Is there a “schism”?

Is there a “schism”?

[Neo-Catholic and ex-Lutheran Fr. Z on neo-Catholic and ex-Anglican Fr. L on the “internal” schism (or heresy?) in the “modern” Church]

Posted on 6 March 2017 by Fr. John Zuhlsdorf

I pay scant attention to Patheos, but for a couple contributors. This caught my eye after a frequent commentator here alerted me.

Fr. Dwight Longenecker wrote, with my legendary comments [in brackets]:

Headlines last week were proclaiming that a group of cardinals believe Pope Francis should step down to avoid a catastrophic schism in the Catholic Church.

Schism? What schism?

In fact, the modern Catholic Church is already in schism, but it is an internal schism, hidden to most people. [He is using the term “schism” equivocally, but read on…]

The divide is very clear and yet virtually unspoken. Nobody dares to really speak of it. [I don’t know about that.] The divide runs between cardinals. It runs between bishops and archbishops. It runs between theologians. It runs between parish priests. It runs between liturgists and catechists, church workers, musicians, teachers, journalists and writers. [All true.]

It is not really a divide between conservative and liberal, between traditionalist and progressive. [Wellll…]

[NB] It is the divide between those who believe that Jesus Christ is the Virgin born Son of God and that as the second person of the Holy and undivided Trinity established his church on earth supernaturally filled with the Holy Spirit which would stand firm until the end of time, and those who believe otherwise.

Those who believe otherwise are the modernists. [Let’s also use “heretics”.] They are the ones who think the church is a human construct. It is a historic accident that occurred two thousand years ago and succeeded by a few twists of fate and a few happy circumstances. Because the believe the church is a human construct from a particular time and place, the church can and MUST adapt and change for every age and culture in which she finds herself.

This is the great divide. This is the schism which already exists.


I direct the readership’s attention to just about anything offered by Card. Kasper lately and, in particular, the incredible comments made by Card. Coccopalmerio to Edward Pentin:

PENTIN: One last topic: At a recent plenary meeting with the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, you reportedly encouraged the members to push for a less rigid understanding of the priesthood, essentially telling them to give up on an objective and metaphysical notion of priesthood. Your notion was that as we have an understanding of different levels of communion with the Church among the baptized, we should have different degrees of the fullness of priesthood, so as to permit Protestants to minister without being fully ordained. What exactly did you say, and why did you say it?

CARD. C: I was saying we have to reflect on questions. We say, everything is valid; nothing is valid. Maybe we have to reflect on this concept of validity or invalidity. The Second Vatican Council said there is a true communion even if it is not yet definitive or full. You see, they made a concept not so decisive, either all or nothing. There’s a communion that is already good, but some elements are missing. But, if you say some things are missing and that therefore there is nothing, you err. There are pieces missing, but there is already a communion, but it is not full communion. The same thing can be said, or something similar, of the validity or invalidity of ordination. I said let’s think about it. It’s a hypothesis. Maybe there is something, or maybe there’s nothing — a study, a reflection.

Call into question the very concept of validity? What are the implications?

Effectively, that means the obliteration of the Catholic Church.

What do libs do? They launch things out as ideas, “hypothesis”, and then they walk them back or they add “nuances”. In the meantime the needle has been bumped a half a point in the desired direct. Card. Kasper put some ideas out there to kick around. Chaos ensued. But now we have some bishops who say that the divorced and remarried can be given absolution and Communion while others don’t. This, based on an objectively unclear papal document. It’s surreal. Now, Card. Coccopalmerio (as LutherFest 2017 revs up) lofts the notion that, perhaps, there are shades or, a spectrum of validity. Maybe there isn’t really any such thing as validity.

Are there 50 Shades of Gray Validity?


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2 comments on “Is there a “schism”?

  1. The progressive modernist schism (and heresy) predates their conversions. Modernists in the institutional Church have been dissenting from true Catholic doctrine and authority for decades.

  2. Emily Litella: What’s all this fuss I hear about chasms in the Catholic Church? I don’t know about you, but when I visited St. Patrick’s Cathedral, I didn’t see any chasm, even though the place is as big as the Grand Canyon. Is there a problem in St. Peter’s in Rome? I think this is all hooey, just a bunch of fake news intended to upset us Catholics …

    Chevy Chase: Emily, that’s ‘schism,’ not ‘chasm.’ Schism.

    Emily Litella: Oh! That’s different. Never mind.

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