The Battle for the Conservative Wing of the Catholic Church

The Church, in terms of its many members who are fallen sinners, is unfortunately divided in many ways. Though the Church is pure and holy, as the body of Christ, led by the Spirit. The Church is also, in part, a human institution, with human failings. One of these failings is the division of the people of God into conservative and liberal, as if religious views were a type of political opinion, as if the flock of Christ were divided into parties. That is one of the imperfections, to say the least, of the Church on earth, at the present time. So forgive me if I speak of the Church, in this article, in human terms.

There is a battle currently underway for the conservative wing of the Catholic Church. Previously, conservatives were led by moderate conservatives. And those who were further to the right were mostly ignored in the mainstream conservative Catholic media publications. But since the election of Pope Francis, many conservatives in the pews have over-reacted to the liberal Pontiff by becoming more conservative, and by taking positions that are more extreme. As dissatisfaction with the Pope grew, the leaders on the far right played on these negative emotions to grow their support, and to gain influence in mainstream conservative outlets. Some of these leaders constantly attack the Pope and his faithful Cardinals and Bishops because they see that this gives them more supporters and more money. They realize that their complaints are popular, so they increase the severity of those complaints against the Vicar of Christ.

Over the years, I’ve watched as conservative Catholic outlets published one heretical article after another, undermining the Magisterium and replacing it with the majority opinion of the conservative Catholic subculture. These articles were from persons in the mainstream of the conservative wing of the Church, not from the far right. And neither Bishops, nor priests, nor most theologians, nor Catholic outlets supposedly faithful to the Magisterium objected to this dissemination of heresy on matters of faith and morals. The conservative Catholic wing of the Church became politicized, and conservatism began to matter much more than faith or doctrine. Conservative opinion became a type of pseudo-doctrine.

Then, due to the reaction from conservatives to a liberal Pope and the increasing popularity of those on the far right, these media outlets slowly became more conservative; they were taken over by either opinions on the far right, with the same persons in charge, or by persons on the far right. Those conservative Catholics who remained moderate were swept away or ignored. The more boldly one opposes Pope Francis, the more readers and supporters one receives. And now the far right mostly controls the conservative wing of the Church and its media outlets.

So now the media outlets which used to defend the Magisterium, openly oppose not only Pope Francis, but any Pope whom they wish to oppose, and any Council as well. Once it became common and acceptable for conservative Catholics to reject the authority and teaching of Pope Francis, they quickly advanced to attack all the recent Popes (e.g. Infiltration) and Vatican II.

But it doesn’t stop there. Having rejected the idea that the Magisterium cannot err gravely, having put themselves above the Pope and the body of Bishops, there is nothing in principle to prevent them from rejecting any Pope or Council. An example would be the article by Dr. Peter Kwasniewski which calls on the faithful to ignore “Lyons I, Lateran V, and other councils you’ve never heard of.” Then he calls for people to pass judgment on Vatican I, which was supposedly “the impetus for a runaway hyperpapalism capable of leveling centuries of tradition. In many ways, we are more threatened today by the spirit of Vatican I, which it will take a mighty exorcism to drive away.” This type of language, directed at an Ecumenical Council, saying we are threatened by the “spirit of Vatican I” and calling for a figurative “exorcism” to drive it away is in essence a rejection of The Church Herself and of the Holy Spirit, who is the Spirit of every Ecumenical Council. It constitutes a rejection in principle of the authority of every Pope and Council. For if the people can choose to ignore any Ecumenical Council, or what is worse, accuse any Ecumenical Council of being evil, they are not members of the flock of Jesus Christ anymore. For they have rejected His authority to teach and have rejected the authority of the Holy Spirit.

Right now, a vast number of conservative Catholic are in a state of formal schism and heresy for rejecting the Magisterium, the authority of the Popes, and the authority of Ecumenical Councils. They believe whatever they like. They act exactly like “those liberals” they have been complaining about for many years. They are cafeteria Catholics. They have rebelled against the Roman Pontiff and now they pick and choose which teachings they will accept and which they will reject. They long complained about liberal Catholics being influenced by secular culture to go against Church teaching. But now they themselves have been influenced by conservative culture to go against Church teaching. And there is no fundamental difference between the two errors.

