The Kasper proposal: a friendly amendment

By Phil Lawler ( bio - articles - email ) | Sep 24, 2014

An old friend recently wrote to me with a suggestion that seems so practical, it deserves broad consideration:

I find in myself growing sympathy for Cardinal Kasper's concern for a "pastoral solution" to the problem of admitting divorced and remarried Catholics to Communion, and I wish to propose an adjustment in liturgical practice that, I believe, should work to the satisfaction of all parties to the dispute.

I believe it opportune that, at public celebrations of the Eucharist, the presider should add to the ciborium a certain number of hosts made of invalid matter, such as rice-, rye-, or barley- flour, preferably distinguishable by shape and/or color from the valid wheaten hosts. It is these hosts that should be distributed to the divorced and remarried at Communion-time, inasmuch as the reception of the apparently valid but actually profane wafer corresponds perfectly to their superficially regular but actually defective communion with the Church Catholic.

But how, you ask, is the Minister of the Eucharist to know which communicants are true Catholics and which belong to the class of the divorced and remarried? Not a problem. The divorced and remarried will be distinguished by wearing a large red upper-case alpha on their chest, indicating their reception of the antidoron (as the Orthodox churches term the non-consecrated bread distributed after the Holy Synaxis).

This pastorally sensitive adaptation would demonstrate to the world not only the Church's due regard for those in "insoluble marital situations," but her openness to ecumenical progress as well.

Phil Lawler has been a Catholic journalist for more than 30 years. He has edited several Catholic magazines and written eight books. Founder of Catholic World News, he is the news director and lead analyst at CatholicCulture.org. See full bio.

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  • Posted by: Archpriest - Mar. 18, 2017 4:54 PM ET USA

    As a non-Irish Catholic I always find myself a bit "pissed off"at the ecclesiastical over-kill hoopla for St. Patrick's day. Don't get me wrong, I rejoice with the Irish on the feast day of Saint Patrick. I am of French Canadian descent and from an area where more than half of the Catholics are of French descent. Dispensations. Green mastheads in diocesan papers etc. Where is the same treatment for the feast days of French or German or Polish or Slovak or Vietnamese etc. Catholics?

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Mar. 17, 2017 3:55 PM ET USA

    All this fuss over corned beef and cabbage...Seriously?

  • Posted by: shrink - Mar. 17, 2017 11:25 AM ET USA

    My lineage on both sides is 110 percent from the British Isles. I can attest to the fact that all dishes emanating from any of these fair isles are always a penance to partake. The whiskies and scotch, however, are an entirely different matter.

  • Posted by: iprayiam5731 - Mar. 17, 2017 9:28 AM ET USA

    In my diocese, it is a commutation, not a dispensation, we are required to abstain on a different day in its place. More importantly, why all the fuss? Catholic adults need to grow up. I get that bishops are just trying to be nice and 'accommodate' or maybe just trying to make headlines. But to me it sends the wrong message: "Look, nobody expects you to 'inconvenience' yourself with Catholic devotion. We would never ask you to put spirituality above cultural indulgence and temporal pleasure."

  • Posted by: filioque - Sep. 26, 2014 7:10 PM ET USA

    Oh, too cute. Let's have more of these modest proposals!

  • Posted by: - Sep. 26, 2014 5:12 PM ET USA

    So fitting. Red is the wrong shade. Scarlet is the color we are looking for. antidoron my eye!

  • Posted by: - Sep. 24, 2014 2:00 PM ET USA

    Ain't it 7 months or more til April Fools Day? U can't possibly be serious with this post, right? R u now writing for high schoolers exclusively?