2018: The Year of Formal Schism?

THE REMNANT UNDERGROUND: Headed up by Bishop Athanasius Schneider and two other Archbishops from Kazakhstan, a total of 6 bishops and 1 cardinal have now signed a statement of opposition to the pope-approved interpretations of Amoris Laetitia that non-repentant public adulterers can return to the sacramental life of the Church. This is revolution and counterrevolution in a Catholic Church in total crisis. Plus, looking ahead to October’s Synod of Young People in Rome—will the Church deep six Humanae Vitae? Will the Vatican give the green light to so-called ‘gay unions’? Finally, an old Jimmy Stewart movie, “Call Northside 777”, includes a sobering reminder of what it used to mean to be Catholic–something Pope Francis would do well to consider.

Comments invited… 

Cardinal Müller Warns of Schism…

From La Croix International: Cardinal Müller ‘bitter and concerned’ with Church’s direction – 29 November, 2017… 

Cardinal Müller 

Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller / Alberto PizzolI / AFP
“There is a front made up of traditionalist groups as well as a number of progressives, who would like to see me lead a movement against the pope, but I will never do it.”

These were the words of Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Müller, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to Massimo Franco, columnist at the Italian daily Il Corriere dela Sera, in an interview published on Sunday, November 26.

Müller, who has previously distanced himself from a series of pontifical moves, revealed that he was both bitter and concerned with the direction the Church is taking.

Insisting that he believed in “the unity of the Church”, Cardinal Müller nevertheless called on Church authorities “to listen to those who have serious questions and fair complaints”.

“We must not ignore them or, worse, humiliate them,” he emphasized.

“If not, without intending it, the risk of a slow separation may grow and lead to a schism by a section of the Catholic world that feels disoriented and disappointed,” Cardinal Müller warned.

Schism looming? 

The history of Martin Luther’s Protestant schism 500 years ago should indicate the kind of mistakes we need to avoid,” he said.

Although he had previously harshly criticized his dismissal as the head of the Congregation for the Faith, he revealed several new aspects of this in his Corriere interview.

Pope Francis reportedly said to him that “certain people have told me anonymously that you are my enemy”.

“After forty years of service to the Church,” he lamented, “gossips are making such absurd comments, creating doubts in the mind of the pope when they would have done better to visit a psychiatrist.”

Reaffirming his loyalty to Pope Francis, Cardinal Müller claimed that the pontiff’s “real friends are not those who flatter him” but “those who assist him with the truth and with theological and human expertise”.

He had severe words for the “detractors” whom he blamed for his departure from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Refuting the notion of a plot against the pope as “an absolute exaggeration”, he admitted that significant “tensions” exist in the Church at present.

“I believe that the cardinals who expressed their doubts on Amoris Laetitia or the 62 signatories to a letter making critical comments about the pope, including some which were excessive, should be listened to and not swept aside with the back of the hand as if they were Pharisees or malcontents,” Cardinal Müller said.

What is needed is “free and frank dialogue,” he added.

Instead, he feared that people within the pope’s “magic circle” are “worried primarily about spying on perceived enemies, preventing open and balanced discussion”.

In a sign of his good faith, Cardinal Müller recently issued a public defense of Amoris Laetitia, Pope Francis’ Apostolic Exhortation on the family, which has crystallized the various conflicts.

“To classify all Catholics as ‘friends’ or ‘enemies’ of the pope is the greatest evil that they cause to the Church,” Cardinal Müller insisted.

“People are perplexed when they see a well-known journalist, who is also an atheist, claim to be a friend of the pope, while a Catholic bishop and cardinal like me, is defamed as an opponent of the pope.

“I don’t think that these people are in a position to give theology lessons on the primacy of the sovereign pontiff,” he said.

Compared to Benedict XVI’s pontificate, the Church now seems “weaker,” Cardinal Müller continued.

