In a recent plane interview here, Pope Francis may have inadvertently shown the cards of the Catholic Left. He spoke of a “schism” brewing among conservative Catholics in the United States, and then (almost in a provocative way) he said he’s not afraid of it. Now that’s not to say Pope Francis actually wants a schism. In all fairness, he specifically said he doesn’t want that. But it does give us a hint, a clue if you will, as to what’s going on in the mind of the pope.
In recent years there has been much talk coming from Vatican officials (particularly Leftist Vatican officials) about a so-called “alliance” between conservative Catholics (meaning Catholics who want to conserve the faith as it’s always been taught) and politically conservative Evangelicals in the United States. I believe the phrase “ecumenism of hate” (typical Leftist tripe) was used to describe this so-called “alliance,” and this coming from an official Vatican publication no less! It’s been followed with claims that conservative Catholics are working to unseat the pope and force him to resign. Now we have this talk of schism coming from the pope himself, and he indicates the United States is where it will start.
So let’s connect the dots, shall we? Based on the above revelations, all in the mainstream news, it would appear that the pope is being sat down by his Leftist advisers and told something akin to the following…
A number of Catholics in the United States are plotting to have you removed from office, Your Holiness, and these are conservative Catholics who are working with Evangelical Fundamentalist in an “ecumenism of hate.” Their purpose is to unseat you as pope, and if that should fail, they plan to lead a worldwide schism against the See of Rome. Stay strong, Your Holiness, don’t let these rebels deter you.
Of course, by connecting the dots this way we’re giving Pope Francis the highest degree of charity. It assumes that he is not behind this sentiment. It assumes that he’s being duped by the people he’s surrounded himself with. It assumes that he’s being used as a tool, and has no ill-intent or animosity toward Americans himself. Frankly, I don’t know if that’s true, but as far as my blogging goes, I’ll try to assume the best about the Holy Father whenever I can.
Having connected the dots, I think we can begin to see what’s really going on here. Now that the Catholic Left has a firm hold on the papacy, they’re trying to solidify it indefinitely, and one way to do that is to get rid of as many faithful, orthodox and conservative Catholics as possible. That’s kind of difficult, because Pope St. John Paul II and Pope Benedict XVI did a masterful job energizing conservative Catholics during their combined 34-year reign. Then you have that pesky problem of Tradition, which gives testimony of how the Church has always been run during its bi-millennial history. How do you get rid of that? Especially when conservative Catholics keep referring to it? The solution the Leftists seem to have come up with is to get conservative Catholics to decapitate themselves through a series of provocations that they believe will inevitably result in a schism, wherein conservative Catholics will leave unity with the See of Rome in an attempt to maintain orthodoxy within their own ranks. This is where Pope Francis comes in handy. He’s the tool they’re using to get the job done.
Masters of manipulation, the pope has chosen to surround himself with them. We can infer whatever we want about him from this, but none of that matters. Because regardless of whoever is pulling the strings, the moves are the same, and they’re designed to produce a certain effect — provocation! It doesn’t matter if the pope himself is doing all this of his own accord, or if his Leftist advisers are using him as a tool to invoke their own agenda. The effect is the same — provocation! They, and when I say “they” here I mean Francis himself and/or his advisers, are attempting to provoke conservative Catholics into breaking with Rome. The purpose is to get them out of the Church, so they no longer have a say in synods, councils or conclaves, and to secure the papacy for the Leftist agenda forever. The mantra is simply this..
Get rid of the conservatives and we’ll keep the papacy, and the Vatican, forever!
It seems the focus of their provocations is centered around the Church in the United States. I suspect the outspokenness of Cardinal Raymond Burke, an American, is what gave these Leftists that idea. Burke represents a sizable wing of the US Catholic Church. Conservative Catholicism is fairly strong in the US, in spite of the leadership of the USCCB being dominated by Leftists, and the inner workings of the USCCB being made up of Democratic Party operatives. So faithful, conservative and orthodox Catholics are now in the crosshairs of Pope Francis. Whether he put them there himself, or somebody else lined up the sights, makes no difference. That’s where they are, and the pontiff’s recent comments dispel all doubt.
