PopeWatch: Schism



Raymond Cardinal Burke discusses the possibility of schism in an interview with Diana Montagna at Aleteia:



But there is increasing talk of fear of schism, that if the Synod of Bishops keeps going in the direction it’s going, that it’s going to get worse. What could be done to avoid that happening, in your view?

We have individually to make sure that we keep in strong contact with the Tradition through our study of the Catechism, above all through prayer, and also through sound spiritual direction, strong in our Catholic faith and our witness to it. And then that we use other occasions and opportunities, whether it’s our personal witness in our daily contacts, visits with family and friends and so forth, to underline the beauty of the truth about marriage. And also events like today’s, a colloquium centering around questions that were raised at the Synod on the Family, and other questions around which there is a lot of confusion.

I think, for instance, of the question: is it possible that the Church’s teaching can remain the same and yet that she could have a pastoral practice which seems to contradict it. Those kinds of questions need to be addressed. And the confusion, too, surrounding the position of the Fathers of the Church with regard to Communion for those who are in irregular unions, or the confusion surrounding the practice of the Orthodox Churches and so forth, and the idea that we should adopt the same practice. 

And do you think that there is a real risk of schism in this?

If in some way the Synod of Bishops was seen to go contrary to what is the constant teaching and practice of the Church, there is a risk because these are unchanging and unchangeable truths.

At the Synod, when the interim report came out, some said it was a disaster.

It was a total disaster.

The final report noted the need for “sensitivity to the positive aspects” of civil marriages and, “with obvious differences, cohabitation.” The Church, it says, “needs to indicate the constructive elements in these situations.” The paragraph, number 41, passed the requisite two-thirds majority. Do you find it disturbing that this paragraph gained a two-thirds majority among the bishops? 

The language is at best confused, and I’m afraid that some of the Synod Fathers may not have reflected sufficiently on the implications of that, or maybe because the language is confused, didn’t understand completely what was being said. But that is disturbing for me. And then the whole matter: that even though [certain] paragraphs were removed, and rightly so, although contrary to practice in the past the document was printed with those paragraphs included, and one had to go and look at the votation to see that certain paragraphs had been removed. It’s disturbing to me that even those sections which were voted to be removed still received a substantial number of votes.

Juridically, when those three paragraphs did not receive the two-thirds majority, were they to be removed from the document?

Absolutely. We couldn’t have any discussion on that text, but we voted paragraph by paragraph, and what’s the point of voting paragraph by paragraph except to either accept a paragraph of have it removed. This is just one more disturbing aspect about the way in which Synod of Bishops was conducted. 

Do you see this agenda continuing through the coming year? They aren’t going to change course?

No, because the General Secretary has identified himself very strongly with the Kasper thesis, and he is not hesitant to say so and has gone around also giving talks in various places. He’s less outspoken than Cardinal Kasper but nevertheless it’s clear that he subscribes to that school. So no, this is going to go on and that’s why it’s important that we continue to speak up and to act as we are able to address the situation.

Go here to read the rest.  These are dismal times for the Church and anyone who does not agree with that assessment is not paying attention.

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  1. I sent that Thank you to the cardinal too Elizabeth.
    ” dismal times for the Church and anyone who does not agree with that assessment is not paying attention”.
    I agree that many are not paying attention. Also clergy and others may be squeezing their eyes shut, not wanting to see.
    The priests I have heard talk about it pretty uniformly say anyone who is worried should check their sources and not be misled by secular media.
    The media is the default fall guy, which, to borrow yet another term I learned during the Obama presidency- gives “plausible deniability”.

