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New Belgium Archbishop: Mercy is "somewhat condescending...I like words like 'respect' and 'esteem'" | Carl E. Olson | The Dispatch at CWR
Archbishop-elect Jozef De Kesel also indicates his hope that the Church will soon allow "divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion."
If an archbishop-elect thinks the word "mercy" is "somewhat condescending", what must he think of words such as "sin", "damnation", "hell", and "orthodoxy"? Alas, we don't know for certain, but perhaps that just as well, if only for the sake of keeping one's stomach under control. The prelate in question is Jozef De Kesel of Mechelen-Brussels, interviewed by Kerknet and translated into English by Mark de Vries of "In Caelo et in Terra", who covers Catholic news in the Netherlands. The fuller quote:
You did not take part in the Synod on the family, but will probably get to work with its proposals. What will stay with you from this Synod?
“The Synod may not have brought the concrete results that were hoped for, such as allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion. But it is unbelievable how much it was a sign of a Church that has changed. The mentality is really not the same anymore.
I may be a careful person, but I do not think we should be marking time. Mercy is an important word for me, but in one way or another it is still somewhat condescending. I like to take words like respect and esteem for man as my starting point. And that may be a value that we, as Christians, share with prevailing culture.”
Yes, the phrase "Belgium waffles" did come to mind—and heavy with syrup, please!—while reading this over breakfast. Not that a sensitive stomach can handle too much of this nonsense first thing in the morning. Alas, this sort of thinking—or feeling, which is more apt—is quite prevalent. I recently had a Catholic tell me that he thought the word "sin" was too harsh to use in speaking to his secular friends; he preferred the term "reconciliation". Again, the intent is to be "relevant", and the working assumption, apparently is that people today are so complicated and fragile, that the wrong word is going to trigger some sort of spiritual combustion.
But isn't that the point?