Cardinal then explained that
appeal to the promise of the Spirit that leads
to the whole, complete truth. The ecumenical
dialogue is a means by which the Spirit of
God speaks to the Church and enriches her
with profounder perceptions and heretofore
uncontemplated aspects of the unique truth
which is Jesus Christ.1
two conceptions expressed by His Eminence
in these two passages reinforce one another,
as we shall try to demonstrate in these reflections.
Is This "Other"?
Kasper urges that the "other"-the
schismatic, the heretic, and, in general,
the non-Catholic-not be seen by Catholics
as a "limitation." The Cardinal
makes use of terminology of profane origin,
characteristic of modern thought. Nor does
he hide this. He openly declares that the
principle of "dialogue," as adopted
by the contemporary Church, corresponds to
"the point of view of the philosophy
of the 20th century." Here, we are not
in the realm of traditional Catholic thinking,
but rather in the precise application of the
intention fixed by Pope John XXIII for the
Second Vatican Council, that is, to accurately
study and express doctrine in accordance with
the forms and methods of "modern thinking."
[See the inaugural oration of the Council
GaudetMater Ecclesia (Oct. 11, l962}-Ed.].
This intention, received by the Council,
maintained and perfected in the magisterium
that it put and continues to put into practice,
sees in the "other," represented
by the world in general, an "enrichment"
for the Church. In fact, §40 of the Conciliar
constitution Gaudium et Spes affirms
that, in order to fulfill the mission that
is now imputed to the Church "to further
humanize the family of man and its history":
Church, then, believes it can contribute much
to humanizing the family of man and its history
though each of its members and its community
as a whole.
the Catholic Church gladly values what other
Christian Churches and ecclesial communities
have contributed and are contributing cooperatively
to the realization of this aim. Similarly
it is convinced that there is a considerable
and varied help that it can receive from the
world in preparing the ground for the Gospel,
both from individuals and from society as
a whole, by their talents and activity. The
Council will now outline some general principles
for the proper fostering of mutual exchange
and help in matters which are in some way
common to the Church and the world. (GS§40)
Church of Vatican II expected from the world,
and still expects, "considerable and
varied help" and therefore, we can say,
an "enrichment," not in order to
effect the conversion of the world to Christ,
but "to humanize the family of man."
Whatever this expression was intended to mean,
it is clear that it reflects the desire to
give to the Church a worldly purpose, entirely
secular-in keeping with the values of our
time-to enter into a relationship of active
and mutual collaboration with the world in
order to make the human family "more
human." This goal, everyone recognizes,
is certainly not that for which the Church
was founded by Our Lord, who does not seek
to render man "more human" but rather
to convert him to Himself and make of him
a "son of God."
Origins of the Principle of Dialogue
have cited §40 of Gaudium et Spes to
show that Cardinal Kasper is not merely expressing
his personal view. He is applying and deepening
the doctrinal and pastoral approach dictated
by Vatican II. To be sure, the import of the
terminology used by the Cardinal is not evident
at first sight. What does he say?
means: "I do not exist without the other;
the other is not a limitation of me, but rather
does that mean? The usage of the term "other"
recalls Hegel, and is connected with the problem
of overcoming the limits placed by
finite reality on thought. But Hegel is here
only a distant echo. In any case, the phrase
here signifies that it is necessary to overcome
the idea that something other-than-me
limits me by the very fact of existing.
I perceive in the diversity of the
"other" something hostile-at least
potentially an enemy-and therefore a limit.
Undoubtedly, in the world infected by the
consequences of original sin, there is always
the war of all against all, whether between
individuals or between nations. The corruption
of the world can only be conquered by its
progressive conversion to Christ, with the
increasing success of the missionary work
of the Church. Today, on the contrary, the
pastors of the Church are saying that the
world-"the other"-enriches me already
as it is. On this account I should open myself
to it and its values, because something can
always come to me as a "gift" from
it. The Catholic should solicit this "gift"
from the Jew, the Muslim, the Buddhist, the
animist, the Calvinist, etc. How so?
