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November 2001 No. 43
Cardinals with No Faith
Recently we have seen that Pope John Paul II appointed as Cardinals two German Bishops, Walter Kasper and Karl Lehmann. On what merits? We have illustrated them in the past (see here and also more recently here), but since time has passed, it is well to recall them in order to better understand the gravity of these appointments vis à vis the facts.
For Walter Kasper, the miracles narrated in the Gospels are not historical facts related as eyewitness testimony by two Apostles, and as testimony heard by two of the Apostles' disciples, nor are they "segni certessimi” of Our Lord Jesus Christ's divinity as defined by Vatican I dogma. Rather, they are "instead, a problem which makes Jesus' activity strange, and difficult for modern man to understand."1,2 So, in homage to "modern man," or to be precise, to prideful man who believes only in himself, Walter Kasper deems himself authorized to put into perspective the "undeniable tradition which witnesses these miracles to us."3
Let us pass over the process that Kasper employs because we've previously treated it,4 and because it is just the parroted echo of the gratuitous assertions of the worst Protestant rationalist "criticism." Instead, let us move on to the conclusions: For Kasper, the new purple biretta, what are Jesus' miracles?
"These non-historical stories," he writes, "are statements of belief in the salvific meaning of the person and message of Jesus."5 Briefly, for Walter Kasper, Jesus never raised either Jairus' daughter or the widow of Naim's son from the dead, nor did He even call Lazarus from his tomb. Neither did He ever calm tempests, nor multiply the loaves, nor walk on water, etc.
According to Kasper, the evangelists invented these "non-historical stories" the way that our grandmothers made up fables at the fireside when there was no television to corrupt children. And just as our grandmothers' fables only sought to inculcate a "morality," so too the Evangelists' "fables" about Jesus' miracles "did not intend to present Jesus as Lord over life and death."6
In any case, for Walter Kasper, also as to his assumption that the miracles did occur-which, like all of the "new theologians" he firmly doubts-Jesus could not have performed miracles simply because he was not God. Jesus, he says, never advanced such "claims," and at Caesarea Philippi, Peter merely confessed, "You are the Messiah," and Jesus also proclaimed this before the Sanhedrin.7 But when the first Christian community confessed that Jesus is the Son of God, it did not in fact mean that Jesus really is the Son of God, but only wished "to express the idea that God manifests and communicates Himself in an absolute and definite way in the story of Jesus." End of story. In fact, the first Christian community did not intend "to acknowledge a dignity for him that would further his claims." Naturally, it was St. Paul's and St. John's habit to further Jesus' "claims."8
In our day, we are fortunate to have the Dutch Catechism to sort out all of this for us. Kasper partakes of its heresy, namely that "the doctrine of Jesus' divinity and humanity constitutes a development of the original conviction that this man is our divine salvation."9
You have read it correctly: salvation is "divine,” but Jesus is simply "this man"! And this would be "the original belief of the faith," indeed, the primitive Church's belief and faith!
We could stop here because we don't see how a man can still exercise his priestly function, be made a Bishop, and today even be made a Cardinal who, in his writings, negates fundamental Christian doctrine, i.e., Our Lord Jesus Christ's divinity, which, rather than heresy ought to be called apostasy.
If Jesus is not God but was made so by his later followers, there can logically be no resurrection. And in fact, Walter Kasper negates the Resurrection. For him, "the empty tomb represents an ambiguous phenomenon, open to different possibilities of interpretation."10 And interpretations of the Resurrection are "beliefs and testimonies produced by people who believe," and who, via the "new theology's" strange logic, necessarily lie, and who also simply attest to whatever facts that they have been lead to believe.
Undoubtedly, he continues, a certain "grossly erroneous type of assertion that Jesus was touched by their hands and ate at the table with his disciples...runs the risk of justifying a too coarse Paschal faith."11 But fortunately, as to the spiritualization of this "coarse" Paschal faith which has been the Church's faith for 2000 years, lo and behold, we have Walter Kasper to inform us that these apparitions were nothing more than "meetings with Christ present in the Spirit."12 Clear, no?
So, for Walter Kasper, Our Lord Jesus Christ was not divine, there were no miracles, no resurrection and, therefore, no ascension.13 And in error's inexorable "logic," there was no Immaculate Conception or divine maternity. Consequently, Walter Kasper actually teaches the windy rehabilitation of Nestorius. Isn't that also logical? If, for Kasper, Jesus is not God, then Nestorius was wrongly condemned for having denied Mary the title, "Mother of God."14 Everything squares in the new Cardinal's "logic." What a pity that it is the logic of apostasy and of total rejection of Revealed Truth!
