On countless occasions, Socon or Bust has voiced concerns about dissenters in the Church. We’re all tired of hearing about it. Believe me, neither John nor I enjoy writing about it, but we must continue working until the problem is fixed.
In some cases, dissent is due to ignorance. That can hardly be called dissent because it’s not done intentionally.
In many other cases, however, dissent stems from a desire to make the Gospel easier and closer to worldly values. Weak human nature leads people to distort Christianity, to abandon the sound teaching of their ancestors in favour of a Catholicism lite, supposedly with all the Catholicism taste, but zero calories of effort. In reality, they just end up with a lot of gas.
This faction of the Church is constantly at odds with the Catholics who strive to remain true to the Magisterium. The tension is palpable, although much of it happens behind the scenes, in parish committees, in the Catholic media and on blogs.
I’m not claiming that one side is holier than the other. The issue is not individual holiness but whether an individual makes the conscious decision to adhere or rebel against Magisterial teaching.
Let’s face it: there’s already a de facto schism in the Catholic Church. There hasn’t been an official and public break yet, but rather a schism-by-stealth where liberals attempt to discretely commandeer local parishes and ministries away from authentic Church teaching. And they have succeeded in many places. The Development and Peace scandal is a textbook illustration of the problem.
Sooner or later, liberals and faithful Catholics will be unable to co-exist under the same roof. Sadly, I don’t see the sides getting any closer. I don’t see signs of a reconciliation. Do you? Have you seen the Nancy Pelosi’s of this world growing closer to Magisterial teaching?
Eventually, the de facto schism will become a public and official schism.
And it won’t be the faithful Catholics who will bail. Despite all the filth in the Church today, despite all the scandals, despite the righteous anger of the faithful Catholics who try to remain true to the Magisterium, they won’t be the ones leaving. They understand that the Church is a divine institution to which Jesus ordered them to remain faithful. He also promised to guide and protect his Church. So the faithful Catholics will pinch their nose and persevere, while they (hopefully) try to fix things from the inside.
Rather, it’s the liberals who will chose to leave. For many of them, the Pope is just an old man in a white suit. Virtually nothing in the Church is so sacred that it can’t be modified to suit their tastes. Not even the Mass. They’ve changed many things at the parish and diocesan levels, although they’ve been unable to change official Church teaching to suit their whims. They still have hope that this can be achieved and that the Church can be completely hijacked towards their views. But their patience is running thin.
We caught a better glimpse of their outlook when Pope John Paul II died. The liberals in the Church were not fond of John Paul’s conservative ways and they where hopeful that the next pope would be more liberal. They were bitterly disappointed when Cardinal Ratzinger was elected. Of all the people on Earth, he was probably the one they loathed the most as a possible successor.
When the election was announced, liberals took to the air and called Pope Benedict a “transitional pope”, old and crispy, a mere placeholder while the Church thought of the real successor to lead the Church beyond the John Paul II era.
They still don’t get it. They don’t realize that the Church will never turn to the dark side. Official teaching will never become contaminated by their liberal slant.
I think their patience will finally run out when Benedict dies and they witness another conservative successor being elected to the papacy. In my opinion, that will be the catalyst that sets off the public schism. They’re willing to wait, for now, because Benedict will turn 84 in April and they figure he doesn’t have too many years left. But when they see another like-minded pope being elected, the cup will run over.
In the meantime, my recommendations for the faithful Catholics would be:
- Grow in personal holiness and agape love. This will do more for the health of the Body of Christ than anything else.
- Take a stand in your community when the situation arises. This includes respectfully speaking to your priest or bishop when you witness problems. Also talk to your fellow parishioners who are going off the rails.
- Pray for real unity in the Church.
- When the schism occurs, try to preserve unity, but not at all costs. It does no good if we avoid the splitting of a diocese if the price to pay is a watered-down Catholicism. You’ll see many bishops tempted to go down this road for the sake of not seeking their diocese split, but this is an unacceptable course of action. Make no compromises on matters of faith and morals. Use the Catechism and the Holy Father as your compass.
In the end, if some Catholics no longer want to be part of the Church, we have to respect their freedom. It’s better that they leave than undermine and sabotage our Church from the inside, as has been happening for the last 50 years.