I would certainly describe myself as the type of Catholic Pope Francis takes opposition to in his recent comments, but as one of those Catholics, I’ll flat out deny what he’s saying about us is true. I know some conservative Catholics in the US who want Pope Francis to resign, but they aren’t many, and I’m not one of them. I want him to convert but not resign. I also want him to finish his papacy according to the number of years Our Lord has allotted for him. So in other words, I want him to die of natural causes (old age), as pope and wearing the papal whites, whenever Our Lord decides to call him home. My desire on this mirrors that of most conservative Catholics in the US, a few notwithstanding. So whatever his advisers are telling the Holy Father about us is hogwash. I also have no intention of partaking in a schism with the See of Rome. Sorry, that’s just not on my agenda. I’ve previously said that the only way Catholic Leftists could ever get rid of me is to have me formally excommunicated, either as an individual or as part of a group of faithful and conservative Catholics like me. I’m not leaving. I’m staying put. I am going nowhere. I entered the Catholic Church on the Easter Vigil of 2000, and I will remain within the Catholic Church until either I die, or they kick me out against my will. That is my stated intent as a conservative Catholic in the United States. So whatever Pope Francis’ advisers are telling him about me (and others like me), it’s a lie. Yes, I’m calling it a lie. In fact, I’m calling it calumny. I am not a schismatic.
I used to be an Evangelical Protestant. In fact, I was raised as a Baptist, and then spent several years as a nondenominational Evangelical before becoming Anglican and eventually Catholic. I also live in the Bible Belt, which is the Evangelical stronghold of the United States. I think I might know a thing or two about Catholic-Evangelical relations. The truth? There is no “alliance” between conservative Catholics and Evangelicals, and one couldn’t possibly describe anything between these groups as a “unity.” As for the term “ecumenism of hate,” well, that just Leftist tripe. Hardly anything between Evangelicals and Catholics could ever be described as “ecumenism,” and as for “hate,” well that’s just calumny again. There’s no “hate” going on here. Such rhetoric comes from the Democratic Party, and political Leftists. In the United States, whenever people oppose the Leftist political agenda, these Leftists have nothing reasonable or intelligent to add to political discourse, so they just accuse their conservative opponents of “hate.” It’s been going on for a long time, and it appeals to the base emotions of their constituents. How else could such a eclectic group of Leftists achieve any kind of political cohesiveness? They have to find a villain to unite against. So they call their conservative opponents “haters” and “bigots,” with the latest slur being “fascists.” It seems a growing number of Pope Francis’ advisers are stealing talking points from the US Democratic Party. It’s a tired old strategy that we conservatives in the United States have become all too accustomed to. It’s so old school to us that I’m fighting to hold back a yawn.
In the 1990s some Evangelical and Catholic representatives signed an informal an non-binding declaration stating that they would work together to defend human life and religious freedom in the United States against Leftist advances to destroy both. I wrote about it here. The declaration got mixed reviews among Evangelicals at the time. In fact, a number of Evangelicals outright attacked it and its signers. This is why I’m telling you that any kind of meaningful ecumenism between Catholics and Evangelicals is impossible. At best, all that can be hoped for is mutual cooperation on some political and social issues, and even then, it seems these have to be taken one issue at a time. In truth, the practical reality of such cooperation doesn’t exist in much more than joining together for Pro-Life marches and religious freedom rallies. Occasionally, if the advance of the Left seems particularly threatening, as it was in the 2016 election, conservative Catholics and Evangelicals might actually vote for the same candidates — maybe. That’s about as good as it gets. You can’t expect much more than that, and it’s never going to get any better.
