I cannot believe as a life long Catholic what I'm reading in this CNS report attributed to Cardinal Walter Kasper. It is pure unadulterated heresy, a skewing of the faith to the incredible extent that tortured explanations are given why the Catholic Church is no longer in the conversion business, in particular in regard to the Jews. Has Kasper forgotten that there was a New Covenant with the death of Jesus Christ, i.e., the Temple curtain was rent? What's next, Islam doesn't have to convert either as their rendition of monotheistic salvation making Christ subordinate to Mohammed suffices? Point of fact, what Kasper is advocating is not what the Catholic Church has traditionally taught since her founding upon the Rock that is Peter as witnessed by the blood of the martyrs whose sacrifice Kasper makes worthless.
Sorry, Saint Isaac Jogues and your companions, the savages which you witnessed to had the means for their own salvation. Sorry, Our Lady of Guadalupe, there was no need for you to get excited about the human sacrifices occurring in Mexico as a result of pagan influences because there was a kernel of truth in what was going on there that could be equally reconciled in a tortured fashion by observing that the individuals involved were simply following their consciences. This is essentially an argument that Bernardin "common-grounders" use to equate life with peace and social justice issues that are equally important in their skewed version of Catholicism, failing to recognize that without life, there are no other issues in a natural sense with supernatural consequences.
In short, what Kasper is proposing here is heresy, pure and simple, and it must be recognized as such. To say that the Jews are somehow exempt from conversion is nonsensical from a Catholic standpoint of being the One True Faith. Would Kasper single-handedly revoke the Nicene Creed? That's what, in effect, he's doing as last I heard, Jesus Christ, God and Man, Second Person of the Blessed Trinity existing eternally and consubstantially with the Father, begotten, not made, is prominently mentioned in that creed.
Kasper, in essence, is saying to the world that there is no need to be Catholic. Just be happy in your blissful ignorance, Buddhists, Rastafarians, Hindus, Moslems, et al., you are on the right track and need no impetus whatsoever from a Catholic Church that should mind its own business and let you "be happy", as the song goes. The last thing that we want to do is ruin your day by coercing you into the best chance possible of getting to Heaven instead of going to hell. Let's symbolically reinforce that remedy to the blow to your self-esteem by having an Assisi III, what do you say? We'll once again make you comfortable by allowing you to worship your pagan gods in a Catholic basilica to reinforce the non-importance of converting you.
By the way, the next time that you take part in an RCIA program, pay particular attention to any distinction that might be made as to why the potential converts ought to get down on their knees and thank the Almighty for getting the Grace to finally see the light by converting to the Faith.
Do you hear any statements in the RCIA process that are uniquely Catholic as opposed to platitudes which could just as easily be applied to converting to any other denomination? Is there an emphasis on the Catholic Church being the One True Faith necessary for salvation? Is there a discussion about the Mass being first and foremost a Holy Sacrifice, a re-representation of the bloody sacrifice of Christ on Calvary for the reparation of our sins by the ordained minister acting in the person of Christ in an unbloody manner? Is there an importance placed on the consecration of the bread and wine into the Body and Blood of Christ, His Real Presence, Body, Blood, Soul, and Divinity existing in time, not just in a spiritual sense, on the altars of every Catholic Church in the world, the defining centerpiece of the Catholic Faith? Are the sacraments reinforced as being instituted by Christ to give Grace with the emphasis on the supernatural instead of the natural, especially the necessity of the sacrament of Penance prior to receiving Holy Communion? Is there a clear reason given why converting to the Catholic Faith is the most important thing that the individuals attending these sessions will do in their lifetimes, since it is through the Church that they will get the best chance for salvation?
Finally, is it made crystal clear to the potential converts that after worship of God and obedience to His laws, in particular, the Divine Law given to us directly by God via revelation, and the Natural Law written on the hearts of man knowable through reason, issues of "life" trump all others to especially include those under the "peace and social justice" banner because
1) without life there are no other issues, and most importantly,
2) natural "life" and "family" issues as Catholic priorities lead ultimately to the final end of created man as desired by God, supernatural life with Him for eternity? By "family" here, I'm referring to the Church's concept of the Catholic family being a small Church living in accord with the Teachings of Holy Mother Church.
So I respectfully submit to Cardinal Kasper that there are many good reasons for converting to Catholicism. To suggest otherwise flies in the face of traditional Catholic teaching.
To say that Jews cannot expect "Christians not to be Christians" while concurrently saying that Christians do not need to convert the Jews is contradictory, since you are not a Christian in the Catholic sense, which is THE only sense of Christianity if you do not make an attempt to convert non-Catholics to the Faith. To say that Jews and Christians share a salvific history is one thing. To blanketly say that this sharing exempts the Jews from following the tenets of the New Covenant which superceded the old in the New Testament is an incredible obfuscation of the Faith.
Moreover, Kasper is saying that the Jews can still wait for the Messiah, which, again, is heresy! The Messiah came at Bethlehem once and for all. And He will come again at the end of time to judge the living and the dead. One would think that Catholic prelates would have more respect for their final Judge, Who when He comes with legions of His Angels in glory a second time, will dispense His final justice. That respect is not shown by telling the world that they require no knowledge of Him for salvation.
Kasper cannot be speaking for Catholicism by making such incredible statements because the Holy Ghost protects the Catholic Church from committing error in matters of faith and morals. Therefore, he and those who share his position on conversion to the faith now being unnecessary are only speaking for themselves.
One might logically ask "If Christians can't hide mission role in talks with the Jews, how can they take the position that Jews require no conversion whatsoever?" Such a position obliterates any definition of "mission" or "missionary" that I'm aware of in Webster's.
The universality of Christ's redemption for all is by no means a guarantee of eternal salvation, something that Kasper curiously misses in his denigration of the need for conversion. Salvation comes through the Catholic Church, in particular, her witness to the world of the Perfect Truth that is the "Word made flesh Who dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, the glory as of the only-begotten of the Father, full of grace and truth."
Kasper is right about one thing, "The bull needs to be taken by the horns". That "bull" needs to be exposed for what it is, and the incredible harm that it is doing to the Catholic Faith, especially to those in the most dire need of seeing an uncompromising witness to Catholicism, by clergy who are not embarrassed about being Catholic, for the sake of their eternal salvation. Misguided prelates like Kasper need to be summarily reined in from making such heretical statements.
"In short, what Kasper is proposing here is heresy, pure and simple, and it must be recognized as such. To say that the Jews are somehow exempt from conversion is nonsensical from a Catholic standpoint of being the One True Faith. Would Kasper single-handedly revoke the Nicene Creed? That's what, in effect, he's doing as last I heard, Jesus Christ, God and Man, Second Person of the Blessed Trinity existing eternally and consubstantially with the Father, begotten, not made, is prominently mentioned in that creed."