Through dialogue. By means of dialogue I put
myself into relation with "the other"
through a higher goal from the moment that
the conversion of souls is no longer contemplated,
but is substituted for by a worldly finality
that is acceptable to everyone: progress,
peace, universal brotherhood.
principle of dialogue taught by today's churchmen
is in reality inapplicable
to revealed truth and to the authentic
mission of the Catholic Church. It is in fact
nonsensical, and it even appears as a perversion
of the intellect to affirm that the "other"-the
heretic and the schismatic-constitutes, as
such, an "enrichment" for the Catholic
and the Church, and that on this basis it
is necessary to conduct a dialogue with him,
just as he is, with his values, hostile
to the True Faith, in order to construct together
with him a world leading to universal brotherhood.
This is the way of the "utopian paths"
traced by Martin Buber, not that prescribed
for the Church by Our Lord and maintained
constantly over the centuries by the Magisterium.
The only "enrichment" that the heretic,
the schismatic, and the non-Catholic in general
can bring to the Church is that of entering
her bosom after repudiating error and having
been converted, thanks to the missionary work
of the Church.
have mentioned Martin Buber. In fact, we believe
that Cardinal Kasper's reference to the "philosophy
of the 20th century" can be read in relation
to the thought of the German-Jewish philosopher
Martin Buber (d. 1965), the celebrated exponent
of a philosophy of "dialogical principle"
between the "I" and the "thou,"
consciously in the tradition of "utopian
socialism." Buber's philosophy appears
to be the last heir of what could be described
as a German Jewish school of thought founded
by Moses Mendelssohn, a contemporary of Immanuel
references to intellectual history seem necessary
in order to call attention to what seems to
be a fundamental point: the philosophical
origins of this idea of dialogue,
which has been imposed on the Church with
well-known devastating consequences.
"dialogue" presupposes a "philosophy
of dialogue," but certainly not that
of Plato, who conceived of dialogue as a means
of arriving at a rational understanding of
universal truths: the true conception of the
State, of virtue, of the soul, the good, the
beautiful, the true. The modern principle
of dialogue seems rather to send us back to
an abstract conception of reality typical
of humanitarian socialism, pacifistic and
Utopian, which considers man to be good by
nature, not believing and at the same time
capable of deistically encountering all religions.
This conception has nothing in common with
the correct, Catholic vision of man and the
world, and actually is destructive of the
Cardinal Kasper says that the dialogue undertaken
"marks the end of an individualistic
conception of our Western society" he
places the Church within the philosophic tradition
just alluded to, and does so as if this identification
were something obvious. He attributes to the
Church something that is in fact profoundly
foreign and alien to her: the philosophy of
"dialogue" of "I" and
"thou" as conceived of by Utopian
humanitarians, together with all of its mythology
of "being-in-relatedness," of the
"existing in reciprocal relation"
which is dialogue itself, deemed capable of
leading humanity to its final goal of unity
in the brotherhood of the whole human race.
Ecumenism Has No Part in the True Church
heterodox dialogue described above constitutes,
by Cardinal Rasper's admission, the vital
principle of the ecumenism professed by the
post-Vatican II Catholic Church. But how can
this be reconciled with the traditional teaching
of the Church? Is it enough to say, as the
Cardinal does, that it ought not to devolve
into "relativism, indifferentism, or
a pluralism without principles"? Clearly
not. To say what the dialogue ought
not to be does not transform
its intrinsic nature, aptly described as an
overcoming "of an individualistic conception
of our Western society" in keeping with
the Utopian humanitarian socialism alluded
to above. The significance of such dialogue
for the Church as a whole is shown by the
fact that it is precisely this dialogue that
has opened the door to the "relativism"
and "indifferentism" deprecated
by the Cardinal but now widely diffused amongst
Catholics, whose own pastors have made them
prey to the false doctrines of all sects and
religions imaginable. Since he cannot maintain
that the philosophy of dialogue is in itself
coherent with the teaching of the Church and
thus with revelation, the Cardinal is constrained
by the logic of his own argument to change
the concept of Revelation, insinuating
that it remains open. This is how Cardinal
Rasper can conclude that the "unique
truth which is Jesus Christ"—revealed
Truth-contains "heretofore uncontemplated
Dialogue Is Justified by Heresy
us examine the second excerpt (printed above)
of Cardinal Kasper to show its connection
with the letter and spirit of Vatican II.
Kasper wants to reinforce the relationship
between the "Spirit of God" and
(revealed) truth as understood by Christians.