  2. I think we should recall the Holy Father’s words in hsi closing speech, “Many commentators, or people who talk, have imagined that they see a disputatious Church where one part is against the other, doubting even the Holy Spirit, the true promoter and guarantor of the unity and harmony of the Church – the Holy Spirit who throughout history has always guided the barque, through her Ministers, even when the sea was rough and choppy, and the ministers unfaithful and sinners.
    And, as I have dared to tell you , [as] I told you from the beginning of the Synod, it was necessary to live through all this with tranquillity, and with interior peace, so that the Synod would take place cum Petro and sub Petro (with Peter and under Peter), and the presence of the Pope is the guarantee of it all.”
    As the Holy Father reminded us, he is, “by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” (Can. 749)” and enjoys ““supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church” (cf. Cann. 331-334).”

  3. My guess is that most Catholic s will see Pope Francis actions as a good thing as a majority of the Bishops at the Synod did. How could anyone be critical of such a welcoming and charitable attitude towards those living in “irregular” relationships?
    Seems to me it will only get worse for awhile.

  4. Those being welcomed into the Catholic Church must submit themselves to the teaching of the Church. If they are the divorced and remarried, they too, must submit themselves to the teachings of Christ in the Catholic Church. If they are the abandoned spouse or the abandoned child, they too must hear the words of Christ through the infallibility of the Pope. If anyone refuses to hear the words of Christ, he is so much the worse for it…self ex-communicated. (There is salvation outside the Church, but not outside of Christ.)
    If Pope Francis removes the annulment tribunal, three priests deciding the outcome of an annulment and replaces it with a one priest tribunal, Pope Francis will shortchange the abandoned spouses and children.
    As far as free annulment proceedings, these are already available for people who cannot afford the processing fees.
    If Pope Francis welcomes Henry VIII into Holy Communion without all the bishops’ consent, or allows sodomy into the church as compassion, Pope Francis will not be speaking ex-cathedra; infallibly.

  5. Michael Paterson-Seymour: “As the Holy Father reminded us, he is, “by the will of Christ Himself – the “supreme Pastor and Teacher of all the faithful” (Can. 749)” and enjoys ““supreme, full, immediate, and universal ordinary power in the Church” (cf. Cann. 331-334).”
    As the Vicar of Christ, Pope Francs is all that he says he is, as stated by you, above. In order that Pope Francis may speak infallibly about dogma and doctrine of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis must speak through the Magisterium, the Chair of Peter in unison with all the bishops of the world. Pope Francis knows this and this is why Pope Francis has called this Synod…to fulfill the doctrine on the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony.
    CardinalS Pell and Raymond Burke are insisting on the basic truth of the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony, and in this way, they, the Cardinals, the bishops of the church, are helping Pope Francis steer a clear voyage for the barque of Peter.
    As far as doctrine about the Sacrament of Holy Matrimony is concerned, Pope Francis can do nothing without his bishops, for without his bishops, Pope Francis is not infallible, and no one incurs sin by not agreeing with him.

  6. Mary De Voe wrote, “without his bishops, Pope Francis is not infallible”

    In its constitution Pator Aeternus, the First Vatican Council said the direct opposite.

    “when in discharge of the office of pastor and doctor of all Christians, by virtue of his supreme Apostolic authority, he defines a doctrine regarding faith or morals to be held by the universal Church, by the Divine assistance promised to him in Blessed Peter, is possessed of that infallibility with which the Divine Redeemer willed that his Church should be endowed in defining doctrine regarding faith or morals, and that therefore such definitions of the Roman pontiff are of themselves and not from the consent of the Church [ex sese, non autem ex consensu ecclesiae] irreformable.”

    The pope does not require the consent of the bishops, or of anyone else, to define doctrine.

  7. Tell us how often after Vatican I the Pope has used lone infallibility.

    Better yet, ask him how often with out extensive consultation with the world’s bishops and regarding and issue of some controversy among bishops.

  8. “Better yet, ask him how often with out extensive consultation with the world’s bishops and regarding and issue of some controversy among bishops.”

    Not to mention controversy among the laity.

    But Francis is humble. So humble that he will be able to ignore the witness of 2000 years of clear teaching and the witness of the saints as well as current bishops and the laity. Yes, he is humble enough to change Church teaching on his own.

