The musings and meandering thoughts of a crotchety old man as he observes life in the world and in a small, rural town in South East Nebraska. My Pledge-Nulla dies sine linea-Not a day with out a line.
25 February 2023
Pope Francis’s Schism
He is reported to have said, '“It is not to be excluded that I will enter history as the one who split the Catholic Church.” [my emphasis]
If Pope Francis drops his nuclear bomb on Tradition, this will create a schism in the Church.
At this point, it seems more than likely that as early as April 3, Pope Francis will be laying the hammer down on the Traditional Mass in a way that will restrict the liturgy of all our Latin-Rite ancestors that is almost as severe as what happened under Paul VI.
In addition, it looks like traditional ordinations and other sacraments will be outlawed as well. This means that not even the traditional communities are safe.
If I was a betting man, I wouldn’t be surprised if this causes great strife in some of the Ecclesia Dei communities (those communities like the Fraternity of St. Peter set up to exclusively celebrate the traditional rites). Does this mean priests in those orders will leave, go independent, or seek to be admitted to the SSPX? Who knows.
Assuming this all materializes, it will harm Catholics greatly, causing division in families, educational institutions, and more. In essence, it will create a deep rift between many Catholics, which will be very sad.
Of course, nothing is confirmed, but with a recent rescript from the Holy See affirming a draconian interpretation of Traditionis Custodes, and the who’s who of Vaticanistas affirming that Francis’ Vatican is about to release the sword of Damocles on the Old Mass, we should be prepared for the worst.
Now, before I continue, the liberal crowd will be up in arms at the suggestion that it would be wrong for a pope to cancel a liturgy. You see, the liberals embraced cancel culture before it was cool.
While I grant that the pope has authority over the liturgy, and of course, liturgical reform is under his umbrella, we must rid ourselves of the legal positivism and papolatry that has enwrapped the minds of so many Catholics for so long.
Fr. Henri Le Floch, who was the rector of the French Seminary in Rome under Pope Pius X, Benedict XV, and Pius XI, said the following in the 1920’s: “The heresy which is now being born will become the most dangerous of all; the exaggeration of the respect due to the pope and the illegitimate extension of his infallibility.”
We are there, my friends, and we have been for a long time.
Reforming liturgy does not mean destroying liturgy, and you don’t need a Ph.D. to understand that. As Pope Benedict XVI beautifully put it, “What earlier generations held as sacred, remains sacred and great for us too, and it cannot be all of a sudden entirely forbidden or even considered harmful.”
St. Robert Bellarmine stated: “Just as it is licit to resist a Pontiff who attacks the body, so also is it licit to resist him who attacks souls or destroys the civil order or above all, tries to destroy the Church. I say that it is licit to resist him by not doing what he orders and by impeding the execution of his will.”
Critics will say I am using this quote out of context; because, of course, the critics are the guardians of what constitutes context and what doesn’t, just ask them.
If you would like to continue living in a world where the Novus Ordo is not at the heart of one of the worst eras ever to befall the Church, then go ahead. But the fact remains that the Novus Ordo is dying and the Traditional Mass is rising. Just look at the zillions of Catholics who left the Church when the New Mass was promulgated, and look at how many young families are stuffing narthexes full of wailing babies at your local TLM as the Old Mass continues to grow.
Now, if Pope Francis drops his nuclear bomb on Tradition, this will create a schism in the Church.
I should qualify what I mean by schism.
For our purposes, we will simplify. We can say that there is formal schism and informal schism. (Some may say material schism instead of informal, although the term material schism is usually used to refer to someone who associates with a schismatic group but hasn’t been formally declared a schismatic.)
Formal schism is when you literally start another Church and intentionally exist in a way separated from the pope on principle.
Informal schism is when there is a significant division between Christians but not a formal separation in an intentionally juridical way.
Informal schism is what St. Paul talks about in First Corinthians when he states: “Now I beseech you, brethren, by the name of our Lord Jesus Christ, that you all speak the same thing, and that there be no schisms among you; but that you be perfect in the same mind, and in the same judgment.”
In some translations, the word schism is translated as division, which is appropriate as the roots of the word are found in terms that refer to splitting or dividing. A divorce is a type of schism, for example, because it is a split or division.
St. Paul is not talking about a formal schism as if there were different juridical structures set up in Corinth where different hierarchs were viewed as legitimate or illegitimate. In other words, Paul is imploring the Corinthians to not be divided but instead unified in the Faith.
Now, the modern liberal Catholic would read this and assume that anything that is divisive must therefore be bad, but this is against Scripture, as Christ says in Matthew: “For I came to set a man at variance against his father, and the daughter against her mother, and the daughter-in-law against her mother-in-law.”
If you are set at variance, then you are necessarily divided from someone or not unified with someone.
We should not take this to mean that Christ came to cause division as a primary purpose, but the Son of God is necessarily divisive, in that His coming separates the light from the darkness. If you follow Christ, you will be in schism from Satan. If you live in the Truth, you will be in schism from lies.
When we understand the difference between formal and informal schisms, then we can understand how there were schisms in the early Church, even if there was only one Church juridically.
Please don’t take this to mean that I am encouraging division; rather, I am simply acknowledging it as a historical fact.
Many schisms already exist in our Church, as Catholics are divided on all sorts of issues.
Therefore, we must be able to discern what is the cause of division, and whether being divided by something is good or bad.
For example, if a bishop wants you to sit through an interreligious service with snake worshippers, or confess your eco sins, and you are called “divisive” because you won’t be a pagan, then you should wear that as a badge of honor. There can be no unity with lies.
If your daughter says to you, after watching the girl altar boys process with the priest at the beginning of Mass, “Can I be a girl priest when I grow up too?” and you decide to never have anything to do with that parish again, then again, if this makes you “divisive” in the eyes of the modernist, then so be it.
We could go on with examples, but I think the point is clear.
In many ways, Satan acts as the Ape of God, which means he seeks to mimic God in order to gain influence over you so he can confuse you.
One of his most effective tactics is to quote Scripture—like he tried to do with Christ in the desert.
This tells us that even if something that is presented to us is true by the letter, we cannot just assume that the presentation of it is of God or even contextually correct.
Satan is hyperintelligent, and those devoted to him often are very intelligent as well.
So, if some apologist or cleric calls you a schismatic because you will not shake hands with the revolution or take part in what Paul VI called the “auto-demolition” of the Church, then you are not required to give some lengthy reply, citing chapter and verse, any more than you are required to do the same to a Calvinist who tries to prove you are worshipping idols while also citing innumerable passages from Scripture.
If you are a baptized and confirmed Catholic who is living in a state of grace and have formed your conscience with traditional catechisms, then you have every right to listen to your gut, which we can call your Catholic sense.
Just like the faithful Catholicswho worshipped with St. Athanasius in the desert when he uttered, “they may have the churches, but we have the faith,” you are not a schismatic just because you won’t fall in line with the whims of bishops who want you to pretend that liturgical dance and mandating experimental jabs are somehow hunky-dory with the Almighty.
The faithful who would not take part in the Arian destruction of the Church were not schismatics, and they did not have to write a dissertation to prove it; in fact, most of them were likely illiterate. They used their Catholic sense, and they were right, just like you can use your Catholic sense and have peace of conscience when you resist mandates that outlaw the faith and prayers of all your ancestors.
Schism is already here, and it is going to get worse.
The question you must ask yourself is: What side of the divide will you be on?