It is hard to see how the Cardinal is not making a case for the heretical notion that doctrine and dogma can change with the times and circumstances of history. Also, in using the uncommon word “vicissitudes” one wonders if the Cardinal was not directly contradicting St. Pius X as he used this exact word in describing the condemned thought of the Modernists:
…Consequently, the formulae too, which we call dogmas, must be subject to these vicissitudes, and are, therefore, liable to change. Thus the way is open to the intrinsic evolution of dogma. An immense collection of sophisms this, that ruins and destroys all religion. Dogma is not only able, but ought to evolve and to be changed. This is strongly affirmed by the Modernists, and as clearly flows from their principles.
The great St. Pius X goes on to condemn this notion, the very one being offered by Cardinal Baldisseri, in the strongest terms:
First of all they lay down the general principle that in a living religion everything is subject to change, and must change, and in this way they pass to what may be said to be, among the chief of their doctrines, that of Evolution… evolution in the Church itself is fed by the need of accommodating itself to historical conditions and of harmonizing itself with existing forms of society.
…Thus, Venerable Brethren, for the Modernists, both as authors and propagandists, there is to be nothing stable, nothing immutable in the Church. Nor indeed are they without precursors in their doctrines, for it was of these that Our Predecessor Pius IX wrote:
These enemies of divine revelation extol human progress to the skies, and with rash and sacrilegious daring would have it introduced into the Catholic religion as if this religion were not the work of God but of man, or some kind of philosophical discovery susceptible of perfection by human efforts.
The doctrine of the faith which God has revealed has not been proposed to human intelligences to be perfected by them as if it were a philosophical system, but as a divine deposit entrusted to the Spouse of Christ to be faithfully guarded and infallibly interpreted. Hence the sense, too, of the sacred dogmas is that which our Holy Mother the Church has once declared, nor is this sense ever to be abandoned on plea or pretext of a more profound comprehension of the truth.
In addition, St. Pius X explicitly condemned the following two Modernist notions in his Papal decree Lamentabili Sane:
Thus, the Cardinal’s statements should be seen as nothing new. They are simply the product of a false notion that dogma and doctrine can evolve and adapt to the times; a notion already condemned over a century ago. That a Cardinal of the Church, much less the Secretary General of the Synod on the Family could propose that Church teaching on divorce can be “updated” is a sign of just how far many prelates have strayed from a Catholic understanding of the most basic tenets of our religion.
In any case, the most important lines of this story are ones that are most likely to be overlooked:
Cardinal Baldisseri, 73, confirmed in the interview that Pope Francis wishes local bishops to be seriously involved in the global governance of the Church and for there to be a new balance between centralization and local autonomy.
This odd sentence, seemingly out of place in a story about the Synod on the Family makes more sense when one puts it in the context of Cardinal Kasper’s opening speech to the Synod, which Pope Francis referred to as a “beautiful and profound presentation.” Cardinal Kasper’s presentation included the following proposal, as explained by Chris Ferrara:
Kasper proposes that since the annulment process is only a matter of ecclesiastical law, the Church could simply allow a local bishop to empower a priest “with spiritual and pastoral experience” or the diocesan penitentiary or episcopal vicar to make some sort of “pastoral” decision that the prior marriage in the Church ought not to impede reception of the Blessed Sacrament because it was probably invalid.
Is Cardinal Badisseri hinting that the Synod is moving towards this solution?
Let us pray it is not.