Karl Lehmann is the other new purple biretta. Lehman's "faith" is specifically exemplified for us in the document of the 1986 Working Group on Justification, and Priestly Ministry (Fribourg in Br.-Göttingen), which he directed along with the Protestant, Pannenberg. On this subject, we shall also limit ourselves to the minimum while referring the reader to a long article published in the September 15, 1987 edition of SiSiNoNo, titled, "Germany: A Disgusting Document of Ecumenical Treason." Lehmann reveals himself to be this document's true "father" or, at least, the standard bearer of the shameful "Joint Declaration on the Doctrine of Justification," signed two years ago by Catholics and Protestants.15
For Lehmann, the Council of Trent's anathemas have no value, because as he and his "separated brethren" say, that Council judged and condemned the "first" Luther. This, so that the "second" Luther might be tidied up and covered over!
Naturally, with satisfaction, the document emphasizes that the "departure from Trent" has been established in the Catholic Church. Obviously, here Lehmann confuses the Catholic Church with the "new theology," which is philo-Protestant and heretical. For this reason, we can understand why he says, "what is decisive in the reformers' conception of faith" no longer constitutes "any problem for today's Catholic theology."16
According to Lehmann, today, the Protestant theses—among which however there is no "departure" from Luther-no longer fall under Trent's anathemas. And, no matter that you might level them again, given that he has denied, par excellence, any value to that dogmatic Council.
In this same document, Protestant heresies are blasphemously and impudently placed on the same plane as Trent's infallible definitions, and Protestant sects' human and heretical "traditions" are put on the same level as the Church's Divine, Apostolic Tradition. Therefore, it is not surprising that just as Carlo M. Martini, S J. would like to send us to the Jews' schools to understand Sacred Scripture,17 so Lehmann would like to send us to the Protestants' school "in order to more profoundly understand the Church's doctrines and their roots."
Regarding this more profound "understanding," he presents proof composed of really many Protestant heresies, including sola Scriptura, which has no component of Tradition and no Magisterium, and is abandonment to private interpretation; and dogmatic relativism, by which a dogma can be true for Catholics and false for Protestants and vice-versa, and so also means that there are only diverse confessional "traditions," all of them respectable, despite the principle of non-contradiction.
Looking forward to Catholics allowing themselves to be instructed by Protestants, Lehmann rejoices that "in reality, the exegetical praxis of both Churches have become largely similar." And for him it is of little importance that the "Catholic" exegetes have aligned themselves with the Protestants, and not vice-versa.
Karl Lehmann speaks of a plurality of "churches," but in reality he partakes of the heresy of the "Church divided," which retains the unity of the Church destroyed by the schisms, against Sacred Scripture and Tradition, which, as faithfully transmitted by the Magisterium, teaches that the schism did not corrode the unity of the Church, exactly as when a dry branch that falls from a tree or is chopped off leaves the integral unity of the tree intact. Karl Lehmann not only unites himself to "the separated brethren" in exalting Luther, but he also unites himself to them in the denigration of the Catholic Church, her doctrine and her "very often unenlightened practices"18
If, then, we consider the document's content relative to doctrine on justification, merit, and on the sacraments, the picture becomes even more distressing: Or, doesn't Karl Lehmann know Catholic doctrine, or does he want to sacrifice it to an imaginary and illusory "consensus" at the expense of, and damage to Divine Revelation?
Here is just one example: Luther reduced the traditional seven sacraments to two, and Lehmann concedes that the relevant condemnation of Trent "can today only have value in a limited way."19 Let us ask: For Lehmann, are there seven or two sacraments? Or better, does he consider the sacraments to be a human or a divine institution? Similarly, Lehmann concedes that the Protestant critique regarding "the Roman Mass's canon's sacrificial thesis" is "understandable"!20 We ask: For Lehmann, is the Mass really a sacrifice, as the Catholic Faith defined it at Trent, or is it only a memorial, as his "separated brethren" want to say? Another cunning condescension: Today's Protestants' position would no longer fall under Trent's anathema only because—playing on words—they speak of the "real presence" in the Eucharist. But by "real presence," they really mean the "personal," spiritual presence and not at all the corporeal presence of Our Lord Jesus Christ.21
Also, in Vatican II texts, the absence of the term "transubstantiation" was hailed as a prudent distancing,22 naturally, from Catholic doctrine. And it doesn't matter at all that the same Pope Paul VI in Mysterium Fidei forced himself to undo this omission of the Council. For Lehmann, the "devotion before the Tabernacle"23 —notice that he puts it in quotation marks-and the Corpus Christi procession, are considered "forms of still conserved medieval devotions." And he supports the liturgical reform's operative reductions, thus confirming that Protestantization of the liturgy denounced by Cardinals Ottaviani and Baci to Pope Paul VI in their Breve esame critico. He also slips toward Protestant theology on Purgatory, which doesn't exist for Protestants; on Communion, which for Protestants is a means of remission of mortal sins; on Confirmation, Extreme Unction, Marriage, and on Ordination. He equivocates on the word, "Sacrament," which Protestants will adopt, but who mean by it something totally different from the Catholic faith's meaning. All of this is either serious or a betrayal, and both of these possibilities are unforgivable in a minister of God, a priest, who ought never to have become a Bishop, and instead, is now even a Cardinal.
