|"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."
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."|