The Next Conservative Pope on Communion for the divorced and remarried

In my eschatology, I’m predicting that, during the reign of Pope Francis, many conservatives and most traditionalists will depart from communion with the one true Church, and enter into a formal schism. They will depart over three controversies:
1. Communion for the divorced and remarried
2. women deacons
3. salvation theology

I think that Pope Francis will approve the ordination of women as deacons. Many conservatives and most traditionalists, already set against the Pope over the issue of Communion, will reject the teaching that the Church possesses the authority to ordain women as deacons.

I think that Pope Francis will teach on the subject of salvation theology. He will teach that non-Catholics can be saved without converting to Catholicism, that non-Christian believers can be saved without converting to Christianity, and that non-believers can be saved without converting to belief in God. Many conservatives and most traditionalists will reject this teaching, and reject the holy Pontiff.

So begins the great conservative schism.

In my eschatology, I’m predicting that Pope Francis will resign as Roman Pontiff, within the next year or two, but not until after the schism begins. He resigns in sadness over the schism, at a loss for how to reconcile with the pride-filled Pharisees of today.

Then the Cardinals, those who remained faithful and did not depart in the conservative schism, will elect a new Pope, Cardinal Arinze as Pope Pius XIII. What will he say about Communion for the divorced and remarried?

I think that he will issue a new discipline, under which Catholics generally may not receive Communion if they have committed any objective mortal sin, until and unless they have been to Confession. He will specifically include these sins: divorce and remarriage, use of contraception for any reason, use of abortifacient contraception for any reason, any sex outside of marriage, homosexual acts, masturbation, pornography, and every other grave sin.

In response, most Catholics will stop going to Mass. They will give up receiving Communion, rather than repent and confess their sins. So begins the liberal schism. Many parishes will not have enough remaining members to pay their bills. Few persons will attend Mass, even at Christmas and Easter. The pews will be empty, and so will the coffers.

But will the conservatives and traditionalists return under the next conservative Pope? No, the vast majority will not return. For the next holy Pontiff will refuse to condemn his predecessor and refuse to rescind the ordination of women deacons. He will confirm the teaching of Pope Francis on salvation. He will condemn the schismatics and forbid them from Communion, unless they repent and confess.

The Current Controversy

Conservatives today are railing against the Supreme Pontiff, for permitting the divorced and remarried to receive Communion, in some cases. But what would satisfy these papal critics? Should Pope Francis, or the next conservative Pope, issue a strongly worded ban on reception of Communion by the divorced and remarried, due to the objective mortal sin of adultery? How can any Pope do so, without prohibiting from Communion EVERYONE who has committed ANY grave sexual sin and ANY other type of grave sin?

The conservatives will get their wish. The next conservative Pope will prohibit the divorced and remarried from Communion. But he will also prohibit anyone who commits the sins of apostasy, heresy, or schism, anyone who teaches heresy or encourages schism, anyone who makes a grave false accusation against the Pope, as well as anyone who commits any grave sexual sin or any grave sin at all — until they repent and confess. There are some clearly established exceptions to this discipline, such as priests who cannot get to another priest for confession prior to saying Mass, or a person in danger of death. But generally, the next Pope should and will prohibit from Communion anyone who commits an objective mortal sin, until they confess.

By insisting that the divorced and remarried must not receive Communion, conservatives are unwittingly setting in motion a great schism, in which most Catholics, conservative and liberal, will leave the Church. And these schismatics will then quickly fall into one heresy after another — since they have rejected the chief guardian against heresy, the Roman Pontiff. And next they will lose the faith entirely. So begins the great apostasy.

The Church cannot forbid the divorced and remarried from receiving Communion, even if they consider themselves to be in good conscience, without also forbidding those who commit any grave sin. But most married Catholics sin gravely by using contraception, often abortifacient contraception. Most unmarried Catholics have sex outside of marriage and use contraception. Many Mass-going Communion-receiving Catholics commit various sexual sins, including unnatural sexual acts in marriage, pornography, and masturbation. And most Mass-going Communion-receiving Catholics have not been to Confession in years.

Finally, I must point out that many Catholic leaders, teachers, bloggers, and online commentators are guilty of the objective mortal sins of teaching heresy and promoting schism. They adamantly insist that the divorced and remarried must not receive Communion, due to objective mortal sins — regardless of conscience. And yet they themselves are guilty of manifestly persevering in objectively grave sins by publicly teaching grave errors on faith and morals. “For with whatever judgment you judge, so shall you be judged; and with whatever measure you measure out, so shall it be measured back to you.” (Mt 7:2).

The hypocrites who insist on prohibiting the divorced and remarried from Communion will obtain what they desire. The next Pope will issue a strict discipline on reception of Communion. But by the same measure — unconfessed objective mortal sin — the papal critics who rail mercilessly against the woman caught in adultery, will also be prohibited. For they refuse to repent and confess their own objective mortal sins. These hypocritical teachers of Catholicism demand that Pope Francis correct his teaching on Communion for the divorced and remarried. Yet they themselves refuse to correct their own heretical teachings.

{8:1} But Jesus continued on to the Mount of Olives.
{8:2} And early in the morning, he went again to the temple; and all the people came to him. And sitting down, he taught them.
{8:3} Now the scribes and Pharisees brought forward a woman caught in adultery, and they stood her in front of them.
{8:4} And they said to him: “Teacher, this woman was just now caught in adultery.
{8:5} And in the law, Moses commanded us to stone such a one. Therefore, what do you say?”
{8:6} But they were saying this to test him, so that they might be able to accuse him. Then Jesus bent down and wrote with his finger on the earth.
{8:7} And then, when they persevered in questioning him, he stood upright and said to them, “Let whoever is without sin among you be the first to cast a stone at her.”
{8:8} And bending down again, he wrote on the earth.
{8:9} But upon hearing this, they went away, one by one, beginning with the eldest. And Jesus alone remained, with the woman standing in front of him.
{8:10} Then Jesus, raising himself up, said to her: “Woman, where are those who accused you? Has no one condemned you?”
{8:11} And she said, “No one, Lord.” Then Jesus said: “Neither will I condemn you. Go, and now do not choose to sin anymore.”

Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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