“There are fewer and fewer priests yet we are offering answers that are more organizational, political or diplomatic than theological and spiritual,” he said.

“The Church is not a political party based on power struggles. We need to discuss existential issues about life and death, the family, and religious vocations and not always ecclesiastical politics,” he added.

“Pope Francis is popular and that’s a good thing. However, people are no longer receiving the sacraments. And his popularity among those Catholics who enthusiastically quote him, unfortunately, does not change their false convictions,” the cardinal insisted.

It is now necessary to go beyond the notion of a Church as a “country hospital”, Cardinal Müller said, citing an expression popularized by Pope Francis.

He said, instead, that the world needs a “Silicon Valley” Church.

“We need to become the Steve Jobs of the faith and transmit a powerful vision in terms of moral and cultural values,” the cardinal claimed. [Emphases added]     Source – La Croix International

Comment:

Is the Cardinal over-egging the crisis?  Or do you agree that we are in danger of schism? 

Cardinal Burke Feet of Clay…

In the clip below, Cardinal Burke pronounces the Society of Saint Pius X in schism.  Listening to it, I recall the reason several Catholic friends gave for refusing to attend his Pontifical High Mass in a Glasgow parish church recently, summed up by one insightful soul: “…he’s not the real deal.”   

Blogger Gabriel Syme, who did attend the Pontifical High Mass in Glasgow recently, writes: 

I read that earlier and was much dismayed by the reported comments from Cardinal Burke.

it is unbecoming for a prelate to tell fibs (that the SSPX is in schism) which contradict his brother Bishops.

Ironically, he would never say such a thing about genuinely schismatic groups, such as the Eastern Orthodox churches.

How disappointing that he is so feeble in the face of Francis, yet so bold with unprovoked attacks on faithful Catholic groups, attacks based on deceit.

I am very disappointed in him and have diminished respect for him now. As if attacking the SSPX should be on his agenda, while everyone is waiting (and waiting and waiting) for him to act on the dubia.

Comment:

His “damp squib” dubia and meek acceptance of the Pope’s refusal to grant him an audience to discuss the four cardinals’ concerns about Amoris Laetitia, are now placed firmly in context.  He hasn’t a clue.  He’s apparently no clearer in his grasp of the limits as well as the extent of papal authority than most of the confused Catholics, ordained and lay, suffering in the Church-anything-but Militant today.  He has shown himself to have feet of clay. Or maybe you’re a Cardinal Burke fan, just because, at least, he values the traditional Mass?  Let’s hear it… 

Cardinals Join Battle With Pope Francis

Cardinal Burke on Amoris Laetitia Dubia: ‘Tremendous Division’ Warrants Action

Posted by Edward Pentin on Tuesday Nov 15th, 2016 at 11:25 AM
In an exclusive Register interview, [Cardinal Burke] elaborates about why four cardinals were impelled to seek clarity about the papal exhortation’s controversial elements.

Four cardinals asked Pope Francis five dubia questions, or “doubts,” about the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia (The Joy of Love) in a bid to clear up ambiguities and confusion surrounding the text. On Nov. 14, they went public with their request, after they learned that the Holy Father had decided not to respond to their questions.

Cardinal Burke

Cardinal Burke

In this exclusive interview with the Register, Cardinal Raymond Burke, patron of the Sovereign Military Order of Malta, explains in more detail the cardinals’ aims; why the publication of their letter should be seen as an act of charity, unity and pastoral concern, rather than as a political action; and what the next steps will be, if the Holy Father continues to refuse to respond.

Your Eminence, what do you aim to achieve by this initiative?

The initiative is aimed at one thing only, namely the good of the Church, which, right now, is suffering from a tremendous confusion on at least these five points. There are a number of other questions as well, but these five critical points have to do with irreformable moral principles. So we, as cardinals, judged it our responsibility to request a clarification with regard to these questions, in order to put an end to this spread of confusion that is actually leading people into error.


