Phil Lawler at Catholic Culture nails it in regard to the Pope and schism:
“I am not afraid of schisms,” Pope Francis told reporters during his latest airplane press conference.
Well, I am. And I’m afraid of any Roman Pontiff who isn’t afraid of splitting the universal Church.
Which means that, yes, I’m afraid of Pope Francis.
As we head into the Amazon Synod, there are numerous indications that the Pope and his allies will use the meeting to ram through another set of dramatic changes in Church teaching and discipline. He is willing to break with our fathers in faith; he is willing to break with his brothers. I fear that the Pope is determined to have his way, regardless of the cost to Church unity.
As I remarked recently, in the past few weeks we have seen disturbing signs of a new attitude at the highest echelons of the Vatican: a willingness to suppress and dismiss critics of the Pope without even a pretense of gentility. That aggressive approach—perhaps a bid to ensure “irreversible change” in the limited time available—was on display when the Pope replied to a question from Jason Horowitz of the New York Times, about the criticism the Pope has encountered from American Catholics.
Horowitz introduced the question of schism, asking if it worried the Pontiff. But he did not suggest that it was an imminent threat. He acknowledged that some American Catholics are “very critical,” but he pointed out to the Pope that it was “some of your closest allies who have spoken of a plot against you.” Thus the Times reporter traced the current discussion of schism to its proper source. It is not the Pope’s critics who are suggesting a break; it is his allies who claim that any criticism—however mild, however respectful, however logical—is a threat to the Pope’s authority and an assault on Church unity.
In his response to Horowitz, Pope Francis made it quite clear that he accepts his allies’ analysis of the American scene. He accepts the preposterous reading of American affairs by his friend Father Antonio Spadaro, who sees American conservatism as the greatest threat to the papal agenda, and insists that “there is a campaign of disinformation against Pope Francis that links American and Russian interests.” He welcomes the work of the French author Nicolas Seneze, who sees a conservative American plot against the Pope. He believes his advisers when they explain that all criticism of his statements and policies on doctrinal issues—on the Eucharist, on the indispensable role of Jesus Christ in salvation, on the indissolubility of marriage, on the male priesthood—is really a smokescreen, a pretext, because the critics are really interested only in advancing a conservative political agenda.
In his long, rambling statement, the Pope did not answer Horowitz’s questions as to whether he had learned anything from his critics, or whether he had plans for further dialogue with them. Instead he offered a disjointed reflection on criticism, claiming that he always welcomes honest criticism and hinting that his American critics are hypocrites, advancing their own hidden agenda. The Pope’s statement was so far removed from the reality of the situation that it is difficult to say whether it was marked by dishonesty or delusion—or perhaps both.
Go here to read the rest. We have a Pope who sees himself as a leader of a faction within the Church rather than as a Pope for all faithful Catholics. Little wonder therefore that he seems to be welcoming a schism. Heckuva job Conclave of 2013, heckuva job.