He says that Christians "appeal to the
promise of the Spirit that leads to the whole,
complete truth." It is worth lingering
over this apparently descriptive phrase that
seems to evoke traditional doctrine. In fact,
it does not.
begin with, the use of the term "Christians"
is these days ambiguous, because one could
infer that "the [Holy] Spirit" continues
to "lead" also heretical and schismatic
Christians as such. This inference would be
close to heresy, as anyone can see, because
it implicitly denies the dogma that there
is no salvation outside the Church. Furthermore,
the cited phrase does not make clear that
the truth revealed by the Holy Spirit is kept
in a deposit of the Faith,
firmly kept stable and maintained by the Catholic
Church. The expression relative to "the
promise of the Spirit that leads to the whole,
complete truth" recalls the conciliar
constitution on divine revelation, Dei
Verbum, in particular §8 on "Holy
Tradition." This is one of the most controversial
articles of this constitution, which introduced
the ambiguous concept of "living tradition."
Tradition that comes from the apostles makes
progress in the Church, with the help of the
Holy Spirit. There is a growth in insight
into the realties and words that are being
passed on. This comes about in various ways.
It comes through the contemplation and study
of believers who ponder these things in their
hearts (cf. Lk. 2:19, 51). It comes from the
intimate sense of spiritual realities which
they experience. And it comes from the preaching
of those who have received, along with their
right of succession in the episcopate, the
sure charism of truth. Thus, as the centuries
go by, the Church is always advancing towards
the plenitude of divine truth, until eventually
the words of God are fulfilled in her.
sayings of the Holy Fathers are a witness
to the life-giving presence of the Tradition,
showing how its riches are poured out in the
practice and life of the Church, in her belief
and prayer. By means of the same Tradition
the full canon of the sacred books in known
to the Church and the holy Scriptures themselves
are more thoroughly understood and constantly
actualized by the Church. Thus God, who spoke
in the past, continues to converse with the
spouse of His beloved Son. And the Holy Spirit,
through whom the living voice of the Gospel
rings out in the Church-and through her in
the world-leads believers to the full truth,
and makes the Word of Christ dwell in them
in all its richness (cf. Col. 3, 16).2
should be noted that in Col. 3:16, St. Paul
limits himself to exhorting the faithful to
observe the word of Christ, as he has taught
it to them, maintaining it intact in their
own conscience and bringing it to fruition
in their relations with one another: "Let
the word of Christ dwell in you abundantly,
in all wisdom: teaching and admonishing one
The text of DV§8 is deceptive to the
extent that it suggests that the manner in
which it proposes that the Holy Spirit leads
believers "to the whole, complete truth"
is founded on the scriptural passage DV§8
is, however, of a piece with the other novel
teachings of Vatican II. As is clear, the
expression used by Cardinal Kasper is substantially
the same as that in Z)F§8. But why speak of
the "whole truth" or the "whole
complete" truth? Why was it not sufficient
to speak of the "truth"? Why
the adjective? The explanation
may be found in an earlier passage of the
same §8 of Dei Verbum:
as the centuries go by, the Church is always
advancing towards the plenitude of divine
truth, until eventually the words of God are
fulfilled in her.
"plenitude of truth" is evidently
the same thing as the "whole, complete
truth" towards which the Holy Spirit
leads. The "Spirit of God" leads
to the "whole, complete truth" which
the Church however does not yet possess;
otherwise it would not have need of being
led nor of tending there incessantly. But
this is to say that the Church does not yet
fully possess Revelation which is not a true,
perfect deposit of Faith! That towards which
I tend without pause is obviously not something
that I already possess, or else I possess
it only in part; otherwise I would not aim
at it. I can aim for that which I do
not have, not at that which I already
have because I have received it in a definitive
manner from Christ and the Apostles. The "always
advancing" which is substituted for the
possession of the deposit of Faith presents
itself necessarily in centra-distinction to
the concept of the deposit of Faith itself
and carries with it an implicit negation of
the dogma according to which Revelation definitively
concluded with the death of St. John, the
Is not a denial of this doctrine, unambiguous
albeit implicit, redolent of heresy?
all of this it appears that the Church, or,
better said, the "People of God"
(since the Church is understood, since Vatican
II, above all as the "people of God"),
and those who make it up, are guided by the
"Spirit" to the whole, complete
truth or, to put it otherwise, are introduced
to its "fullness" which however
they do not yet possess! They do not yet possess
the truth (of Revelation) in all its fullness!