Some conservative Catholics still remain faithful to the Church. To them, I say, be careful what you believe and whom you accept as teacher. The Pope, the body of Bishops, and the Church as an institution which is both human and divine are indefectible. Do not lose your trust and faith in them. The Pope can never teach any grave error, nor can the body of Bishops ever accept a false Pope as their head. And the Church is indefectible; She can never lead you astray. So do not choose to become a part of the conservative Catholic subculture which has rebelled against the Church just as Satan rebelled against God.

There is a parallel here between the political situation in the U.S. and the religious situation in the Church (especially in the U.S.). When the nation elected President Obama, conservatives took a turn further to the right. The resulted in the “Tea Party” and in the rise of more conservative politicians. After his terms in office, President Trump was elected, and this gave more power to persons further on the right. The more moderate conservatives were pushed aside, and more conservative persons and views have prevailed. Similarly, the reaction to a liberal Pope has caused conservatives to move further to the right in religion, and has brought to power religious leaders on the far right, pushing aside the more moderate Catholics.

The end result will be a schism. In truth, the schism is already here. Many conservative Catholics are openly schismatic and heretical. But they still claim to be Catholics in communion with the Roman Pontiff. I disagree that their position is mere material heresy or mere material schism. For some of the laity, this may be true, as they do not understand some of the theological issues and implications at stake. But for most of the leaders who openly oppose Pope Francis, other Popes, and various Ecumenical Councils, they have sufficient knowledge for their opposition to be formal schism and formal heresy. They have their excuses. But that is always the way with heretics and schismatics. They are in a state of manifest obstinate schism and heresy. They have put themselves above the Magisterium, the Popes, and the Ecumenical Councils. They know what the Church teaches, and they prefer their own ideas.

May God have mercy on the Pope, the faithful Bishops, and the poor and weak flock of Jesus Christ.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.

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19 Responses to The Battle for the Conservative Wing of the Catholic Church

  1. Matt Z. says:

    I hate using the word conservative or liberal for a Catholic. Either one is Catholic and believes and follows in the doctrines and dogmas of the Church or one does not. But one can be liberal or conservative in their ideas of Church discipline I suppose, as long as one follows the doctrine on discipline…? But you are right, I just watched the Vortex(episode hammering Robert Barron) and Michael calls the Pope a Marxist. Well go figure, in all the comments everyone is slamming the Pope. Just because the Pope has preached a lot about the environment or immigration does not mean he believes in abortion,same sex marriage, and destruction of the family like a political Marxist. Marxism is running rapid in America and the world right now and the way to defeat it is to bring many to the One True Church.

  2. George says:

    Yes but most liberal Catholics believe in gay marriage, contraception and abortion. A 1960 Catholic is now an extremist. The pope just appointed communist Evo Morales to some post. Sorry the feminized men and Church will go to the wayside. Notice how the Church and soft panzy men hate aplha males, the Great Monarch will clear this up.

    • Alex says:

      hmmm..and must the Church love “alpha males” at the exclusion of all other categories of males, like normal males? Was Jesus an “alpha male” too? I am not an “alpha male” and I feel a bit odd reading that. I guess the last several popes, the last twenty popes weren’t “alpha males” either. Maybe some medieval one was, don’t know.
      Must we ditch the pope because of all that? Because he loves environmental preservation (therefore, he loves LIFE both born and unborn), because he cares for the poor, because… Just read what St John Paul II said on all that! He spoke in equally strong terms.
      We are not to “correct” the pope according to our personal likes. Isn’t it the vice versus, we as faithful Catholics should correct our compass according to the compass of Peter?
      And one last thing, the Great Monarch is not a president, current or future, sorry. Neither is he a tyrant who clears up gays in concentration camps. I know some conservative catholics would love to see Hitler 2 but God does not work in that way. Never.