The problem primarily lies within Evangelicalism. In keeping with their classical Protestant foundation, they’re naturally suspicious of the Catholic Church. One has to remember that an Evangelical is really nothing more than a Protestant who couldn’t go along with the liberal trajectory of mainstream Protestant denominations. The same animosity toward Catholics that was once present in mainstream Protestantism a couple hundred years ago remains present in Evangelicalism, albeit a bit less hostile. A number of Evangelicals have softened their views on Catholicism in the wake of the overtly Leftist trends in society. This is what made the joint declaration between Catholics and Evangelicals possible back in the 1990s, and its what allows them to work together on the front lines of the Pro-Life and religious freedom movements today. I certainly wouldn’t call this an “alliance” or “ecumenism,” but I would call it a mutual toleration of each other against a common political adversary, but that’s about as good as it gets.
If this so-called “alliance” is working to have Pope Francis dethroned, it’s doing a very poor job of it! Francis remains on the Chair of St. Peter, just as strong as ever, solidifying his reign with the appointments of Leftist cardinals to secure his legacy. While the sex abuse scandal has weakened his public image, he’s still the pope, and there aren’t many serious calls for him to resign. Besides, nobody can rationally accuse conservative Catholics of manufacturing the sex-abuse crisis. Leftist cardinals, bishops and priests manufactured that over the course of 60 years all by themselves. If conservative Catholics are trying to mastermind a coup in the Church, they must be bumbling idiots who pose no real threat to anyone, except maybe themselves. Pope Francis remains on the throne. His papacy is under no serious threat. He continues to solidify his power and his legacy. No, there is no coup.
As for the charge of schism, as I said above, its calumny. I’ve been inside the conservative Catholic movement in the United States for two decades now, and I have yet to hear a single one of us seriously float the idea of leading a schism against Rome. Even some of the most traditional Latin Mass Catholics I know wouldn’t dare broach that subject. Oh sure, there is talk of a schism, and I’ve been pretty vocal about that myself, but it’s coming from analysis of what the Catholic Left is doing, not the conservative Catholic Right. The Left’s provocations are schismatic in nature, and we believe if there’s going to be a schism, it’s going to eventually come from the Catholic Left, either during or after the pontificate of Pope Francis.
See, I predict that conservative Catholics will stay within the Church and in full communion with the See of Peter, in spite of the problems with the current pontificate. I have solid ground for making this prediction, because I am a conservative Catholic, and I’ve been associating with conservative Catholics in the United States for two decades now. I should know a thing or two about conservative Catholicism by now. I have no intention of creating a schism, and neither do any conservative Catholics I know of. I predict, however, that in spite of the Catholic Left’s best efforts, even using Pope Francis as a tool to push their agenda, they will not be able to stop the election of a conservative pope again one day. When that day comes, I believe they will lose their minds, and it is they who will go into schism, not us. Admittedly, this is just a prediction of mine, and I base it on the way I understand the Leftist mind. I could be wrong, but I don’t think I am. I also don’t think Leftist Catholics are planning to do this. I accuse them of no schismatic plots. Rather, I’m just saying that when the day comes, they won’t be able to help themselves, because it’s hardwired into their way of thinking. Either they will leave communion with Rome voluntarily, or else they will see to it that they get kicked out so they can play the victim, because that’s what they’ve been doing all their lives.
In a future post I’ll discuss what Catholics can expect from the upcoming Amazon Synod in Rome, but until then the important thing to remember is that the Catholic Left is intentionally trying to provoke conservative Catholics into schism. By this I mean the leadership of the Catholic Left is intentionally doing things, saying things, making gestures, posturing, implying things in such a way as to provoke conservative Catholics into panic. The idea is to trigger conservative Catholics, make them freak out, and (hopefully) cause them to do something stupid. What would be the ultimate stupidity? Why, breaking communion with Rome of course! That would be the greatest Christmas gift conservative Catholics could ever give to the Left. I dare say, that IS the Christmas gift they’re hoping to get this year, with the Amazon Synod in Rome being the ultimate provocation they’ve ever masterminded.
It’s all manipulation folks. It’s a game to them. The Catholic Left organizes this crazy synod in Rome, proposing all sorts of things, from the innocuous (and orthodox) position of allowing married men into the priesthood, to the insane (and heretical) idea of introducing Pagan spirituality into the Catholic Church. These items are designed to accomplish one thing — hysteria on the Catholic Right! That hysteria is planted for the sole purpose of getting conservative Catholics to decapitate themselves.
