CH: “Cardinal Kasper chases the spectre of Luther”

Posted June 19, 2017 11:38 am by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

CH: “Cardinal Kasper chases the spectre of Luther”

As you may know by now, the Catholic Herald is the UK’s best Catholic weekly.  This week in the print and online digital edition there is a review of a new book – released in time for this year’s LutherFest!   
I can’t fathom why some Catholics want to celebrate the rending to shreds of Christendom, but… hey.
Mind you, I am not recommending the book I am about to mention, written by Card. Kasper. I recommend the review.  I have another LutherFest book in mind for you, which I will mention at the bottom of the present.  Now the review with my patented treatment:
Cardinal Kasper chases the spectre of Luther.
Can Catholics reclaim the reformer? Why bother asks Fr Alexander Lucie-Smith
Martin Luther
An Ecumenical Perspective
By Walter Kasper
Paulist Press
This slim volume weighs in at a mere 43 pages, some of which are not completely covered in text, and consists of seven very brief chapters, all with notes. To read it is the work of about half an hour. So, it is more a pamphlet than a book, and crafted as an academic essay, given the copious references.
Any approach to Martin Luther is going to have to take account of two things. The first is the historical situation in which the reformer emerged, while the second is his theology, as it appeared then, and as it appears now; for the interpreted Luther of today is rather different to the Luther of the 16th century.
When it comes to the historical setting, Cardinal Walter Kasper talks rather grandly of “a transitional period of decline and new beginnings”, but he presents this with such broad brushstrokes that we learn little that is new, and want to say “yes, but” at the end of most sentences. [As with most of the Cardinal’s writings, I think.]
Kasper sees Luther as someone “greatly out of

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