  3. DP says:

    God has revealed to me that the same thing that is happening to Our Beloved Pope is similarly happening to our current President. Our Pope/church is the Rock built on firm foundation that will never falter and mislead us. We can trust her. But because of what Our Pope says or the media portrays he says, people become alarmed and judge him and sadly at times forget that He holds the Keys from God and The gates of hail will not prevail against her. Pope Francis can’t err in Faith and morals. Our current President stands for God, America, family, life at least more so From what I’ve seen from many past Presidents. Yet, because of what he says and tweets will at times come across negativly. And because of this many judge him, even good Catholics and they judge him on his past and not the good he’s done overall for our country thus far, but see only the bad. I see judgement being played out on both yet Our Pope is our Pope for these times picked by God and Trump is the President for these times allowed by God. Many are those who don’t agree with them but God has chosen them none the less to serve His purposes at this time. There something to be said about blind obedience ( I think of faith here) in the mist of what WE Perceive as “not right” or “off ” at times.

    • Alex says:

      Neither has God endorsed president Trump, nor has pope Francis done so. Trump could follow God’s law or not, as every human being is called to, and especially on his important position. He is not a saint though rather a sinner as everyone of us, called to walk on the way of conversion. Vigano is grossly mistaken to take full political backing that the Catholic Church has not deemed necessary to do. He even composed a “prayer” lauding Trump, more appropriate for caesars time. That is one more example how far the group of Vigano has strayed from Rome.

  4. Alex says:

    Well said, Ron. I am afraid the gap or even the abyss between the two sides grows wider, as similarly speaks the text of Neues Europa (although we know it is not identical to the Third Secret, still endorsed by cardinal Ottaviani prefect of CDF).

    What could be the outcome? After the (soon to be expected) death of pope emeritus Benedict, and the inevitable in time although not imminent death/resignation of pope Francis, most likely we will see two conclaves, one real and one fake.

    The politicizing of the matter by leaders like Vigano makes the things worse. Now every Catholic who votes for conservative political agenda will feel compelled to “vote” for that second “conclave” that inevitably will have minority. I doubt they could gather even ten cardinals. And let not forget the Gospel is not a political platform, it does not need any “permission” to declare to the world the truth of God (and some sadly call key social moments in the Gospel- marxism). There is no 100% perfect political platform. Also, one cannot project the US politics or any other on the Church. That attempt was made before by mighty emperors and was never successful.

    • Alex says:

      Besides, I expect a major event this Fall (before the US elections) that will radicalise the positions even further.

  5. George says:

    St Nicholas von Flue {15th century} ” The Church will be punished because the majority of Her members, high and low, will become so perverted. The church will sink deeper and deeper until She will at last seem to be extinguised, and the succession of Peter and the other Apostles will seem to have expired. But, after this, she will be gloriously exalted in the sight of all doubters.” Sounds like no more Fr James Martin in the Church, thank God.

  6. Alex says:

    When we talk of conservative (ultra) catholics, it is understood first those in USA. We do not really think of the catholics in Ghana although they might be also conservative to a certain degree (because it is highly unlikely in their poverty they would support the economic model that the US conservatives support). The majority of the catholics in Europe and Latin America are no more conservative. Philippines the only Catholic country in Asia has a rather liberal cardinal. Pope Francis warned all but he mentioned exactly those in USA when he said he is not afraid of a Schism. Not the least, the money of the conservative catholics originate in USA.

    Does it mean the US conservative catholics versus the rest of the Church? Does it mean, projected in time, an antipope residing in USA? Is it why mgr. Vigano plays politics in the crucial time for reelection of Mr. Trump, to the extend to sound COMIC in his “prayer” that puts Trump highest in the Sacred Heart as canonized saint or what?

    The American Catholics Must understand, it is not They being the true believers versus Rome that fell to the liberals directed by Germany who want a worldwide Marxism under the pretext of environmental and social justice. Whoever thinks that, and I know many good but deluded people think so, is very wrong.

    Rather, the Church in her divinely inspired wisdom and the gift of the Holy Spirit, decided on the last conclave to elect with vast majority cardinal Bergoglio for the purpose to do the much needed reform. As the Church back in 1978 elected the first in centuries non-Italian cardinal Wojtyla to fight with the Communism. As the Church will elect with 2/3 MAJORITY on the next CANONICAL CONCLAVE the next successor of Peter to tackle the dare issues in his own time. Because it is the Holy Spirit in the Church who leads her. It is not the principle, “the more conservative the better, the more like 12-15 century the better”. It would be really sad if part of the US Catholics depart and elect their own “pope”. Even if he gets the temporal support of reelected Trump. The Church is not about THAT.

