Hey, don’t listen to those African bishops! Unless you’re an African in Africa…and even then! They haven’t the fullness of our light![/caption]
Yeah, I am sorry; I try not to get into the politics of the church and all that — because I hates it — but Cardinal Kasper is falling victim to the easiest temptation to the ego: to keep talking into microphones when you really should stop.
ZENIT: It has been said that [Pope Francis] added five special rapporteurs on Friday to help the general rapporteur, Cardinal Peter Erdo. Is that because he’s trying to push things through according to his wishes?
Cardinal Kasper: I do not see this going on in the Pope’s head. But I think the majority of these five people are open people who want to go on with this. The problem, as well, is that there are different problems of different continents and different cultures. Africa is totally different from the West. Also Asian and Muslim countries, they’re very different, especially about gays. You can’t speak about this with Africans and people of Muslim countries. It’s not possible. It’s a taboo. For us, we say we ought not to discriminate, we don’t want to discriminate in certain respects.
ZENIT: But are African participants listened to in this regard?
Cardinal Kasper: No, the majority of them [who hold these views won’t speak about them].
ZENIT: They’re not listened to?
Cardinal Kasper: In Africa of course [their views are listened to], where it’s a taboo.
ZENIT: What has changed for you, regarding the methodology of this synod?
Cardinal Kasper: I think in the end there must be a general line in the Church, general criteria, but then the questions of Africa we cannot solve. There must be space also for the local bishops’ conferences to solve their problems but I’d say with Africa it’s impossible [for us to solve]. But they should not tell us too much what we have to do.
Breathtaking condescension from a Western Bishop, whose German church is dwindling and headed for financial ruin, toward the African bishops whose pews and seminaries are indisputably overflowing and joyous.
In some ways, it’s like a mask coming off. Kasper is an openly progressive Catholic who holds opinions that sometimes skirt along the very thin membrane between authentic Catholic teaching and something not-quite in line. He is dependably of times and trends, and most assuredly conforms to the rules of politically correct thought and manners. Most of his admirers run along a similar vein, and yet I just watched a progressive Catholic defend Kasper, and couldn’t help but see the irony: the very people who have inculcated within society the dogma that criticism of any culture (except the Western culture-and-its-traditions) is anathema, when faced with a bit of opposition, are quick to do a complete 180 and suggest that the dissenting culture lacks sufficient enlightenment and need not be listened to, or taken seriously.
The lack of openness within the synod has been troubling. The fact that the African and Eastern churches have thus far not been included among the special rapporteurs is, to my way of thinking, rather shameful. The Eastern (and the African and Asian) churches are facing unimaginable persecution, and yet they are growing, even in the West.
The African and Asian churches are going to provide the bulk of new missionaries who will be needed to evangelize the “jungle of modern Western culture”, which has scant acquaintance with Christ Jesus. Their churches are growing; their priests are excited; why does their thinking not matter?
Moreover — and perhaps this is most important — dismissing and denigrating the African bishops, and the others, could seriously impact their effectiveness as missionaries to the West. “They needn’t be listened to, except in Africa…” I really don’t think Jesus would agree.
And how awful for one bishop to imply, as Kasper does, here, that it’s okay for the African bishops to be listened to in Africa…but not here, in Europe!
The condescension! The privilege! It needs checking. Or, maybe it’s just a “translation” issue. Hm?
That there are problems with some African bishops presenting a terrible position on homosexuality should not mean they should be uniformly stiff-armed. Kasper, contra his own words about the need for open dialogue, open exchange of ideas, open-mindedness, puts all of that away, here. Conform or be discredited; he may not intend it, but that’s where it goes. If he is credible to past statements, he should be saying “we are engaging; speaking openly and listening, and seek God’s help.”
The African and Asian and Eastern bishops need to be heard;** their input is of equal value to the input of any westerner, “progressive” or “traditional.” That they are apparently being pushed aside and disrespected is unconscionable. I am very disappointed that His Holiness has apparently not noticed this and remedied it. I am disappointed that the American bishops are — unless we aren’t hearing about it — making no objection. Earlier, Cardinal Dolan voiced lavish praise for the African’s deep faith and sensibilities, so perhaps someone will say something.
Cardinal Kasper, with all due respect, Eminence, “check your privilege”.
One can reject utterly proposals like Uganda’s law on homosexuality—as I do—without dismissing the opinions of an entire continent as the product of mere taboo. Indeed, as Elizabeth Palchik Allen has argued in Foreign Policy, Uganda’s law was prompted in no small part by the same sort of imperious condescension exhibited by Kasper. When it comes to matters that matter, the past is a foreign country, as is Africa, and Kasper has no intention of listening to either.
Deacon Greg asks: Am I the only one who thinks it might be a good idea for Cardial Kasper to take a vow of silence for a few weeks?
As I’ve said before, it would be really good if reformers could at least be consistent
Couple things: I’m closing comments on this thread (and banned a couple of people) because I won’t tolerate the name-calling and outright slander of the Holy Father or some of the filth left here about Cardinals Kasper and Dolan and Cardinal Burke (who wasn’t even mentioned here!) as well as other writers, as well as conspiracy theories on ebola (again, not the topic!).
It seems to me that over the last two years the quality of comments has continually deteriorated. This morning’s batch of comments was stomach-turning. Basta. Enough. I am seriously once again considering turning off comments for good. I hate the idea, but on the other hand, I’m busy; moderating is time-consuming, and the combox has become overloaded with viciousness, one-note sneers, advocacy and hate. So, that’s that.
Also, regarding Kasper, at no time have I ever suggested he is not a priest who is sincere in his love for the mass and the sacraments. As Pia de Solenni writes so well, here: Well, it is the Catholic Church and there’s not always a whole lot of agreement under our big tent. Yet, we’re all Catholic and there’s something to be said for that.
I am currently reading Kasper’s Mercy: The Essence of the Gospel and there is some beautiful stuff in there that testify to the strength of his faith even if, theologically, he is not to everyone’s taste. I recommend people reading it, even if they have already made up their mind about Kasper, just as people who think they know everything about Burke ought to read some Burke.
Quite honestly, I think they’re both faithful churchmen. One is a theologian, the other is a canon lawyer, and I would go to confession to, or ask for a blessing from, either one.
But I wouldn’t be happy to see either of them as pope. The barque of Peter cannot sail if she is continually listing to one side.
**Austen Ivereigh says they are being heard.