Cardinal Kasper resorts to the "F" word in addressing critics | Mark Brumley | Catholic World Report
The German prelate needs to stop acting as if nuanced, critical theological reflection happens only on his side of the debate and that his opponents are unthinking Bible-thumping "fundamentalists"
Cardinal Kasper has taken to using the "F" word in criticizing some of his opponents on the question of divorce and civil remarriage. It seems that they are “fundamentalists”, not appreciating the context of the biblical text they employ and not understanding how the teaching of Jesus was adapted in the early Church to fit new situations.
The fact is, though, that not everyone who disagrees with Cardinal Kasper is a fundamentalist.
Benedict XVI is hardly a fundamentalist. The mainstream of theological opposition to Kasper's proposal is hardly fundamentalist. True, Kasper's critics take seriously the New Testament teaching, including the teaching of Jesus himself, about the nature of marriage, divorce, and remarriage. But surely Cardinal Kasper does not expect us to equate taking Jesus and the New Testament seriously with fundamentalism.
Perhaps Cardinal Kasper worries that some of his critics quote chapter and verse against him as if texts can, without context, settle the debate. One might ask, though, whether he regards all of his critics as simple Bible thumpers. If not, why does he choose to focus on the fundamentalists, rather on the more substantial critics who know their way around the biblical texts as well as the contexts in which they appear? It makes it seem as if he doesn’t want to face objections in their strongest form.
What’s more, while it’s true that Jesus’ teaching regarding the adulterous nature of remarriage of divorcees was qualified by the early Church, as she, guided by the Spirit, made important distinctions, that doesn’t amount to a blank check for revision. Most Catholic revisionists acknowledge this point in theory, but they don’t always attend to it in practice, when it comes to making the case for change.
Yes, it seems the early Church clarified that certain things that may have looked like “marriages” (e.g., unions within the bounds of consanguinity), upon reflection, weren’t true marriages and therefore Jesus’ teaching about divorce and remarriage didn’t apply in those cases because, well, those cases didn’t involve marriages. That seems to be the consensus of modern biblical scholarship on the point.