From the Catholic Encyclopedia:
Schism (from the Greek schisma, rent, division) is, in the language of theology and canon law, the rupture of ecclesiastical union and unity, i.e. either the act by which one of the faithful severs as far as in him lies the ties which bind him to the social organization of the Church and make him a member of the mystical body of Christ, or the state of dissociation or separation which is the result of that act.
This definition coincides with what the average Pewsitter answers when he is requested to define schism: someone separates himself from the union with the Church.
Mind, here, that the definition – and the common parlance – refers schism to the Church, not to the Pope. One is not in schism purely because he separates himself from the Pope, or the Pope separates himself from him. One is in schism because he has cut himself off from the Church.
Let us, therefore, imagine Francis (he about whom nothing is unimaginable) state that those who support the death penalty have separated themselves from the body of the Church and are now officially in schism. Most certainly, every well-instructed Catholic would refuse to give obedience to the Evil Clown in such a matter. However, they would most certainly not be in any schism whatsoever. They would be as part of the Church as they always were. They would also (being Catholics) most certainly not go around creating a parallel “church” under, say, Pope Pius XIII Williamson (no, I think even he would never do that). They would never declare themselves “severed” from the Church in any way whatsoever. They would simply point out that the Pope is a heretic, and a heretical Pope will not be obeyed in everything that is heretical or going against the Church.
I also would find confusing to state, in such a circumstance, that the Pope is in schism himself. No, he clearly isn’t, because he has never declared severed the ties who bind him to the social organisation of the Church. In order to do so, he would have to resign and declare himself separated from the Church, which he will clearly never do. One might say that he has put himself in a factual state of schism (as in the case of the notorious Dutch Schism), but even in this case this factual separation would concern him, not you; and would still make of him the Pope exactly in the same way as the Dutch bishops remained bishops, continued to validly ordain priests, and were never deposed.
What Francis would be doing, and what he actually does with Fornicationis Laetitia and his many satanical statements, is “restricting belief to certain points of Christ’s doctrine selected and fashioned at pleasure, which is the way of heretics“.
Pope is heretic. Faithful remain faithful to the Church, and refuse to obey the Pope. No schism happens. Pope is deposed, or not. If Pope is not deposed, his appointments of Cardinals are valid – and therefore his successors are validly elected – until a Council decides on the matter of the orthodoxy of both his papacy and his successors. If Pope is deposed, Council decides about the validity of his acts and appointments whilst being a heretical Pope.
We, the simple Pewsitters, do not decide any of that. We cannot depose Popes. We are worried about dying in the state of Grace. To do this, it is highly advisable to do our best to help the right side. But it’s not for us to foresee when, and how, the Lord will put an end to this. It is also not for us to talk of schism, because no matter how heretical the Pope becomes, we remain and want to die in communion with the Church. Church, obviously, seen as the Bride of Christ, not the Vatican Gay Mafia, no matter how bad the latter may become.
The Church is the “society founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ”, not Francis’ Gay Sauna. It is not for Francis to declare you in or out, if he is being heretical in so doing.
You are still in. He is still a heretic. That’s it.
Once again, it seems to me this talk of “schism” derives from excessive and wrong consideration for the figure of the Pope. It is as if some people would think that if the Pope officially converted to Islam the Catholics would have to a) do the same or b) be in schism, because ubi Petrus ibi ecclesia and if the Pope is now within Islam, then so must you. Nonsense.
Francis will cause no schism. He will cause (more or less) widespread disobedience to his heresy, but he will not be able to cause any schism, or to cause obedient Catholics to declare themselves in schism, or to separate even only one of the faithful from the “society founded by Our Lord Jesus Christ”.
Pray for the painless death of the Evil Clown. Pray also for his conversion as sincerely as you can, though I think his death is by far the most probable and the only assured outcome. Pray that the Lord may soon put an end to this scourge. But never, never go around talking of schism.
Let him be a heretic.
You will remain faithful.
I read with beautiful regularity about the danger of “schism” if priests were to, say, start teaching Catholicism instead of fluffy common places meant to allow the not-so-faithful to feel good with themselves.
I never understood the reasoning.
Such un-faithful are, if informed and willing, obviously schismatics in pectore, but occupying the pews. They have, so to speak, already carried their schism, but inside the Church and their hearts rather than outside of Her; I call it a schism in all but name, and a far more dangerous one than a formal schism.
In most cases, though, I do not think this is what is happening. My impression is rather that many of these people are simply uninstructed, and were never helped to seriously confront Truth.
The uninstructed pewsitter who hears nothing but rubbish from the pulpit will end up absorbing the values of the society around him; values he thinks broadly aligned with the Christian message, because the priest never tells them otherwise; and if the priest talks of the evils of society only to attack Capitalism and free markets he might, particularly if he isn't very smart, one day come to believe that these are the main issues a Catholic should be confronted with.