Are you hearing this concern about confusion a lot?

Everywhere I go I hear it. Priests are divided from one another, priests from bishops, bishops among themselves. There’s a tremendous division that has set in in the Church, and that is not the way of the Church. That is why we settle on these fundamental moral questions which unify us.

Why is Chapter 8 of Amoris Laetitia of such particular concern?

Because it has been the font of all of these confused discussions. Even diocesan directives are confused and in error. We have one set of directives in one diocese; for instance, saying that priests are free in the confessional, if they judge it necessary, to permit a person who is living in an adulterous union and continues to do so to have access to the sacraments — whereas, in another diocese, in accord with what the Church’s practice has always been, a priest is able to grant such permission to those who make the firm purpose of amendment to live chastely within a marriage, namely as brother and sister, and to only receive the sacraments in a place where there would be no question of scandal. This really has to be addressed. But then there are the further questions in the dubia apart from that particular question of the divorced and remarried, which deal with the term “instrinsic evil,” with the state of sin and with the correct notion of conscience.

Without the clarification you are seeking, are you saying, therefore, that this and other teaching in Amoris Laetitia go against the law of non-contradiction (which states that something cannot be both true and untrue at the same time when dealing with the same context)?

Of course, because, for instance, if you take the marriage issue, the Church teaches that marriage is indissoluble, in accord with the word of Christ, “He who divorces his wife and marries another commits adultery.” Therefore, if you are divorced, you may not enter a marital relationship with another person unless the indissoluble bond to which you are bound is declared to be null, to be nonexistent. But if we say, well, in certain cases, a person living in an irregular marriage union can receive holy Communion, then one of two things has to be the case: Either marriage really is not indissoluble — as for instance, in the kind of “enlightenment theory” of Cardinal [Walter] Kasper, who holds that marriage is an ideal to which we cannot realistically hold people. In such a case, we have lost the sense of the grace of the sacrament, which enables the married to live the truth of their marriage covenant — or holy Communion is not communion with the Body and Blood of Christ. Of course, neither of those two is possible. They contradict the constant teachings of the Church from the beginning and, therefore, cannot be true.

Some will see this initiative through a political lens and criticize it as a “conservative vs. liberal” move, something you and the other signatories reject. What is your response to such an accusation?

Our response is simply this: We are not taking some kind of position within the Church, like a political decision, for instance. The Pharisees accused Jesus of coming down on one side of a debate between the experts in Jewish Law, but Jesus did not do that at all. He appealed to the order that God placed in nature from the moment of creation. He said Moses let you divorce because of your hardness of heart, but it was not this way from the beginning. So we are simply setting forth what the Church has always taught and practiced in asking these five questions that address the Church’s constant teaching and practice. The answers to these questions provide an essential interpretative tool for Amoris Laetitia. They have to be set forth publicly because so many people are saying: “We’re confused, and we don’t understand why the cardinals or someone in authority doesn’t speak up and help us.”

It’s a pastoral duty?

That’s right, and I can assure you that I know all of the cardinals involved, and this has been something we’ve undertaken with the greatest sense of our responsibility as bishops and cardinals. But it has also been undertaken with the greatest respect for the Petrine Office, because if the Petrine Office does not uphold these fundamental principles of doctrine and discipline, then, practically speaking, division has entered into the Church, which is contrary to our very nature.

And the Petrine ministry, too, whose primary purpose is unity?

Yes, as the Second Vatican Council says, the Pope is the foundation of the unity of the bishops and of all the faithful. This idea, for instance, that the Pope should be some kind of innovator, who is leading a revolution in the Church or something similar, is completely foreign to the Office of Peter. The Pope is a great servant of the truths of the faith, as they’ve been handed down in an unbroken line from the time of the apostles.

Is this why you emphasize that what you are doing is an act of charity and justice?

