Thursday, December 25, 2014

Kasper the-not-so-friendly ghost attempts to justify Pope Francis' condemnation of the Curia

Religion News Service is reporting that: "Cardinal Walter Kasper, one of Pope Francis’ closest advisers, has sought to downplay the pontiff’s scathing critique of the Curia earlier this week.

Kasper, who previously led the Vatican body responsible for promoting Christian unity, said the pope was asking the Curia, or Vatican administration, to examine their conscience in a bid to promote spiritual renewal.

The German cardinal, joined by Argentine Cardinal Leonardo Sandri, said Francis was asking the Curia to set an example.

'The fundamental thing is he wants spiritual reform of the Curia,' Kasper told the Italian daily Corriere della Sera on Wednesday (Dec. 24).

Certainly also reform of the structures is important and he is working on that. But the basis of the problem is spiritual.”  See here.

Cardinal Kasper wants us to believe that the hate-filled pre-Christmas rant leveled at the Curia by Pope Francis was merely an exercise in constructive criticism with an eye toward encouraging self-examination which will lead to spiritual renewal.

But the techniques of degradation will never stir others to authentic reform. What is constructive criticism and how does it differ from condemnation?

Dr. Montague Brown, professor of philosophy at Saint Anselm College in Manchester, New Hampshire, explains the difference between the two nicely: “Criticism is the honest appraisal of the value of ideas or actions…Pursued in the right spirit, it is a positive undertaking whose purpose is to gain an accurate understanding for the sake of growing in wisdom and virtue….Condemnation goes beyond evaluation of an idea or action to a declaration of the worthlessness of a human being. It is never fair and is a wholly negative judgment, referring only to weaknesses. Because condemnation is unreasonable, it serves no purpose in our quest for wisdom and virtue.” (The One-Minute Philosopher, pp. 28,29).

Can it honestly be said that the pope's referring to his brothers in the Episcopate as "sick," "spiritually and mentally hardened," "enslaved to idols," "boastful and arrogant," "cowardly," "indifferent," "gloomy," and "sterile," not to mention a litany of other charges, in a public forum, is merely an exercise in fraternal constructive criticism?

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