Cardinal Kasper: Pope’s silence on contraception in Amoris may mean approval

Lianne Laurence

Cardinal Kasper: Pope’s silence on contraception in Amoris may mean approval

In a move predicted by critics of Amoris laetitia, the German theologian suggested that because the Pope’s sprawling 2016 apostolic exhortation on the “joy of love” does not explicitly mention the Church’s proscription of contraception, it may, in fact, be allowed.

Italian journalist and veteran Vatican-watcher Sandro Magister writesthat Kasper adroitly inserts this argument into his new book on Amoris laetitia, which has been recently published in German and Italian.  Magister’s March 9 blog post was translated by Matthew Sherry.

Kasper claims in The Message of Amoris Laetitia: A Brotherly Discussion that with the document’s publication Pope Francis initiated a “paradigm shift.”

“A paradigm shift – Kasper writes – that does not limit itself to allowing communion for the divorced and remarried, but ‘concerns moral theology in general and thus has effects on many analogous situations,’ including none other than recourse to artificial methods of birth control,” writes Magister.

Admittedly, Kasper “does not find in Amoris Laetitia the passage – in effect nonexistent – that would explicitly legitimize the use of contraceptives,” he notes.

Pope Francis refers to Humanae vitae — Pope Paul VI’s 1968 encyclical re-affirming Catholic teaching that deliberately rendering the conjugal act infertile through artificial means is intrinsically wrong — in Amoris Laetitia.

But Kasper asserts the pontiff only “encourages the use of the method of observing the cycles of natural fertility,” and “does not say anything about other methods of family planning and avoids all casuistic definitions.”

From this, Kasper deduces that “in Amoris Laetitia even that which is not said may say something,” meaning, according to Magister, that it may “give the go-ahead to contraceptives, entrusting the use of them to the ‘deliberate decision of conscience’ of the individual.’”

READ: Does Pope Francis actually oppose Church teaching on contraception? This summary raises the question

The German cardinal is so well known for his persistent lobbying to allow divorced and “remarried” Catholics to receive Holy Communion contrary to Church teaching that his position has been dubbed “the Kasper proposal.”

Various bishops and cardinals have interpreted Amoris Laetitia as embracing Kasper’s proposal and have issued guidelines allowing “remarried” Catholics to receive Communion. Yet, other bishops, remaining faithful to Catholic teaching, have issued opposite guidelines. The result has been dissension and widespread confusion on the question.

Kasper’s current undermining of Catholic teaching on contraception is unsurprising, given the cardinal’s theological bent. Critics foresaw Amoris laetitia could lead to Kasper’s contraception proposal.

Indeed, a month after the document’s publication, Matthew McCusker described the very tack Kasper is now taking.

“On the few occasions when the encyclical Humanae Vitae is mentioned [in Amoris Laetitia] it is in the context of ‘responsible parenthood’ and the exercise of conscience by spouses in this area,” McCusker, deputy international director of the Society for the Protection of Unborn Children, told the Rome Life Forum in May 2016.

“Such statements, which in another context might not be troubling, do give cause for concern given the false approaches to moral theology adopted in the document and the failure to clearly restate what the Church actually teaches about contraception,” he said.

Kasper’s weighing in on the matter is all the more troubling because Pope Francis has set up a commission to study Humanae vitae in the light of Amoris laetitia, as Vatican sources confirmed last June.

Its coordinator, Monsignor Gilfredo Marengo, professor at John Paul II Pontifical Institute, “admits that Amoris laetitia authorizes what Humanæ Vitæ prohibits,” wrote Roberto De Mattei in an analysis.

Vatican-based theologian Father George Woodall has also explicitly warned that if the commission uses the moral principles and language Amoris Laetitia, it would recommend that Humanae vitae “should be rejected or, more likely, should not be interpreted legalistically.”

Woodall predicted that such a turn of events “would cause massive doctrinal and pastoral damage” to the Church.

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One comment on “Cardinal Kasper: Pope’s silence on contraception in Amoris may mean approval

  1. Küng Fu: Modernism the Legend Continues

    Master Po: What is troubling you, Grasshopper?

    Kwai Chang: I am confused, Master.

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    Master Po: Well, then, are you wondering why liberal journalists who did not care about Bill Clinton’s marital infidelities are upset with Evangelical Christians for not scolding President Trump for an alleged adulterous affair with porn actress Stormy Daniels? For not upholding moral standards which they themselves rejected in the Sexual Revolution?