Absolutely. We have this responsibility before the people for whom we are bishops, and an even greater responsibility as cardinals, who are the chief advisers to the Pope. For us to remain silent about these fundamental doubts, which have arisen as a result of the text of Amoris Laetitia, would, on our part, be a grave lack of charity toward the Pope and a grave lack in fulfilling the duties of our own office in the Church.

Some might argue that you are only four cardinals, among whom you’re the only one who is not retired, and this is not very representative of the entire Church. In that case, they might ask: Why should the Pope listen and respond to you?

Well, numbers aren’t the issue. The issue is the truth. In the trial of St. Thomas More, someone told him that most of the English bishops had accepted the king’s order, but he said that may be true, but the saints in heaven did not accept it. That’s the point here. I would think that even though other cardinals did not sign this, they would share the same concern. But that doesn’t bother me. Even if we were one, two or three, if it’s a question of something that’s true and is essential to the salvation of souls, then it needs to be said.

What happens if the Holy Father does not respond to your act of justice and charity and fails to give the clarification of the Church’s teaching that you hope to achieve?

Then we would have to address that situation. There is, in the Tradition of the Church, the practice of correction of the Roman Pontiff. It is something that is clearly quite rare. But if there is no response to these questions, then I would say that it would be a question of taking a formal act of correction of a serious error.

In a conflict between ecclesial authority and the Sacred Tradition of the Church, which one is binding on the believer and who has the authority to determine this?

What’s binding is the Tradition. Ecclesial authority exists only in service of the Tradition. I think of that passage of St. Paul in the [Letter to the] Galatians (1:8), that if “even an angel should preach unto you any Gospel other than that which we preached unto you, let him be anathema.”

If the Pope were to teach grave error or heresy, which lawful authority can declare this and what would be the consequences?

It is the duty in such cases, and historically it has happened, of cardinals and bishops to make clear that the Pope is teaching error and to ask him to correct it.

Comment:

Some commentators may argue that the Cardinals’ action will have little to no effect, that things will continue apace.  But IS this an historic moment in the life of the Church? Might this conscientious challenge by the four Cardinals, mark a turning point in the current, worsening crisis?  What about the papolatrists? How do they reconcile their false belief that the pope – any pope – is beyond criticism, with the impending public correction of Pope Francis by a number of  Princes of the Church?  How do they square that circle? Maybe we should ask Michael Voris! 

Paisley Diocese: Church Vs Christ – Schismatic Call To Revolution…

Blogger, Petrus, a member of the Diocese of Paisley, submitted the following article on the schismatic rumblings lurking in the final document published at the conclusion of  the recent diocesan meeting of malcontents aka diocesan “synod”. 

 

Pope Francis wants the Church to stop what it has been doing and make a fresh start. He is calling for a revolution in our thinking and acting. We have to stop trying to save the Church and instead try to spread the Gospel.

Pope Francis wants the Church to stop what it has been doing and make a fresh start. He is calling for a revolution in our thinking and acting. We have to stop trying to save the Church and instead try to spread the Gospel. (From the Final Document, Diocesan Synod)

 

On becoming Bishop of Paisley, Bishop John Keenan announced that he would hold a Diocesan Synod on the “New Evangelisation”.  I emailed the bishop with these recommendations to before the synod:

  • The faithful should receive Holy Communion kneeling and on the tongue.
  • Only the priest should distribute the Blessed Sacrament.
  • Restore the practice of altar servers being exclusively male given that there is a strong link between serving on the altar and vocations to the priesthood.
  • Restore Latin to the liturgy in every parish.
  • Weekly benediction of the blessed Sacrament and parish Rosary in every parish.
  • Consecrate the Diocese of Paisley to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

I’ve just read Bishop Keenan’s reply, saying this was music to his ears! However, there’s not a mention of these things in the final document, which has just been published.  The document is scandalous. I have provided the worst quotes from the report below.

