Abp. De Kesel’s Heretical Mentors

by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  November 11, 2015   

Abp Josef De Kesel credits notorious heretics for his theological formation

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BRUSSELS (ChurchMilitant.com) - The new archbishop of Brussels, Josef De Kesel, credits heretical Catholics and protestants among those most influential in his theological training.

In his first interview as archbishop last week, Abp. De Kesel was asked to name his personal mentors. He responded, "Later, when I studied theology, I read with great interest the Jesus book and other literature of Msgr. Schillebeeckx, Karl Rahner and Willem Barnard."

Barnard is not Catholic, but Msgr. Edward Schillebeeckx, OP, and Fr. Karl Rahner, SJ are — notorious Catholics well known for their bad theology. Both Msgr. Schillebeeckx and Fr. Rahner have been censored by the Vatican for their heretical views.

Schillebeeckx, censored by the Vatican for his heterodox Christology, was behind the notorious Dutch Catechism, which calls into question a whole list of Church teachings such as original sin, the virginal birth of Jesus, the perpetual virginity of Mary, the Real Presence of Christ in the Blessed Sacrament, the infallibility of the Pope and contraception, among other things.

Both Schillebeeckx and Rahner helped craft the infamous Winnipeg Statement, a defiant reaction to the papal encyclical Humanae Vitae that presented Catholic doctrine on contraception.

Father Rahner held many of the same errors as Schillebeeckx regarding Church teaching on contraception, the Eucharist, Marian dogmas, etc. A fellow Jesuit, the learned and popular theologian Fr. John Hardon S.J., wrote:

Karl Rahner's thinking is also behind centering prayer, and Karl Rahner never, never was convinced that there is an infinite God. NEVER.

Having heretical theologians as mentors possibly contributed to some of De Kesel’s heterodox ideas, such as calling for a relaxation of mandatory celibacy for priests and saying that the doctrine on women's ordinations is "negotiable." When asked about gays last week, De Kesel responded, "I have much respect for gays," including "their way of living their sexuality."

As a side note, De Kesel not only suffers from poor theological training, but also exhibits poor pastoral judgment, as evidenced in 2014 when he assigned a priest to parish duty who had been convicted of molesting a teenage boy. De Kesel defended this decision by saying the priest deserved "a second chance." He only cancelled his appointment when this decision sparked outrage in the media and the priest himself requested cancellation of the appointment.

Noteworthy, too, is the zero tolerance for such conduct by Pope Francis. It's been widdely reported that

Pope Francis has defrocked abusive clergymen, disciplined Catholic prelates who were believed to have covered up for them, and stripped an abusive cardinal of all his authority. The Pope has also personally intervened in other abuse cases, ordering investigations and encouraging the public authorities to take strong action against evildoers.

Pope Francis wrote a letter earlier this year to all bishops telling them to back his policy of zero tolerance for clergy sex abuse. In the letter, Francis wrote: "There's no place in ministry for those who abuse minors."

De Kesel's bad theology, coupled with his poor pastoral judgment, have led some informed Catholics to wonder why he's received his recent appointment as the new archbishop of Brussels.


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