Wednesday, December 05, 2007

Kasper the unfriendly Cardinal?

From the Catholic Herald (UK):

One of the Vatican’s most senior cardinals has dismissed the idea that a breakaway group of Anglicans might be received into the Catholic Church en masse – despite Benedict XVI’s personal support for such a move. Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Christian Unity, told The Catholic Herald: “It’s not our policy to bring that many Anglicans to Rome.” The cardinal’s comments refer to the Traditional Anglican Communion (TAC), a rebel group which claims to represent 400,000 people. Its bishops sent a letter to Rome last month requesting “full, corporate and sacramental union”.
But the bishops did not send their letter to Cardinal Kasper. Instead they addressed it to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF), where, it is understood, they expected a warmer reception.
It has been claimed that 60 Anglican parishes have joined the rebel group since their request became public. Vatican insiders say that Benedict XVI is scrutinising the matter very closely and believes that the TAC is setting out a path that other Anglicans will follow.


Abu Daoud said...

I read the whole thing and found its reference to the TAC as a 'rebel' group very unfortunate.

Albion Land said...

"The cardinal said on Monday: 'We are on good terms with the Archbishop of Canterbury and as much as we can we are helping him to keep the Anglican community together.'"


poetreader said...

+Kasper shows himself to be a very good ally of the ABC -- and not really a very good ally of his putatively infallible superior. Tje RCC has demonstrated well that it is in as thorough a mess as is anglicanism -- it's merely been prevented thus far from the worst consequences of the sellout of so many influential clerics to the zeitgeist of a postChristian world.

In the meantime, the reportage is so obviously biased, evidenced by the use of "Rebel group" and other such locutions, that no one is required to accept ANY of its statements of claimed fact. A perjured witness is not reliable in any of his evidence.


Alice C. Linsley said...

too early to say how this will play out. If their request is declined, they may consider looking at the Antiochian Orthodox Church and become Western Rite parishes. ;)

Fr. Robert Hart said...

One thing is sure; it would be good to see a restoration of serious discussions in both directions, Rome and Orthodoxy. It would simply restore things to where they were; and that was leading somewhere.

Nathan said...

“It’s not our policy to bring that many Anglicans to Rome.”

So, how many Anglicans would be reasonable?


Carlos said...

Without knowing anything about Cardinal Kasper, the only thing I could surmize, is he is one of those Roman Catholic innovators and fears an influx of orthodox christians that might unsettle the current situation.

Beyond that, his statements are puzzuling...

Anonymous said...

My observation of Cardinal Kasper has been that he has always had something of a Canterbury obsession--partly arising from a tendency towards liberalism on his own part, and likely also partly from a good old-fashioned Roman imperialist desire to recapture historic sees. I am inclined to regard him as largely irrelevant to the TAC overtures. He has been bypassed, after all, and he appears to be a little fuzzy-sighted, in that he appears to have failed to notice the great cow elephant in Canterbury's living room.

Anonymous said...

"(he) fears an influx of orthodox christians that might unsettle the current situation."

That's pretty much it in a nutshell. To be honest he's a bit of a twit and is deeply distrusted by Eastern Catholics because he studiously ignores them when dealing with the Orthodox. Regardless he has no say in the TAC matter as they are dealing with the CDF.

Ken said...

I believe Cdl. Kasper and then Cdl. Ratzinger had an open debate on the nature of the church, communion and ecumenicism a few years before Cdl. Ratzinger's elevation to the Papacy.

It might be fruitful reading.

Anonymous said...

Cardinal Kasper is not "in charge" of this issue.
The TAC letter was directed to the Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith.
Or so they say...

Anonymous said...

Antonio said: 'Or so they say . . .'

I see no reason to doubt them.

Fr. Robert Hart said...


Rome has received the letter. Nonetheless, it was not really meant for the CDF, but for the Pope himself through the proper channels. And, before his elevation, then Cardinal Ratzinger was quite friendly and encouraging to the TAC.

Michael said...

"Or so they say"...

I realize that there has been a tremendous amount of speculation about the TAC letter to Rome, but there is no doubt whatsoever that it was sent, and well received.

I know the three bishops who delivered the letter. They are all honest, reliable men, with longstanding connections with Vatican figures, including Benedict XVI. This is a very personal matter for me, because of the degree that my own (diocesan) bishops have been involved this. Whatever else is said about TAC or Roman politics, the buck stops here: I trust my bishop.

That I can and do trust my bishop is one of the most important reasons why I am a member of the TAC. I've noticed it isn't something that Christians always are able to say... and I don't take it for granted.