Anyone wishing to read the entire document will find it here

The centre piece of the publication is the Diocesan Charter:

Paisley Diocesan Charter

 The Diocese of Paisley, with the guidance of the Holy Spirit and through the patronage of Our Lady of Paisley, will work towards being a faith filled community where:

  • There is a commitment to effective evangelisation centred on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and a life lived with faith and charity.
  • Faith formation and active discipleship are of fundamental importance in developing the ‘Role of the Laity in the New Evangelisation’ within our parish and diocesan communities.
  • There is dynamic and collaborative engagement among all those called through Baptism into the family of God to use their gifts and talents to build up the body of Christ in an atmosphere of mutual respect.
  • All families feel welcome when they enter the church for liturgies, sacramental preparation or for support of any kind.
  • Youth are valued as bringing life to the Church.
  • There is a commitment to reach out to all of society, in particular those who feel excluded, offering witness to our belief that each person, made in the image and likeness of God, is deserving of dignity and respect.
  • The structures of the Diocese are designed to meet the needs of the diverse communities that they serve.
  • Each parish grows as a welcoming family of faith and each member of the parish community feels they belong and have something to contribute.
  • Communication in all its components: the message, the medium and the language, is understood as central to the success of the church in the modern era.
  • We actively use communication to promote the gospel message of peace and reconciliation.   END

As readers will no doubt note, this could be used in any denomination and nothing marks this out as Catholic.

As we move into the main body of the document I will simply provide the worst of what is a completely non-Catholic publication:

“Pope Francis wants the Church to stop what it has been doing and make a fresh start.  He is calling for a revolution in our thinking and acting.  We have to stop trying to save the Church and instead try to spread the Gospel.”

“The Fathers of the Second Vatican Council thought that the laity had become too passive or secondary as members in the Church, not much more than the ‘long arm’ of the clergy.  They had not been afforded their own proper dignity, vocation and responsibility. “

“New evangelisation is ecumenical. New evangelisation sees Catholics, Protestants and Evangelicals working together in the world, passing on the central Christian message.”

“Our Church is tired and too introverted to change.  Many practising  Catholics see the Church like belonging to a spiritual club that exists for the personal benefit of its members.”

There then follows a section on the feedback the bishop received as he went round the Diocese prior to the synod.  This is obviously feedback the bishop sympathises with (there’s no mention of the feedback I provided).

  1. “We need a new Pentecost. Our Pentecostal brethren are strong and we can learn from them.”
  2. “We can learn from Pentecostal services which are different every week. The young find Mass boring. We need to find different ways of celebrating it in order to convert them.”
  3. “Those who cannot go to Holy Communion should be addressed. The Church is conflicted on the GAY issue. They perceive themselves to be judged.  No-one asked them what their life is like.  The Church needs to look at how it treats GAYs and the marginalised.  The trials of life take people away, e.g. divorce. So they do not feel part of the Church. This means we lose the parents and we lose the children.  What can we do about this?  Is it structural?  Also policies must include others.  We should ask priests to apologise to those who now no longer feel part of the Church.”
  4. “How about an ecumenical Praise in the Park? As a young person I am really encouraged by this forward-thinking approach of innovation but I can understand the issues other are raising.  We all have to look forward progressively.  We cannot worry about the past but must now make the diocese better.  This may be uncomfortable but remember the aim, a better, stronger diocese. “
  1. “We need to listen to the perspective of the young. Evangelical churches set up creative ways to bring Christ alive for children.  We can learn from them. “
  2. “We need to focus on the Holy Spirit and work with Pentecostal groups, like Healing Rooms. We are losing our Catholics to them.  There are no barriers at ground level to ecumenical work.  We are just brothers who love Jesus.   How does the ecumenical dimension tie into our renewal?  We need to be with other Christians as churches and communities together.  Can we not learn from other faiths?  We have a lot to learn from evangelical communities.  Ecumenism has often been formal and top down.  It would be good for it to be at ground level.  We can learn much from interfaith.”
  3. “Encouraging boys to serve at the altar is one way of promoting vocations although it would need to avoid the perception of sexism or the criticism of not learning anything from recent scandals. Young people should not be exclusively identified with boys and too much emphasis need not be placed on gender. Female servers, in fact, encourages vocations to the religious life and serving at the altar is a way for all young people to grow in their faith and prepare to live their Catholic vocation as married, single or religious.”  END        

I think in terms of renewing the Diocese of Paisley this synod and final publication has zero chance of making any meaningful impact. In fact, there’s really nothing Catholic about this at all.    Signed… Petrus.

