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Of relevance to present debates, however, are Kasper’s comments about canon law and church discipline.
Quoting Dietrich Bonhoeffer’s comments about the fallacies of cheap grace (174-175), Kasper laments the widespread breakdown in church discipline since Vatican II.
Nevertheless, to be a Christian means being willing to witness to the truth, not to mention embracing the Cross as we seek to be perfect as our Heavenly Father is perfect.
Indeed, he directly cites Saint Paul’s unambiguous words about the impermissibility of approaching the Lord’s Table in an unworthy state.
Instead I found an accessible and at times inspiring theological account of the Christian idea of mercy.
Drawing heavily upon Scripture, the Church Fathers, scholastic theologians, saints such as the Polish mystic Saint Faustina, popes ranging from Pius XII to Saint John Paul the Great, and many thoroughly orthodox theologians, Kasper opens his readers’ eyes to the full potential of a sound Christian re-appreciation of mercy.
Things got worse in a subsequent Commonweal interview.
Here Kasper made the remarkable claim that “heroism is not for the average Christian.” Actually, your Eminence, it is. Yes, we’re all sinners and obeying the Lord isn’t always easy.
In another setting, he directly undercut the American Catholic bishops’ authority by comparing a theologian whom they have determined to hold positions incompatible with Catholic doctrine with Saint Thomas Aquinas.