "do this" not "understand this" or "believe this".

    We see things through glass darkly...that means that we don't really understand what is going on, but we still act in the way that God has asked us to. This is the way to salvation..the way of humility, the way of true charity.

    Summary: Time to label this as what it is. It is up to the hierarchy to label things as heretical but it can be shown that Luther (insert non-Catholic here) taught X and Pope Francis is also teaching X.

    (50% of marriage might very well be invalid but their invalidity has nothing to do with lack of knowledge or Faith.)

    1. Bear just sniffs and says, "bad gone bad," so thank you.

  2. I think the whole thing is simply that Francis isn't a Catholic, doesn't accept the Church and Sacraments, except in the fuzziest possible Protestant understanding thereof...and shouldn't be pope. It's all that simple.

    And until somebody in authority stands up and says this, at which point I'm sure a lot of support would coalesce around that person immediately, he's getting away with it. I'm sure they're all afraid now that he has announced that he can administratively remove bishops (and presumably, Cardinals) outside of the canonical procedures, with no canonical trial, for virtually any reason he deems appropriate. But they let him get this far, just as our Senators and Reps let Obama take over the US government and make it an executive office only affair. In both cases, I think they were somewhat blindsided, because they honestly believed that the Pope and the President would honor their respective systems and wouldn't simply launch out on their own. And when they did just that, it was too late for either the legislators or the bishops and Cardinals to get a grip on their respective rogue executives.

    1. "But they let him get this far, just as our Senators and Reps let Obama take over the US government and make it an executive office only affair."

      You've missed the real play in the US government. It is the Judicial Branch that has been ceded ruling power. The other two are forever appealing to the Courts to settle their disputes. [in the latest Ryan threatens to sue Trump over a wuslim ban].

      This is all very politically convenient. The elected officials can always wring their hands and say there's nothing they can do: Rome has spoken. At the same time they can appeal to voters on how important it is to elect their party so the "right" justices get nominated.

    2. Yes, America ended in quite the oligarchy. Until Scalia died, Anthony Kennedy, as the swing vote, literally decided all the most important issues of the day all by himself.

      Congress has the means to remove jurisdiction from the judiciary, but has never, as far as I know, exercised it.

    3. There was one case where Congress asserted primary jurisdiction over the Supreme Court: Ex parte McCardle.

      Between the powers to impeach both the President and a Justice as well as assertion of jurisdiction, Flea does not buy the Justice nomination argument for voting GOP.

      Another reason is that Roe was decided by a majority of GOP nominees, as was Casey. Kennedy was nominated by Reagan and gave us Lawrence and Obergefell. Without Warren, Harlan, & Brennan, then Griswold fails. Without Brennan, Stewart & Blackmum, then Eisenstadt fails. With GOP nominees like that, who needs Dem nominees to destroy the nation?

      Now someone might point out that what I've advanced depends on Congress being upright. And there lies the rub. The first cause of the corruption of our government does not lie with "Washington insiders", but rather with the people who voted them in. It would be refreshing for once if so-called reformer politicians would have the spine to say to the people that it's their fault for electing those "Washington insiders". But then they would be unelectable. If you don't give the people what they want, you are not getting into office. So where does the real corruption lie? (cf. 1 Sam 8:7-8).

  3. Note the oddest part--if you believed that marriage is truly in this state of catastrophe, wouldn't you, as a shepherd, respond by having every priest preach every single Sunday on doctrine? On marriage as indissoluble? On contraception has a grave evil? or pronography as a terrible sin? On the four last things? Etc etc.?

    And yet, no one is saying they must. So the invalidity must not matter. Huh.

    1. As has been suggested by both Joseph Shaw of the English Latin Mass Society and Zippy Catholic, if we really thought that many marriages were invalid, the proper response would be pushing convalidations, much like if there was a worry about valid Baptisms we would push conditional Baptism.

      So yeah, this is just another excuse for handing out "annulments" like candy.


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