How? How do conservative Catholics decapitate themselves? It’s simple really, because a few of them are already doing it. One way is by declaring Pope Francis an antipope, which is something only a pope has the authority to do. Once you go down this route, you’ve become a schismatic. That’s EXACTLY what the Catholic Left wants!
Once you become a schismatic against the pope (by calling him an antipope), they can “kook” you informally. by telling everyone you’re a “kook” and shouldn’t be listened to. You’ve now consigned yourself to total irrelevancy in the Catholic Church. Your voice is gone. You’ve been muted. Nobody will listen to you anymore. And nothing would make the Catholic Left happier than that.
If enough Catholics do this, in a group, such as in the United States for example, the informal “kook” treatment can become a formal declaration of schism, wherein the pope simply excommunicates those promoting the antipope theory, and anyone who follows them. This would be the case if some clergy sign on to the antipope theory. Suppose, for example, one bishop (from the Dioceses of Somewhere) decides that Pope Francis might be an antipope. More than half of his clergy agree, and they begin supporting the idea among the laity. This would be followed by a formal declaration of excommunication by the pope, against that bishop and any priest who follows him. The “kook” treatment has just gone formal. That bishop no longer has a say in anything, neither in the USCCB, nor in the Vatican. He’ll never be promoted to an Archbishop or Cardinal. He’ll never have a say in a conclave. His own diocese will split in two. He will no longer be regarded as a “legitimate” Catholic bishop. Even the press will call him a “fraud” and a “radical.” The priests and laity who still follow him will be relegated to the level of the SSPX (or worse) with no voice in the Church anymore. This is EXACTLY what the Catholic Left wants. Nothing could make them happier, because it takes the “kook” treatment to a higher level, and insures their dominance in the hierarchy even longer.
Regardless of whatever you may think about the SSPX (Society of Saint Pius X), whether you love them or hate them, you cannot deny this. The SSPX currently has no voice in the Church, and hasn’t since 1988, ever since Pope St. John Paul II formally and canonically “kooked” them with excommunication. Those excommunications were lifted by Pope Benedict XVI, but the “kooking” remains because they still don’t have a regular status in the Catholic Church. Their irregular status keeps them outside of what the Church considers “normal,” and so it allows the Catholic Left to continue giving them the “kook” treatment without mercy. I believe this is why Pope Francis has still not formalized relations with the SSPX, because he knows that if he does, he’ll have a complete snowflake-meltdown by the Catholic Left. They’ll literally take everything into crisis mode and go hysterical. Since nearly his entire inner circle consists of these types of bishops, he can’t afford it right now. So the SSPX remains perpetually in limbo, and that allows the Catholic Left to “kook” them indefinitely.
Again, regardless of what you think of the SSPX, here’s another thing you can’t deny. The Church would be a much different place today had the SSPX never been excommunicated back in 1988, but instead given a regular status in the Church, such as a Personal Prelature, or a number of Personal Ordinariates. If that had happened in 1988 instead, the SSPX would today be the most powerful united voice in the Church calling the Faithful back to authentic Catholic Tradition. You could still love them or hate them as much as you want, but they would have a voice in the Church, and it would be a powerful voice indeed. The excommunication of the SSPX in 1988 was the best thing that could ever happen to the Catholic Left. It was their ultimate Christmas gift for that generation. I don’t know if there were any private parties among the Catholic Left that year, but I wouldn’t be surprised if there were. This event allowed them to continue to gain power in the Catholic Church all the way up to this very day.
Now, it would appear to me, the Catholic Left is trying to orchestrate something similar but much, much bigger. I believe they’re feeding Pope Francis some very bad information, which is prepping him to act swiftly just as soon as the slightest whiff of schismatic talk comes from the Untied States. I believe they’re prompting him to make swift moves toward excommunicating conservative Catholics in the United States, just as soon as the first bishop openly questions the legitimacy of this pontificate. I believe they’ve orchestrated the entire Amazon Synod for this purpose, as a provocation to conservative Catholics, especially in the United States. I believe they’re planning on introducing the most insane, outrageous and heretical ideas at this synod, for the sole purpose of triggering conservative Catholics into doing something stupid so they can decapitate themselves.