    And I really doubt that Mr. Trump will throw his support behind a minority “pope” who would not have even 50 million followers, compared to the rest of 1.2 billion, not even the majority of the US Catholics. There will be legal battles for church property in which the schismatics will be outnumbered badly. It will be hell on earth for the Church in America, both for those who stay loyal to the next canonical pope and those who would opt to follow their own “pope”.

    The so easily created schism fueled by cheap populism and ill understood “patriotism” and “conservatism”, covered under a moral DISGUISE of fight against abortion and homosexuality, will last for centuries, maybe even until the Second Coming of Jesus Christ. (and please, do not play God to say when Jesus will come again! It might be centuries or more). And most importantly, those who make the schism are not the righteous ones, are not the elect of God, are not the ones who keep the “true church”. They are what they are: SCHISMATICS who tear apart the Body of Christ.

    Pope Pelagius II (579-590 A.D.) The creation of a schism in the Church is a sin far weightier than denying Christ! With apostasy, only one individual is accountable: the apostate. With the creation of a schism, not only is the one who caused the schism accountable, but also all those who follow him. (Ref. Metropolitan Meletios of Nikopolis, p.130)

    “Not even the blood of martyrdom is able to erase this sin” saint John the Chrysostom (Ρ.G. 57.250).

    • Alex says:

      P.S. Some say “I hear God who told me that and that, therefore it is in that way and not the way the pope says it, the pope is wrong”. Everyone can be Deluded. As St John warns in his epistle, the spirit of the antichrist is already in the world. We have examples of big delusional “apparitions” where not only the seer “sees” what is actually not from God, but all believe her and that spreads to amount of a sect and heresy. I will mention only the condemned apparition of Bayside, with many more in the list. Do you think the heresies in history didn’t have their “seers”? Satan exists, the spirit of the antichrist exists, and it is not a given fact what the conservatives think it is the spirit of the antichrist. It is more specifically,t he denial that Jesus came in the flesh, as St John defines it (and that could be talked of very long). Those who say they “see or hear” are not immune to be deluded, including by false visions. As it is said he will try to deceive even the elect ones. Think with your own heads. That’s why we have all the dogmas by the Councils and Popes. Because we are all FALLIBLE. All of us, Merkel, Trump and Putin included, cardinals Marx, Tagle and Sarah included. There isn’t “right team and wrong team” as in some sport game. When cardinal Ratzinger was elected to the surprise of many (Brazilian cardinal was expected instead), one interviewed Brazilian woman said she did not expect him to be elected, but “It is not a Mundial, this is the Pope”.

    • Alex says:

      P.P.S. The elevation of the moral sins (such as homosexuality for example) to the level of UNFORGIVABLE SINS defining the “children of light and children of darkness”, or unforgivable in practical terms in life, actually renders the mission of Jesus Christ useless. Jesus came to save the adulterers as well as all other sinners, as well as the pride persons the ultraconservatives. To deny that to the adulterers, to put them ultimatum conditions for such forgiveness, means to deny Jesus’ coming in flesh to bear the sins of our flesh.

      What is the purpose of His coming if the righteousness from SPECIFICALLY SEXUAL SINS will determine who enters in the kingdom of God and who stays out? Didn’t St Paul say that the letter of the law kills, and kills EVERYONE?

      Ron, you had a good article on the Holy Eucharist and the relation with the abomination of the coming antichrist. Maybe a new article is needed on John’s epistle where he defines the spirit of the antichrist https://www.biblegateway.com/passage/?search=1+John+2%3A18-4%3A6&version=NIV
      We don’t really need Vigano to tell us who the children of darkness are, those who deny his conspiracy of 5G making Covid maybe? The things are much deeper, do not start and do not end with the current deluded era.

      The Great Deception is not to offer an environmentally clean world in which the poor will be fed, the Great Deception is to deny Jesus Christ. And it is not equivalent to do adultery. That simplistic moralistic view inherited from the Victorian era (i.e. protestant/anglican) practically negates the Death on the Cross not by denying it directly but by making its fruit the FORGIVENESS OF SINS – INCLUDING THE MORAL SINS, INCLUDING THE HOMOSEXUAL SINS etc. to be irrelevant, because NOT THE FORGIVENESS but the RIGHTEOUSNESS of the LAW is what it seeks after. Such righteousness by itself does not need Jesus’ sacrifice… And that is one of the sides of the spirit of the Antichrist (others do exist, such as political world conquest etc). We had that example during the Inquisition, the masterpiece of Satan when in the name of Jesus Christ the Crucified Love for the Forgiveness of Sins people who think otherwise who did maybe sexual sins were BURNT ALIVE. Sorry, but it has NOTHING TO DO WITH THE GOSPEL. All of us have read the Gospel, not only the ultra conservatives.