  9. Thank you Elizabeth. Just sent my thanks to our Holy Bishop.
    They have a goal of 25,000.
    If you haven’t sent yours yet please consider it. He could use a little lift right about now.

  10. I was afraid that some, Michael Paterson-Seymour, would read “consent”. I surely ought to have written Magisterium, for it is through the Magisterium that Pope Francis speaks infallibly. Cardinals Burke and Pell may be forced from the Magisterium.

  11. The decree of 1870 was designed to reject two theories concerning papal infallibility.
    One was the “conciliarist” theory, going back to the decree Hæc Sancta (sometimes called Sacrosancta), according to which “ It further declares that any one, whatever his condition, station or rank, even if it be the Papal, who shall contumaciously refuse to obey the mandates, decrees, ordinances or instructions which have been, or shall be issued by this holy council, or by any other general council, legitimately summoned, which concern, or in any way relate to the above mentioned objects, shall, unless he repudiate his conduct, be subject to condign penance…” This decree was never confirmed by the Holy See.
    The other was the Gallican theory, contained in the Four Articles of 1682. The Second Article declared, “The authority in things spiritual belongs to the Holy See and the successors of St. Peter, and does not affect the decrees of the Council of Constance contained in the fourth and fifth sessions of that council,” the Third Article declared the exercise of the Apostolic authority to be subject to the Canons and the Fourth declared that “Although the pope has the chief part in questions of faith, and his decrees apply to all the Churches, and to each Church in particular, yet his judgment is not irreformable, at least pending the consent of the Church.”
    It was against both these theories that the words, “ex sese non autem ex consensus ecclesiæ” were directed. The Council declared that the pope has in the Church the plenitude of jurisdiction in matters of faith, morals discipline, and administration and that his decisions ex cathedra are of themselves, and without the assent of the Church, infallible and irreformable. As Cajetan had argued against the decrees of Constance, “Christ gave the plenitude of ecclesiastical power, not to the community of the Church, but to a single person in it.”

  12. Michael PS,
    I’ll take that as…one case after Vatican I is lone infallibility….the Assumption. We have to go to Christ who saw the scribes and pharisees as sitting on the throne of Moses and thus telling the disciples to obey them in everything….except Christ then taught them to obey scripture instead of them when the scribes and pharisees didn’t grasp the whole thing as in the case of the disciples eating grain as they walked through a field on the Sabbath. Hence Christ repeatedly taught a type of epikeia of Scripture first…then second those who sat on the one chair of Moses. Vatican II implies the same in Dei Verbum wherein it has the magisterium receiving the scriptures and handing them down to us…not overriding the word of God. Look for epikeia in the catechism some day. I’m betting it’s not there. Aquinas alone seems to have spent time on it though it is relevant in incident after incident as Christ clashes with and disobeys those who sat on the throne of Moses. Germain Grisez in ” Way of the Lord Jesus” mentions epikeia briefly in three tomes and surrounds the fragment with warnings. Decoupling from Scripture is why we have a bizarre death penalty teaching that never even refers to Rom.13:4 in passing. It’s why we have actively gay priests in Rome who don’t see Romans chapter one as inspired but rather as Paul’s private thoughts. It’s why there is no mention of wifely obedience in the catechism despite sad divorce rates and despite the NT referring six times to wifely obedience. Decoupling from scripture is everywhere in our outer surface. ” He who eats and drinks unworthily, drinks judgement unto himself.” How did the orthodox get past that one on receiving during a sinful union? Will it be cited in the Synod. ” All that they command you observe and do”… but then Christ proceeded to teach epikeia and holy disobeying when those on the throne of Moses were not fully obeying the word of God themselves.

