I’ve begun a series of posts on the topic of eschatology. These posts include specific predictions about the near and distant future of the Church. In addition, my monthly Newsletter contains an article or two of eschatology with further predictions (only for supporters).
Previously, I predicted that conservative Catholics would accuse Pope Francis of heresy, due to his controversial decisions on doctrine and discipline.
April 2015: “And what will happen if Pope Francis does loosen the rules for Communion? Some will falsely accuse him of heresy. They will depart from the Church, creating a schism that will only deepen and widen as the months and years pass.” [Daring Pope Francis to cross the Conservative line in the sand]
December 2014: “Pope Francis will teach some controversial doctrine, which conflicts with the assumptions and false conclusions of many conservatives. And many will falsely accuse the Pope of heresy and depart from the Church.” [Pope Francis and the Great Apostasy]
November 2013: “How soon after the promulgation of ‘the Joy of the Gospel’ will some Catholics accuse the Pope of heresy?” [Pope Francis and the close of the Year of Faith]
September 2013: “Pope Francis proclaims a new teaching, one that Catholics on the far right (conservatives, traditionalists) refuse to accept. This teaching may well be that non-Christians and non-believers can be saved without converting. He promulgates this teaching in a papal encyclical (or similar document). And as a result, many conservative Catholics accuse the Pope of heresy. By this accusation alone, they fall into schism.
“The controversy widens and intensifies, especially by means of the internet and the news media. When these conservative Catholics see that the support that this teaching will have on the left, among liberal Catholics, they try to convince conservative Bishops and Cardinals to intervene with the Pope. This attempt fails, and those Catholics on the far right decide to leave the Church. They unjustly accuse the Pope and the body of Bishops who promulgate this teaching of numerous heresies. Some few Cardinals and Bishops break communion with the Pope as well.” [How Pope Francis initiates the Great Apostasy]
What Happens Next?
Pope Francis will issue more controversial teachings. But the conservative papal critics can merely continue along the same path. They can openly disagree with him, openly accuse him of heresy, and assert that their view is true teaching. What can Pope Francis say or do that will finally cause these heretics and schismatics to admit they are no longer believing and practicing Catholic?
The answer is the ordination of women deacons. If the Pope merely teaches that the Church has the authority to ordain women, his critics can accuse him of heresy and proclaim their own view to be dogma. But they will continue to pretend to be members in good standing of the Catholic Church.
Once the Pope changes Canon Law and begins the actual ordination of women, the schismatic papal critics have no recourse. They have to depart from communion with the Bishops and the Pope. They cannot attend Mass with a female deacon, while proposing that the ordination of women is invalid. They cannot be in communion with the Bishops who ordain women. They will be forced to depart.
In truth, the critics who have accused Pope Francis of heresy are already in a state of formal schism. Every Catholic is required to submit to the authority of the Roman Pontiff as Teacher and Shepherd over their mind and hearts. No one accepts as Teacher and Shepherd a man who they think teaches or believes heresy and other grave errors. It is always an act of formal schism to accuse the Pope of heresy.
The schismatics will try to gather themselves to the few Bishops and priests who agree with their error. But they will not have enough Bishops to convincingly claim that their group is the true Church. It will be readily apparent that they are just as schismatic as the SSPX.
The Next Pope
Eventually, the controversies over his teachings will be so severe and disruptive that Pope Francis will resign. But this does not absolve the schismatics of their sin. As long as they continue to maintain that Pope Francis taught heresy, or committed heresy, or was not a valid Roman Pontiff, they continue to be in a state of formal schism and automatic excommunication.
When the next Pope is elected (Cardinal Arinze as Pope Pius XIII), the critics of Francis will rejoice. But their joy will be short-lived. The new Pope, though very conservative, will not accuse Pope Francis of heresy, will confirm his teachings, will continue to approve of women deacons, and will not permit the schismatics to return, unless they accept the teachings of Pope Francis. So most papal critics will remain outside of communion with the Church.
Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.