  7. George says:

    Trump, the most pro Catholic and Anti abortion President ever. Vigano did not say 5g causes Covid, that is calumny, a sin. Our Lady of Fatima told the children more souls go to hell from sins of the flesh, notice most gays and lesbians all push abortion, sins that cry to heaven for vengence according to the Saints.

    • Alex says:

      Reading again the Appeal for the Church and the World, indeed there isn’t EXPLICIT reference to 5G conspiracy, however a CORE ELEMENT in it is the so called “an odious technological tyranny to be established”. No one could deny that 5G conspiracy theory is prevalent in the ultra conservative circles as the only pseudo scientific explanation of the Covid. According to that “theory”, Covid is not a real medical danger, rather immune response to 5G radiation from cellphones. So I accept to be corrected when imprecisely said that Vigano specifically mentioned 5G. He did not. His followers DO however, on a MASSIVE SCALE. I have heard them how in the face of rising thousands of new deaths, they say, it is all 5G and immune response, it is not a virus, the dead are all old… The defiance of not wearing masks in public and the spiraling of cases in USA is a clear showcase how such conspiracy theories pay out in the REAL LIFE. Because the virus doesn’t know borders, supremacists, NWO, and frankly it doesn’t recognize your strong belief in God. It KILLS. As simple as that. Or disables, that might be even worse. And while Vigano does not name 5G, he nevertheless rejects the gravity of the medical situation, instead offering populist conspiracy explanation as if it comes from the Magisterium of the Church. IT DOES NOT.

      Good that at least cardinal Sarah revoked his signature under that Appeal. Here is what some bishops write about that Appeal:

      Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of Essen noted that “populists and other conspiracy theorists … want to interpret all efforts to contain the pandemic as a pretext to found a hate-filled technocratic tyranny and wipe out Christian civilization.” The church needed to counter that position clearly “regardless of who expresses it,” the bishop said.

      Bishop Gerhard Feige of Magdeburg criticized “extremist church representatives” who behaved as “pseudo-scientists, opponents of vaccination.”

      Bishop Gebhard Furst of Rottenburg-Stuttgart said he clearly dissociated himself from the “dangerous theories of the group around Archbishop Vigano. Those who interpret the efforts of politicians to protect human life from the coronavirus as a dubious world conspiracy are playing with fire.”

      And on the other side:
      Cardinal Muller defended his support for the appeal, reported KNA. He told the Catholic newspaper Die Tagespost that certain church officials had seized on the statement “to capitalize on indignation about their alleged opponents. Everyone now calls everyone else a conspiracy theorist.”

  8. George says:

    You are making ridiculous assumptions about conservative Catholics. What vile contempt you have forr many traditional Catholics. Shame on you.

    • Alex says:

      I AM Traditional Catholic, saying all novenas and devotions to the Sacred Heart and the Immaculate Heart. And I am tired of people who profane Catholicism, people who lack basic scientific knowledge (because all science if masonic and satanic maybe?) and pretend as if it is They who hold the finger of God. No they do not!

      I list arguments. You list offenses. Keep going! No surprise people like Vigano followers wouldn’t count even 20 mln when the schism is officially declared. Obviously, no amount of reason or grace will be able to convert those people who have already taken their decision, trampling the God’s grace they have received in so many wonderful devotions, Holy Masses and Holy Communions! Are they worthy of eating the Body of Christ if they commit Publicly so heavy sins against the Church, against Peter? Even if they do not commit adultery, it changes nothing. They commit equally grave or more grave sins, mortal sins. Shame on the followers of Vigano! And he himself has sealed his fate.

      Exactly thanks to their refusal of the truth and the SANE REASON they will refuse also to be physically saved in the Chastisement. The Church After wouldn’t belong to them.