  13. Michael I do recall the pope’s words at the end- and wonder how I can take his words seriously. ““Many commentators, or people who talk, have imagined that they see a disputatious Church where one part is against the other” -even with my active imagination! 🙂

  14. I also remember his first words as pope: ““And now I would like to give the blessing, but first – first I ask a favor of you: before the Bishop blesses his people, I ask you to pray to the Lord that he will bless me: the prayer of the people asking the blessing for their Bishop. Let us make, in silence, this prayer: your prayer over me.”

    Very confusing messages from him. He also reminds me of someone else I don’t understand; someone who also has pen, phone, media and largely low information audience…. My option now is the only option we ever have. Prayer.

  15. Bill Bannon wrote, “ ” He who eats and drinks unworthily, drinks judgement unto himself.” How did the orthodox get past that one on receiving during a sinful union?”

    Most Orthodox commentators connect unworthy reception with St Paul’s warning in the earlier part of chapter 11:20-23, “Therefore when you meet together, it is not to eat the Lord’s Supper, for in your eating each one takes his own supper first; and one is hungry and another is drunk. What! Do you not have houses in which to eat and drink? Or do you despise the church of God and shame those who have nothing? What shall I say to you?” They believe this is what the Apostle means by “unworthily” ἀναξίως in verse 27, which they construe together with verse 29 “For he who eats and drinks, eats and drinks judgment to himself if he does not judge the body rightly.” (Reading διακρίνων –lit “to separate out,” “to sift” as “judging rightly”)
    In other words, not recognising the Lord’s Supper for what it is, like the people criticised in vv 20-23.

  16. So if people at Mass are well behaved and civil, an unrepentant bank robber amongst them can receive Communion in that context.

  17. Bill Bannon wrote, “So if people at Mass are well behaved and civil, an unrepentant bank robber amongst them can receive Communion in that context.”

    No, they simply do not consider this is the question St Paul is addressing in 1 Cor 11

  18. Doctrine is infallible. The “TRUTH” WHO is Jesus Christ is infallible. When the Pope speaks of doctrine, the articles of Faith, deposited in the Creed, the pope speaks infallibly. The “TRUTH” is the truth or it is a lie.
    If anyone, including the Pope, redefines the TRUTH, or articles of Faith, or Doctrines, the Pope and everyone else falls into heresy. Not speaking of doctrine, the Pope offers his opinion or as it is called “a judgment”.
    The Pope’s infallibility is predicated on disseminating doctrine. Of course, violating doctrine is heresy.

  19. After Francis’ recent statements which welcomed polygamists and
    homosexuals into the church and which demanded a quick and easy
    method for Catholics to become polygamists, I have to conclude that he has been
    in rebellion against the teachings of the church for many years as a priest
    in Argentina.

  20. Bill Bannon asked, “Do you agree with them.”

    Well, St Paul begins his discussion with “So then, when you come together, it is not the Lord’s Supper you eat, for when you are eating, some of you go ahead with your own private suppers. As a result, one person remains hungry and another gets drunk. Don’t you have homes to eat and drink in? Or do you despise the church of God by humiliating those who have nothing?” and concludes it with, “when you gather to eat, you should all eat together. Anyone who is hungry should eat something at home, so that when you meet together it may not result in judgment.”

    What his words mean in that context is one question; their wider application to other situations is another.

  21. Discussing the Pope’s orthodoxy always puts me in mind me of a remark of Wittgenstein’s, “Let us imagine samples of colour being preserved in Paris like the standard metre. We define: “sepia” means the colour of the standard sepia which is there kept hermetically sealed. Then it will make no sense to say of this sample either that it is of this colour or that it is not.”

    To say that a pope is a heretic is like saying « le grand K » does not weigh a kg, which is neither true nor false, but meaningless, for to be “a heretic” means to hold a doctrine he condemns.

  22. Let us not forget that the multitude of persons who profess to be Catholic while they deny The Sanctity of Human Life from the moment of conception and The Sanctity of Marriage and The Family as God intended, are already part of The Great Falling Away. There is no division in The Body of Christ, for it is through, with, and in Him, in the unity of The Holy Spirit, that The Body of Christ exists.

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