We have $163,080 to go in our Fall Campaign. Every penny is used to strengthen the Church. See details!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Douthat, Kasper, and Communion—continuing a conversation

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | May 10, 2014

Ross Douthat, whose thoughts prompted one of my several recent reflections on the Kasper proposal, has continued the discussion with another good post, in which he asks and tentatively answers this important question:

When it seems that the pope is considering what seems like a doctrinal change, what is the appropriate response?

The situation poses a dilemma, Douthat concludes, and I agree—as I agree with nearly all that he says here. The key question, on which he and I differ somewhat, involves how loyal Catholics should react when they perceive a dangerous momentum toward a pastoral (or, arguendo, even doctrinal) disaster.

Since posting that comment about Douthat’s thoughts, I have returned to the Kasper proposal here and here, and I expect to post another column early next week. Douthat promises more, too, and I look forward to continuing the conversation.

For now, as a quick response to Douthat’s latest, first one clarification and then one quibble.

When I suggested that Douthat might be unduly influenced by fractious conservatives, I did not have Michael Brendan Dougherty in mind. I enjoy Dougherty’s work, and even when he takes a stance in opposition the Pope, I understand that he is trying to accomplish something useful, even while I disagree with him. If Douthat has not explored further into the dark corners of the traditionalist Catholic blogosphere, so much the better.

But I am not ready to concede that Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri, the secretary-general of the Synod of Bishops, expressed or even implied support for the Kasper proposal in a recent interview with a Belgian magazine. Maybe he did; I haven’t seen a translation of his remarks. But the few quotes that have appeared to date in English are entirely anodyne—so unremarkable, in fact, that I didn’t think they merited coverage in Catholic World News.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Our Fall Campaign
Progress toward our year-end goal ($163,080 to go):
$200,000.00 $36,919.72
82% 18%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 2 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: mateskub8508 - May. 15, 2014 7:23 AM ET USA

    Many ministers of the Church do need a change in their pastoral approach of the problem. When someone says mercy toward and respect for remarried divorcees, I am afraid, many jump to the conclusion that what is meant is to let them receive communion, whereas it is the contrary. Mercy and respect toward a person in an irregular marital situation is to tell them the truth, that they are in a situation in which they can't (yet) receive. We need to find new ways to tell them that with love and mercy

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - May. 11, 2014 1:45 PM ET USA

    Carefully reading Baldisseri, some red flags pointing to change popup: "the last major document in the past thirty years about this topic." with the implication that FC (1981) has lost its relevance to the real world in the same manner as Casti Connubii (1930) lost it in fifty years. "... allow [the synod fathers] to give a more appropriate response to the expectations of the people." with the implication that the current response is no longer appropriate. Change is being baked-in.

Fall Campaign
Subscribe for free
Shop Amazon
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Recent Catholic Commentary

Church Fathers: St. Clement of Alexandria, Part I 0 hours ago
Internalizing marriage at this year's synod 2 hours ago
Gay Vatican official who 'came out' may influence Synod in a way he didn't expect--or want 20 hours ago
Another serial killer? Blame 'religious rage.' 23 hours ago
At Synod's opening session, evidence of a different dynamic October 5

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope issues new rules to streamline annulment process CWN - September 8
In Cuba, Pope emphasizes service to the vulnerable, praises thaw in US-Cuban relations CWN - September 21
Pope challenges America in speech to US Congress CWN - September 24
As Synod opens, Pope calls on Church to defend ‘unity and indissolubility’ of marriage bond CWN - October 5