  9. Ron Conte says:

    Alex and George, please do not use my blog as a place to argue with one another. No personal attacks on other commenters. Alex, sorry but your comments are too long and often go off-topic. I think you need to start your own blog (https://wordpress.com/). George, I let you argue against my positions on my own blog, but if you think this site is toxic, don’t post here.

  10. Alex says:

    Ron, I was attacked personally by George. Namely, he wrote in response to my very well (and lengthy) arguments:
    “You are making ridiculous assumptions about conservative Catholics. What vile contempt you have forr many traditional Catholics. Shame on you.”
    I didn’t attack him personally. I listed arguments. Both before and after.

    So it is quite UNFAIR that you call BOTH of us to not attack each other personally on your blog. I am the victim, not the perpetrator!

    If my posts are too long, i will not post them anymore. Your posts are long as well, quite long and QUITE SOPHISTICATED going back in details centuries ago that frankly I doubt anyone cares of. Maybe someone reads them in the Vatican and that is your purpose to write them, IDK. They also go on a wide range of topics, including unknown Iranian nuclear program… But it is your blog of course and you are entitled to write everything.

    Seems your non-moderated comments have their limit as well. If you want to have a monologue in style of Spiritdaily, you’d better close the comments sections, or restrict them to 500 signs. Get well with your blog and your own theological view that is in the middle, but actually is on neither side. I doubt you back pope Francis on everything he says, despite you quote endless times how infallible the pope is. Strange are your remarks of a “liberal schism” that follows the “conservative schism”, as you in advance presume such a schism coming from likely the German bishops, while they didn’t actually do it in first place. Nobody is a killer until he kills, and the German bishops did not commit a schism. If they would, they would be warned by the pope as he clearly warned the ultra conservatives.

    And I doubt you will back the next pope if he is a German cardinal. Simple arithmetic of cardinals electors shows he will not be conservative. Not even slightly more conservative. Because Francis was blocked brutally by a minority of bishops on the Synods (and yes let say it, including about the gays that pope Francis apologized to after). It is logical the cardinals would want to assure what they voted for in 2013, i.e. the reform, goes on and is not torpedoed by a handful of bishops, by electing younger and bolder successor of pope Francis who would not only say the things but actually will do them.

    But you cling to your own views and prophecies that of course you are right to write in your own blog. Only they are wrong. Cardinal Arinze has no way to be elected, even only because of his age. Nobody is so crazy to elect him only because he would die soon. Why to make two conclaves then?

    You equally fell in prediction of Great Warning dates. Humanum est errare, and no one is exempt from it. Neither me, nor you. Even if you are a seer yourself, as once I doubted. But again, this is your blog and you set the rules. Get well with that then. You are not some impartial moderator, you are simply the owner and decide what you like and you don’t.

    One might think, you wanted to provoke such responses by your own endless arguments against the ultra conservatives, that you accuse much heavier than I do.

    – Or is it something that I said that was not mentioned by you, even contrary to your double middle of the road views? Yes now I realize there is – the Inquisition – is it what you ultimately disliked in my posts to the point to kick me out? Let it be so then! I stand behind my words that the Inquisition and burning of people alive were the highest manifestation of Satanism and a clear image of the coming Antichrist who will rage his power exactly through the letter of the Law, and not to some idillic picture of blue water and singing birds and multi colored kids playing… A number of burned people deserve to be canonized, not only Jeanne d’Arc. Fra Savonarola and Giordano Bruno among them. Others were sinners and heretics, the majority, or witches, I do not support their views neither do I know them in detail, but nevertheless they did not deserve to die in flames. –

    But now I see, I was wrong to assume you wanted such responses. Seems your goal is different, and it is not my job to discover it, neither do I have time for that. I am done with it.
    To open my own blog? Why, I don’t need it. Nobody pays me for that. I wrote enough online.

    Good luck to defend the defenseless! The truth is not in the middle and you know it very well. Either the ultra conservatives are right and we all have to repent in ashes for questioning the medieval teachings that are not dogmatic, or they are wrong, including for those teachings. It is not both they and the liberals to be wrong. It is not equal, although both sides are sinners. Maybe, Ron, you haven’t picked up the side yet for yourself. If I have helped you in that, the time spent would be worth it. Or maybe I myself am wrong and need to repent. But it is God who judges.

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