If such is Kasper's and Lehmann's faith, it is not difficult to intuit what has become of morality in their hands: abortion, divorce, contraception, abolition of priestly celibacy, etc. Regarding the "remarried divorced," we have stressed here that Cardinals Kasper and Lehmann want to allow them to receive Communion, even if culpable and impenitent, "after an examination of conscience" and "a meeting with a prudent priest-expert." This statement provoked the intervention of the Congregation for the Faith.24
It is superfluous to say that Cardinals Kasper and Lehmann are enemies of the Roman Primate.25
Is it possible that Pope John Paul II is ignorant of much of what we have reviewed here about Kasper and Lehmann? Unfortunately, this is not so. In fact, in Kasper's case, he has treated one of his books that has circulated undisturbed for years in Italy. And in Lehmann's case, he has been treated in an official document on "ecumenical dialogue" in Germany. In any case, to prove that Pope John Paul II was well enough informed, his letter, a monitum that was sent to the German Cardinals at the time of the last consistory, suffices.
The first report on the letter was published on March 12, 2001 by the German daily, Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung. It reported that in the February 22nd letter, the Pope spoke of "confusion and abuse" and of "the decline in human and Christian values in Germany." He deplored an upsurge in liturgy, preaching, catechesis, in management of the community that does not correspond to disciplinary directives and Church teachings; and then, as to ecumenism, the German Bishops are called to guidelines recently presented in Dominus Jesus. Also while praising the German Church's "solid organizational structure," John Paul II warned of the risk of "gutting the Church from within by means that seem strong from the outside, but internally always [cause the Church] to lose ever more strength and credibility.
On May 16, Vatican Radio confirmed the same letter's content, as had been widely purveyed by the German mass media, and carefully repeated by Ansa. Vatican Radio added that the Pope had referred the new German Cardinals to the teaching of Humanae Vitae and to the Congregation for the Faith's letter on the exclusion of the remarried divorced from Holy Communion; it otherwise noted that "confusion and abuses" were lamented, "particularly in the area of intercommunion with Protestants."
Therefore, John Paul II knew and disapproved many things. What sense then is there in making the two Cardinals, warning them within the same act of creating them as such? In his speech, the Pope told the new Cardinals: "Isn't the red of the vestments you wear the burning fire of love for the Church, which ought to nourish in you readiness, if necessary, for the supreme witness to life?" But how can one love the faith and love it "usque ad effusionem sanguinem” if one doesn't have the faith? And can the Cardinal's purple biretta perform the miracle of transforming "Bishops without faith"26 into Cardinals burning with faith unto martyrdom? Won't appointing them Cardinals have the singularly terrible effect of placing them in a position to do major damage to the Church, and no longer only in Germany?
(Translated exclusively for Angelus Press by Suzanne Rini from the Italian edition of SiSiNoNo, No.10, May 31, 2001.)
1. W. Kasper, Gesù Cristo, Queriniana, 6th edition, p. 115.
2. SiSiNoNo [Italian Edition], April 30, 1989, p.4ff.
3. Kasper, ibid.
4. SiSiNoNo [Italian Edition], op. cit.
5. Kasper, op. cit. p. 118.
7. Ibid. p. 143.
8. Ibid, p.233.
9. Ibid, p.223.
10. Ibid, p. 173.
11. Ibid. p. 193.
13. Ibid, p.203.
14. Ibid, p.353.
15. SiSiNoNo [Italian Edition], January 15, 2000, p. 1ff.
16. Lehmann, Working Group on Justification and Priestly Ministry, Fribourg in Br.-Gottingen, 1986, p.57.
17. SiSiNoNo [Italian Edition], August 1985, p.2.
18. Working Group, op. cit., p.64.
19. Ibid. p.81.
20. Ibid. p.93.
21. Ibid. p.97.
22. Ibid. p. 105.
23. Ibid. p. 110
24. SiSiNoNo [Italian Edition], December 15, 1994, p.8.
25. SiSiNoNo [Italian Edition], July, 1986, "The Future of the Church in Germany."
26. SiSiNoNo [Italian Edition], March 15, 1993, p.5.