Saint Thomas Aquinas, quoting Saint Jerome (In Ep. ad Tit. iii, 10): “there is no schism that does not devise some heresy for itself, that it may appear to have had a reason for separating from the Church.”Summa Theologica
Schismatics want an excuse for their refusal to submit to the authority of the Church. The real reason is pride. The excuse is that a Pope or Council taught errors.
They don’t want to admit that a liberal Pope understands some things better than the majority view of conservative Catholics. They don’t want to submit their minds and hearts to the Magisterium. They wish to be Teachers over the flock. They have long spoken to their audience as if they could explain every point on faith and morals, and decide every question of discipline. They want to be leaders, not followers. This is just as the Pharisees behaved. They wanted to be leaders, rather than followers of the Messiah.
So once they have decided to reject a Pope or Council, they multiply the points of disagreement, to make it seem as if the Pope or Council erred in so many ways. And so that they will have a very firm set of excuses for departing from the Church. This is why suddenly there is a loud proclamation that Communion must only be received on the tongue. It’s not a new issue. But they are preparing their excuses.
Rejection of Pope Francis, leads to rejection of other Popes, leads to rejection of Vatican II, leads to rejection of other Councils. Once you put yourself above one Pope, it is a “natural” progression to begin to judge and reject other Popes, their teachings, and various Councils. And in the end, nothing is left but the baseless judgment of the individual or the subculture. They can claim to be relying on Sacred Scripture, but so do the Protestants. Interpretations vary. They don’t accept the Scriptures that teach on the role of Peter and his successors and on the indefectibility of the Church (Mt 16:18), and on the never failing faith of the Pope (Lk 22:32). They can claim to rely on Sacred Tradition, but unwritten traditions are even more subject to interpretation. Without the Magisterium, they become Protestants. They are protesting against the Popes and Councils. They are no longer Catholic.
There are trends in the leading schismatic Catholic outlets, which seem to presage the direction of the schism. Early on there were articles accusing Pope Honorius of heresy, and Pope John 22 as well. There were also quite a few articles about “the bad Popes”. This was a preparation so that they could accuse Pope Francis of being supposedly the worst Pope and of being heretical.
And more than a few articles talked about Saint Robert Bellarmine, misstating his teachings on the Pope. In fact, he believed that God did not permit any Pope to teach or be a heretic. But they cited him as if he asserted that Popes could be heretics. Then on the First Vatican Council teaching that every Pope has the gift of truth and a never failing faith (one of my favorite subjects), they tried to disarm this teaching by citing the relatio of Bishop Gasser. But he too says the opposite of what they claim. Anyone who follows merely the teaching of Gasser could not be among the schismatics who accuse Popes or Councils of grave error.
So they systematically have prepared their argument so that they could accuse the Popes and Councils. What is next? As I’ve been saying, they have presented every premise of a particular argument, except its conclusion. Their conclusion is that Pope Francis is a heretic and not a valid Roman Pontiff. They have made too many accusations against the Pope for them to take the position, now, that Pope Francis is not a heretic. And if he is a heretic, how can he be Roman Pontiff?
Soon now, very soon, they will declare that Pope Francis is not the valid Roman Pontiff. They have painted themselves into a corner, and there are only two ways out: humbly repent and accept the authority of the Popes and Councils or reject the Pope entirely, as if he were a heretic. Their constant expressions of pride lead me to conclude that they will not repent, but will reject Pope Francis as a heretic and invalid Pope.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.