Saturday, October 11, 2014

Countering Conceits of Graduality with a Framework of Fortitude

During a February 2014 Consistory in anticipation  for the Extraordinary Synod on the Family, Archbishop Walter Cardinal Kasper (President Emeritus of the Pontifical Council Promoting Christian Unity) suggested that there ought to be some sort of accommodation for Catholics who are civilly divorced and who remarry.  This sort of gradualism would allow such Catholics to receive communion after a period of penance.  Cardinal Kasper's modest proposal received more credence as the 80 year old Cardinal had been tagged as Pope Francis' theologian, as the Holy Father specifically praised Kasper  in his first Angelus as a clever theologian, especially for his book  Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and the Key to Christian Life (2014).

But as the Synod met at the Vatican, discussions centered around how Natural Law informs cultural challenges to the family.

Archbishop Wilfrid  Cardinal Napier (of the Archdiocese of Durban, South Africa) wondered if German Catholics who are civilly divorced and  remarry receiving the sacrament would be parallel to a man in a polygamous marriage receiving the sacrament.   Napier seemed to support the traditional notion of fortitude or "carrying the cross with Christ". 

This Synod on the Family is merely doing the preparation work for a larger Synod to be held next fall.  Those who hope that there will be a change in doctrine may be quite disappointed as even the liberal National Catholic Reporter indicates that there will be no change in doctrine. 

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