Anonymous said...

“It’s not our policy to bring that many Anglicans to Rome.”

That's fascinating. Pope Pius XII's idea of ecumenism was the conversion of Christians, not one by one, but by one religious denomination at a time.

+Joel Marcus Johnson

Anonymous said...

" was not really meant for the CDF, but for the Pope himself..."

Even BETTER!!!!

Unknown said...

As an individual you can take a small step towards Christian Unity at

It is an on line petition to unite the date of Easter that Catholics, Protestants and Orthodox would celebrate this Feast of Feasts all on One Date.

Anonymous said...

Cardinal Kaspar seems to be out of touch with the Magisterium, which desires that all Christians join the Catholic Church. Indeed, if Rome's claims are true, it would be sinful not to try.

If he really said what he is quoted (and translated) as having said, I imagine that B16 is going to have a little talk with him.

Anonymous said...

If it is true that the entire episcopate of TAC signed up to the Catechism of the Catholic Church at Portsmouth, I would appreciate help with four questions :
1) has TAC morphed from a continuing Anglican jurisdiction not in communion with Canterbury, to a Roman Catholic jurisdiction not in communion with Rome ?
2) Alternatively, is TAC an anglo-catholic Church with an anglo-papist hierarchy?,
3) Is it now inevitable that anglo-catholics will feel compelled to separate from those anglo-papists who want union with Rome at any price ?
4) Why haven't the laity of TAC been informed by their leaders of the full extent of the total acceptance of Roman Catholicism implied in signing up to the Catechism?

poetreader said...

Anonymous 0f 12.33pm

Who are you? Please give us at least a nickname to make discussion possible.

1. Give some idea of what you mean here. Cute phrases won't do it. We are just what we've always been, an Anglican body maintaining something those historically called 'Anglican' have jettisoned. It is true that the movement of ECUSA et al away from Catholic Faith and Order has left us, though not without differences, far closer to
rome than to the high church liberalism of ECUSA.

2. Nonsense.

3. If any of TAC officials or laity want union with Rome "at any price" I surely haven't met them. Union with Rome "at any price" involves going NOW, individually, if need be. Anything short of that involves conditions.

4. The current RC catechism is far removed from similar expressions of an earlier time. I don't know the precise conditions in which it was signed, but, with minor reservations the RC Catechism is easier to take than the 39 articles without reservations. The laity are being informed that the discussions are underway, and lay participation will be essential to the ultimate acceptance of whatever terms may emerge. That is very simply how we operate. There is no vast conspiracy, nor can there be under our canons. One may wonder about the openness or not of the discussions themselves. That is a strategic matter. Actual decision making has to be entirely open.


Fr. Robert Hart said...

I must assume that "Anonymous" has not read the points I have made, more than once, from Anglican history of the twentieth century.

Anonymous said...

I too own a copy of the "Catechism of the Catholic Church" (hereinafter 'CCC'). When I bought it some years ago (1994 edition in paperback)I signed the front flyleaf.I knew exactly what I was doing, and the purpose would have been fairly obvious to an onlooker.In my own mind I was indicating my ownership of the book as an object, and putting down a marker for book-borrowing friends that it had a home.But now picture a different scene ; the assembled members of the TAC episcopate, coped and mitered, forming up in dignified procession and proceeding to the high altar of St Agatha's, Portsmouth, whereon have been placed a copy of a petition for full, corporate, sacramental union with the RC Church, and a copy(according to someone on the 'York Forum' blog, leatherbound ),of the CCC.Each man signs both documents and returns to his place.There is, apparently, a sense of history in the making, and many are moved almost to tears.
What does this signify? What was in the minds of those men as they silently performed that symbolic act in the most sacred part of that historic church?
The letter contains a reference to the signing of the CCC, but when the contents of the letter are released for public information, the reference to the CCC has been taken out.In the TAC international magazine 'The Messenger'(I am referring to the Christmas issue, which has further articles and pictures of the Portsmouth synod), the signing of the CCC is not mentioned. Neither is it mentioned in the latest edition of the 'Patmos Revue', published by Bishop David Chislett, who also writes about the approach to Rome. As far as I can see, the solemn signing of the CCC is not mentioned officially anywhere, and yet there is no question that it took place.
It has been suggested that the mass signing of the CCC symbolized the opening of negotiations; but who begins negotiations by immediately conceding everything required by the other side? I am old enough to remember the visits to Rome of both Archbishop Michael Ramsey and Archbishop Geoffrey Fisher, and they certainly did not go with signed copies of the "Penny Catechism' in their hands. For,is it not true to say, that once you have indicated that you have absolutely no doctrinal differences with Rome, the only things that remain to 'negotiate' are matters such as liturgical provisions and disciplinary questions like whether bishops may marry? Certainly not issues that, as Ed rightly says, should keep you one minute longer away from submission to Rome.
I approached the "Continuum" respectfully, because I have learned in the few months that I have been aware of its existence, that its main contributors are men of theological insight who display a vital seriousness about many of the same issues that are close to my heart. But I do not feel that I have yet received a satisfactory answer. As a member of the TAC myself, I am extremely worried that the bishops, instead of addressing the much more immediate scandals of Continuing Anglican disunity, or the much more promising possibilities of pursuing recognition by the Orthodox -remember the successes of the 1920s and 1930s- have set out on a quixotic venture to woo a Church whose doctrines are in many cases unacceptable to a great number of Traditional Anglicans.I'll quote just one from the document our bishops signed;item 882 says "..the Roman Pontiff, by reason of his office as Vicar of Christ, and as pastor of the entire Church has full, supreme and universal power over the whole Church, a power which he can always exercise unhindered."
I know that a ban on discussion of the approach to Rome has been adopted until Rome responds. But to remove all references to the signing of the Catechism is ,to me, inexplicable.If the bishops were signifying that they accept everything contained in that book, they have a moral duty to tell the us so immediately.Remember what happened at the Council of Florence. In that case it was Orthodox bishops who got ahead of their people, and their position was rejected by an outraged laity.
Let us, belatedly, have transparency and honesty. That would be so much better for the future of the Traditional Anglican Communion than obsessing about Rome .