But I firmly believe that most of these people are not fundamentally bad. When they get the Catholic dish served, they would end up eating and enjoying it. Reluctantly at the beginning, certainly, or complaining that the fare has changed. But in time, and with the assistance of a good cook solicitous of explaining to them why the food is healthy, they would learn to enjoy it and to want no other diet.
Yes, some would go. But they are already gone. Whenever not ignorance, but wilful rebellion is at the heart of their thinking, they would not stay anyway, and they are a cancer the Church should excise from Her body at once.
Bring it on, say I. Christianity is about Truth, not numbers. The pews don't need to be warmed by schismatic backsides, at least schismatics backsides in all but names. A priest who is timorous to teach Catholicism for fear of “schism” is doing much worse: he is nurturing this very schismatic mentality as he allows it to stay within the Church and take over the everyday religious and – unavoidably – political discourse.
Bring it on. Let those who are not in anymore go, and let them go away under the sun rather than continue their demolition work in the shadow of the church. Many, I think, will stay; but again, it is not a matter of numbers.
Besides, it is not known to me that parishes which adopt the Traditional Mass empty themselves whilst the parishioners tun to the next tambourine NO mass, or defect to Methodism. The contrary is the case. Catholicism is attractive, because it responds to a natural, instinctive thirst of Truth.
Let us stop with these “fears of schism”. Let us, in fact, hope and pray for good priests who pose their parishioners in front of a clear choice, asking them to be either with Christ or with the world. By God's grace many will understand, make an effort to change, and never look back.
But there is no reason to allow the cancer to keep metastasising in the body of the Church. We must not only not fear, but wish for the crisis, both in individual consciences and in the Church at large. There is no other way to excise this cancer, because it will not go away from itself.
Bring it on.
I have always been unnerved by those commenters who, in the last years, said Benedict was right in not cracking down on the German clergy because this would have caused the “danger of a schism”.
This is the same as to say that if an employer has thieves among his workforce he should not fire them, lest they go out stealing.
As it was, the thieves, or the schismatics, were allowed to continue their work inside the employer's premises, or rather the Church.
The result is under our very eyes.
Compromise with the Truth leads to compromising the Truth.
Good day! May I introduce myself? My name is Grima, Grima Wormtongue, and I am at home in most fora and blogs, particularly the conservative ones.
I feign a sincere interest for orthodoxy, and will miss no occasion to tell you how much I care.
This will allow me to express – in those conservative fora where openly progressive positions would be mercilessly attacked – an utterly heretical agenda – because between you and I, this is what I am – under the cloak of love for orthodoxy.
I am permanently “worried” of “schism” if Popes were to insist on the restoration of proper Catholicism. Actually, my presence is made most clear by the use of this very word. Whenever women priests, contraception, abortion or homosexuality are discussed, I will piously oppose any tightening of screws with my pious concern that more souls might in this way go away from the Church. You see, in this way I subtly make us – the heretics – the metre of what can or cannot be done, should or should not be said. It is great fun to observe how the conservative forum readers always take the bait, and do not even think of questioning my motives. Ah, how many times I have enjoyed this little game, coming down heavily on the defenders of Catholicism with my “worries”. I never attack them openly, you see, as this would alienate me the big troops of the orthodox; rather, I depict the tragic consequences of every attempt to return to sound Catholicism in such frightful terms, that my opponents (whom I never openly call so, but are really the enemy) look by contrast like dangerous children playing with fire.
This method of ” condemnation by contrast” I use at every occasion. My extremely pious harmlessness will let you appear violent, my ostentatious love of peace a warmonger, my insisted “pastoral concerns” an insensitive train wrecker. All the while, though, I will appear as one of yours, merely a better one. Oh, the fun I have!
If anyone were to show he can see through my little game, I would show one of my specialities, in which I have achieved a high level of proficiency: passive-aggressiveness. You should see me answering to my opponent that I am hurt, but not really offended (because he is so insensitive); I might even, in that fake-humble way of mine, forgive him and thus firmly take the moral high ground; in the worst cases I will even inform him I will pray for his intentions, which never fails to achieve some results.
Irascible people are also a favourite weapon of mine. I will provoke them in a polite, but very open manner, thus causing a tsunami of accusations to be moved against me; this is my moment, and I will instantly jump on the cross and nail myself to it, showing to all the forumists my outstretched arms and loving, if atrociously suffering, attitude.
I never attack openly. If I don’t like your arguments (which I won’t) I’ll say it is “sad” you think so. My every move will be aimed at letting you appear a bully, then since childhood I never could stand on my own, or accept a fight like all the other boys did. In time, I learned to fight with the weapons of a woman; you won’t fear my fists, but you will soon notice my nails aren’t fun, either.
This is how I fight my fight on the Internet, as sneaky and subtly as I do in life. I never manage to con the awake and alert ones, but I will manage to influence enough of the others to make it worth my while.
There are many Grima Wormtongues on the Internet. Look a bit closely and you’ll discover we are everywhere.
Next time you are on a Catholic forum or blog, say hello to Catholic Grima.