Don’t give them what they want!
We have to remember that what is said at the Amazon Synod, versus what the Amazon Synod actually produces, are two completely different things. Remember, the first Extraordinary Synod on the Family in 2014 said that the Church should recognize the gift of homosexuality, but even though that remains on the books as something the Synod said, it didn’t actually produce that into Church law. The only thing that came out of the two Family synods was Amoris Laetitia, and the most radical thing that does is let divorced and remarried people receive communion without an annulment. It’s wrong. It shouldn’t be happening, but let’s face it, many dioceses in the West had already been doing that for decades anyway. Now they just have Vatican cover to do it openly. Is that bad? Yes. But it’s not the same as Church law saying “go ahead and be gay!” The Extraordinary Synod in 2014 practically said just that, but it never made it into actual Church law or teaching.
Based on the working document of this upcoming Amazon Synod, we’re likely going to hear things said that are far more radical than anything proposed in 2014. Take note! This is the provocation. The Catholic Left will use the Amazon Synod to try to trigger conservative Catholics into doing something stupid. Don’t fall for it! It’s a sham. It’s a hoax. It’s an attempt to rile you, and get you saying things you shouldn’t say. The pope’s own words on his plane interview (here) give us plenty of clues that he’s already been prepped and conditioned by his Leftist advisers. They’re telling him conservative Catholics in the United States are plotting a coup and/or schism, and they must be dealt with swiftly. As soon as we say anything that could possibly be misconstrued as that, they will prompt him to act, and it will be 1988 all over again, but this time on a much bigger and far more destructive scale.
Bite your tongues. Play it cool. Seriously, the time to be cool is now. We’ve got to be cold, cool and collected. This Amazon Synod is designed to provoke and trigger us. Understand that. It’s a game to the Left, but you’re the target. If you start saying stupid things, they’re going to use it against you. Chill. Don’t give the Catholic Left what it wants. There are ways your local bishops can counter any damage that comes out of the Amazon Synod. My own Bishop Steven Lopes published “A Pledged Troth” which basically nullifies that one controversial footnote in Amoris Laetitia that so many of us hyperventilate about. Talk to your bishop and express your concern. If he’s a reasonable and orthodox man, he’ll try to rectify the situation within his own diocese. If he’s not, just ignore him and look to the bishops who are rectifying the situation in their dioceses. I personally know Catholics who have moved from one diocese to another just to have a better bishop and a better parish experience. You’re not helpless. Nobody can force you to believe things that are morally or doctrinally wrong. Nobody is putting a gun to your head.
You also have to consider this. If you live in the United States, there are literally ZERO legal consequences for disagreeing with the pope or bishops about a particular issue. Nobody can lock you in a dungeon. Nobody can stretch you on a rack, or tie you to a stake. You’re literally as safe as you can possibly be, to go on practicing your Catholic faith in the most traditional way you fancy, regardless of what the pope or bishops say. The state doesn’t care and it never will. The Catholic Left can’t physically hurt you, and they can’t spiritually hurt you either, unless you let them. Here in the United States, the Catholic Left only has the power we personally give them over our lives. So if we give them nothing, they get nothing.
So just be an American, and live your conservative Catholic faith the way you always have, until we get a better batch of bishops and a new pope, who can hopefully put this tragic era behind us. Until that day comes, it’s time for conservative Catholics to be a little more proactive and take their own religious lives into their own hands. If your parish is too liberal, leave it, and find a more conservative one. If your bishop is a Leftist, ignore him, and find a parish he has the least control over (such as a FSSP, ICKSP or POCSP parish for example). Support that instead, and wait him out. You’re an American, for heaven’s sake! And you’re Catholic. Start acting like both.