Fr. Robert Hart said...

I am asking if these last few Anonymous comments are by one and the same writer? please use a nick nmae at the very least. Please, as well, provide a way to get more details about this signing of the CCC. I need to ask a bishop or two of the TAC what that was all about.

Obviously, if I believed in the part of the CCC quoted above, I would have to go to Rome. Because I do not believe that specific teaching, I cannot go to Rome. I assume that members of the TAC churches are in the same position. Resuming discussions is one thing (and that is still what seems to be the case); wholesale conversion something else.

This matter needs clarification.

Anonymous said...

Dear Fr Hart,
Thank you for taking this matter seriously. You are correct in that the last two 'anonymous ' comments are from the same person. This third, and final, piece of information is also from me.
Having encountered a mention of the signing on the 'York Forum' website, where the English newspaper 'The Catholic Herald' was quoted, I was so concerned that I contacted a bishop whom I knew had been present at Portsmouth. One reason that I have given no clues about my own identity is to provide maximum security for his, though if he is a reader of 'The Continuum', he may well decide to participate in getting this information out. That is up to him. What follows is a direct quote from the e-mail he sent in reply to my inquiry on Dec. 10th.
" A copy of the RC Catechism was on the altar at Portsmouth and was signed along with the Letter by the TAC bishops and vicars general. The Letter contained a commitment to the Catechism and although earlier an amendment was suggested, because one bishop pointed out that he had not read it, I do not know whether the amendment was introduced into the Letter as signed in the closing session. Certainly an amended draft was never circulated to the Synod."

You now know everything that I do, and I sincerely hope you will use your skills and contacts to get to the bottom of this matter. The question is 'What did they mean by it'? I only hope that it does not mean what it looks like.
Thank you for your kind attention.

Albion Land said...

Okay, latest Anonymous, I appreciate your wish to remain anonymous. Since you have not chosen a nickname, let me give you one: Shy.

All you have to do is sign Shy at the bottom of each comment, and we can keep you straight.


Anonymous said...

Dear Albion,
Thank you for your suggestion; I'm just beginning to realize how important it might be to follow one particular contributor's comments. Rather than 'Shy', should there be anything more to say, I'll sign off with 'CCC'.

Albion Land said...

Dear CCC,

Great minds think alike. CCC was the first monicker that popped into my head, but then my devilish streak kicked in.

I do hope we will be hearing more from you.

Fr. Robert Hart said...

CCC (formerly Anonymous- like the composer and author who lived for several centuries in several countries, and wrote equally well in every language)wrote:

You now know everything that I do...

Well, I only know that I have heard from an anonymous poster. others have reported this signing of the Roman Catholic Catechism. I am planning to ask my friends among TAC clergy directly, "did this happen?" If so, what was it supposed to signify? If signing such a document is meant to signify full agreement, then it is a very real problem. I, for one, do not agree with everything in that catechism, and I see no way that any Anglican possibly could.