And this because the "Spirit" has
not yet given the whole truth, but rather
"introduces" and constantly "leads"
towards it. The truth of Faith that we possess
is therefore something that "tends towards"
and therefore evolves towards the fullness
of the truth itself under the guidance
of the "Spirit of God." Here reappears
the specter of the so-called evolutionary
conception of truth, typical of modern
thinking, which is applied to the dogmas of
Faith in order to adapt them to modern concepts
and mentalities. This evolutionary conception
was condemned as heretical by Vatican
I (Sess. IV, Can. 3) and again in Propositions
58-65 of Lamentabili (July 3, 1907).
truth is thus understood as a truth in a process
of becoming in which, under the "guidance"
of the "Spirit," new "uncontemplated
aspects" can emerge. The reason for
the use of the adjective becomes clear, as
does the reason why the language of the Council,
of the contemporary magisterium, and of Cardinal
Kasper insists on the fact that the "Spirit"
initiates and leads to the full, whole, and
complete truth. This "fullness"
is not that of the deposit of the Faith, sealed
by the last apostle and constituted once and
for all. It is rather something that does
not yet exist; it is the goal of our constant
striving. We ought to understand that Christianity
is this constant tending towards fullness,
necessarily indeterminate, the content of
which will have to emerge progressively in
the successive "enrichments" that
the "other" brings to the dialogue.
And these "enrichments" constitute
the "new aspects" that the "Spirit"
makes to emerge from "the
unique truth which is Jesus Christ."
The tending towards "fullness,"
towards the "whole, complete truth,"
and the emergence of new aspects of Revelation
reciprocally imply one another, and constitute
a unity which the Catholic must now take into
account. This is precisely the new self-understanding
that the Council brought about in the Catholic
Church, and it is on this account that the
followers of Vatican II consider the Council
a "new Pentecost."
these "heretofore uncontemplated aspects"
recapitulate the fundamental principle of
dialogue from "the point of view of the
philosophy of the 20th century," or in
other words, the regurgitation of doctrines
already many times condemned by the Church,
beginning with socialism.
denial of dogma implicit in the evolutionary
conception of revealed truth, with its ambiguous
concept of "living tradition" put
forward by Dei Verbum §8, seems to
be even clearer in the words of Cardinal Kasper.
To say that "the Spirit of God speaks
to the Church and enriches her with profounder
perceptions and heretofore uncontemplated
aspects of the unique truth that is Christ
Jesus" is not different than saying that
Revelation continues. The "Spirit of
God" "enriches" with novelty,
with aspects of the Truth "heretofore
not contemplated." This is imported from
the philosophy of the 20th century, the implacable
foe of all transcendence and of the Catholic
Church in particular. Its most enlightened
manifestation would be an "ecumenical
dialogue" that excludes a priori
the conversion of souls! Behold, the
"Other" in the sense of our Adversary,
the Devil, charged with "enriching"
her with its profound truths, inoculated within
the Church under the label of the "Spirit
of God" so as to unexpectedly teach the
false and already condemned doctrines of the
age. Do the first principles of logic and
of the Faith still have any sense for Cardinal
Kasper? Is the teaching of Cardinal Kasper
merely suspect of heresy or heretical purely
and simply? We address this question to the
exclusively for Angelus Press from SiSiNoNo,
Jan. 31, 2004. Edited by Fr. Kenneth Novak.
Il Rosario e la Nuova Pompei, Jan.
On Dei Verbum see Fr. Emanuel-Marie,
O.P., "Dei Verbum et les notions conciliares
de Revelation et de tradition vivant,"
in (AAVV) La religion de Vatican II: Etudes
theologiques, Premier symposium de Paris,
4-6 Octobre, 2002. Supplement to Set de
la Terre, No. 43, 2003, pp.39-80.
No. 21 of the decree of the Holy Office Lamentabili
of July 3,1907 condemns the modernist
proposition "Revelatio, obiectumfidei
catholicae constituens, nonfuit cumApostolis
completa," ordaining that all should
consider this proposition "reprobata
acproscripta" (Denziger-Schonmetzer 3421).
The index of DS places the dogmatic
foundation of this condemnation in the Council
of Trent (DS 1501) and Vatican
I (DS 3071). Obviously the "end"
and "completion" of Revelation with
the death of the last Apostle is a constant
teaching of the Church, a doctrine that can
be considered guaranteed by the infallibility
of the ordinary Magisterium.