Comment

Before he was announced as the new Bishop of Paisley, “Father John Keenan” was repeatedly described to me as “on our side”, an “orthodox” priest. This despite the fact that he showed absolutely no sign whatsoever of being orthodox, no interest in our work. He presumably pretended to be “on our side” but I never once heard from him – like every other career-priest in Scotland, he ignored us.  Then, too, there was the inconvenient fact that, as Catholic chaplain at Glasgow University, he permitted one dissenter after another to use the chaplaincy as a platform to spread their anti-Catholicism and adversely influence students. He would  bleat that he really couldn’t do anything about it, when one of the Catholic Truth team would ring him to ask him to prevent this latest scandal.  

So, now, here we have him in full blown dissent – not from Pope Francis, of course (that would be virtually impossible) but in dissent from Catholic teaching which decrees that to separate Christ from His Church is heresy.  As Cardinal Newman put it, “…the Catholic Church IS the Christian dispensation”.  Catholicism IS Christianity. Yet, Bishop Keenan urges us to learn from “our Pentecostal brethren” (Protestant extremists, albeit well-meaning individuals) and to scrap the Church (in accordance with Pope Francis’ desire) in order to start afresh.  Now, about THAT they can certainly learn from the Protestants. They’ve been starting new churches since Luther, Knox & Company started the bandwagon rolling way back in the Middle Ages.  The writer of the Final Document appears not to have noticed the irony in the the remark that “we are losing our Catholics to Pentecostal groups” – and I doubt if Bishop Keenan will recognise all the irony, all the NON-Catholicity in each and every sentiment of that awful document. Let’s hope it’s actually NOT the “final” document – or Paisley is doomed. 

Now, don’t tell me that this is just a diocesan synod and so  these suggestions probably came from lay people, or some dissenting clergy.  Who cares?  That would simply serve to underline the Bishop’s negligence, his dereliction of duty. You read Petrus’s suggestions, entirely in keeping with Catholic Tradition; if Bishop Keenan is so “orthodox” (yeah right)  why didn’t he clutch at those suggestions  as a drowning man clutches at the proverbial straw?  

It’s the Bishop’s job to act as shepherd, keeping the faithful on the right path. If the Bishop had truly lamented the errors, the modernist spirit, in which his synod was clearly steeped,  he should have closed it down and sent the revolutionaries home. Fleas in ears, springs to mind. 

Do you see why Our Lord warned us to beware of false prophets? Do you recognise Bishop Keenan as a shepherd in wolves’ clothing?  Can you see why he – and his ilk – is heading for Hell?  If not, visit Specsavers.  One thing is clear: if you want to save your soul, avoid Paisley Diocese like the plague.

And about that “revolution”… buy yourself a copy of the Catechism of the Council of Trent. That way, you really will revolutionise your Faith and start afresh [your spiritual life, NOT “The Church”].  We’re called to sanctify ourselves. That’s our essential Catholic vocation. We are called to change ourselves. We are  NOT called to change the Church.

Let’s hear your verdict on the Paisley synod.   

October Synod: Is Schism Inevitable?

Do you agree with the commentators who believe that Vatican permission for Communion for couples in sinful unions is “a done deal”? 

Is schism inevitable?  If so, what on earth are Catholics to do to keep the Faith?  Do you agree with the solutions proposed by the commentators in the video?