    Kwai Chang: That is an absurd postmodern dilemma, Master. But I am actually confused about something else.

    Master Po: The cycle of karma is long and winding as the transcendental ego reaches for the Tao in the phenomenological Life-world, Grasshopper. What then has confused you?
    Are you still wondering why American college students were triggered by Steve Martin’s “King Tut” song as a politically-incorrect microaggression of cultural appropriation, sending them in hysteria as crazed snowflakes searching for safe spaces?

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    Kwai Chang: That is an interesting dilemma which is quite absurd, Master. Although surely Albert Camus would take great interest in such absurd dilemmas of modernity, I am certain that Mister Steve Martin did not mean any disrespect to Tutankhamun or the ancient Egyptians. But I am actually confused about something else.

    Master Po: You are not concerned that American college students have become crazy liberal snowflakes, having tantrums and fits of hysteria over Steve Martin’s prank “King Tut” song, as if it were blocking their path to satori? What then are you confused about, Grasshopper?

    Kato: “King Tut” was just a comedy routine, right?

    The Green Hornet: That’s right, Kato. But postmodern college students and liberal snowflakes are in need of a course on the history of comedy.

    Kwai Chang: Forgive me, Master. But I am wondering if the Oprahfication of Madeleine L’Engle’s A Wrinkle in Time, and the removal of its Christian references from the script, is ushering in a new stage of the Alinskyite social engineering of American entertainment culture in the triumph of the therapeutic.

    Master Po: Long and deep are the valleys as the wheel of karma turns around and around, Grasshopper.Strange are the ways of this cycle of karma in the realm of illusion when searching for the flow of the Tao , are they not? As the great philosopher Lao-Tzu has said in the Tao Te Ching which so fascinates Professor Jordan Peterson. Long is our journey in search of the Tao. For who can know the way to San Jose in the arduous quest for satori?

    As Yin and Yang swing back and forth in the dialectic of the cycle of karma, many are the things in the search for the Tao that give rise to wonder, Grasshopper. As Zen forces us to master the mazes of confusion, I shall put it to you this way. If Al Franken squeezes a woman’s behind in the middle of the forest and no one else is around, is it a case of #MeToo sexual harassment?

    Kwai Chang: Surely, I cannot be certain, Master.

    Stuart Smalley: Well, let’s all pause for a moment of Zen…

    Master Po: Why can you not be certain, Grasshopper?

    Kwai Chang: Because David Hume has forbidden me from being certain about metaphysical matters, Master. But also because dorks and nerds with heavy glasses who brood over his rantings, and who have never had girlfriends, have also forbidden me from being so certain on metaphysical questions.

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    In time you must know if Al Franken squeezes a woman’s behind in the middle of the forest and no one else is around what the proper answer is to such a Zen koan. Even if we have to beat the Zen into you.

    Robin: Can he do that, Batman?

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    Father Mulcahy, S.J.: Awakening the mind from the slumber of illusion in Zen has many similarities with Socratic irony. Of course, using a stick for that is frowned upon in today’s society….

    Hawkeye: Oh, they would never allow that at Fordham now. Unless it was part of a multicultural club.

    Bill Gannon: You can’t smoke inside the buildings anymore either, Joe.

    Batman: How is your Latin and Greek homework at Fordham Prep coming along, Robin? Keeping up with your translation homework?

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    Catwoman: You won’t spank Robin if he’s a little behind catching up on his Latin homework, will you, Batman?

    Aristotle: Awakening the mind to reason and common sense can be more complicated.

    Immanuel Kant: Yes, it can be.

    The Professor: Actually, Aristotle is a very significant figure in the Western intellectual tradition, Gilligan. I’m glad you asked about that…

    Ginger: Gilligan’s getting ready to take the Transcendental turn. Isn’t this exciting?

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    Reverend Neuhaus: That’s my opening….Forgive me for interrupting again as aggressive and pushy professional Protestant converts sometimes do, but speaking as a semi-recovering former Lutheran familiar with the pitfalls of eliminating reason and logic from discussions of religion, this might be a good time to discuss the Naked Public Square in modernity, Max Weber’s concept of disenchantment in modern culture, and Professor Taylor’s secularization theories….

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