The Language of Dissent: the Crisis of Authority in the Catholic Church

Pop B

 

This post first appeared on the Catholic Voice and is reproduced here by permission of the editor. ND

In light of the fact that many of us have grown up in the ‘spirit of Vatican II’ Church infiltrated at the local level by the dissenters and disobedient, how do we know that we remain true Catholics in true communion? And how do we spot these closet schismatics?

I’m sure many readers of the Catholic Voice share my concern and grief over the broken communion of the Church in our families, parishes, dioceses, and national churches. It is not an exaggeration to admit that for the past fifty years the Church has increasingly been divided by an unacknowledged, but very real, ‘schism’.

When I use the word ‘schism’ I’m not casually employing a polemical slogan, but drawing attention to the shattering of the communion of the Church by fifty years of widespread dissent, public rejection of the Church’s authority, and acceptance of immoral behaviour presented as ‘lifestyle’ choices. This schism is experienced in an ugly and vicious manner when dissenting Catholics – laity religious, and clergy – express contempt and hostility towards faithful Catholics simply because they are faithful.

There are countless shocking examples of the faithful being marginalised, disempowered and even hounded by dissenters in the Church. I personally know an ex-seminarian who was rebuked by his rector for kneeling during the consecration at Mass; Catholic lecturers and teachers driven from their colleges and schools on trumped up complaints when their real ‘crime’ was being ‘too’ Catholic, and, a school governor who was sacked after twenty years service because he expressed concerns about the appointment of a Head because she was in an adulterous relationship. Then there’s the eminent Catholic scholar harried around the world because he challenged homosexuals in his religious order, and children being given detention at Catholic schools in southern England for upholding the Church’s teaching on homosexuality in class room discussions. I’m sure that readers of the Catholic Voice will be able to add their own testimonies of the marginalisation and persecution of faithful Catholics within the Church.

What makes matters so painful is that it seems nothing is done to protect the faithful from being persecuted by these schismatics. Protests about this seem to fall on deaf ears in a Church at ease with accommodating dissent and disobedience. Real Catholics are told to hold their tongues. Has the voice of the faithful really become no longer welcome?

To publicly admit that a schism exists may be considered to trespass on a taboo that mustn’t be mentioned, but this ignores the reality of schism. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, quoting Canon Law, describes schism, which it links with heresy and apostasy, as ‘the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.’ (CCC 2089). There is nothing romantic or admirable about the schism, heresy, and apostasy that we see all around us. Dissent and schism are not the exercise of freedom and conscience but wounds to the communion of the Church caused by the sins of individuals. As one of the early Church Fathers put it,

‘Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.’ (Origen)

In light of the fact that many of us have grown up in the ‘spirit of Vatican II’ Church infiltrated at the local level by the dissenters and disobedient, how do we know that we remain true Catholics in true communion? And how do we spot these closet schismatics?

The Second Vatican Council’s Dogmatic Constitution on the Church, Lumen Gentium [LG] paragraph 14, contains a check list of sorts that outlines the bonds of unity necessary to maintain the communion of the Church. These are inner, spiritual, bonds and external, visible, bonds of unity that, through the action of the Holy Spirit in the Catholic Church, communicate the oneness of the Church. If you can honestly affirm these bonds of unity by the way you try to live your life, by the way you think, talk, and pray, then you will already know what it means to seek to be a 100% genuine Catholic – a sinner who has been saved by the sacred blood shed on His Holy Cross by Our Lord Jesus Christ, true God and true man.
‘They are fully incorporated in the society of the Church who, possessing the Spirit of Christ accept her entire system and all the means of salvation given to her, and are united with her as part of her visible bodily structure and through her with Christ, who rules her through the Supreme Pontiff and the bishops. The bonds which bind men to the Church in a visible way are profession of faith, the sacraments, and ecclesiastical government and communion.’ (LG 14).
To be a 100% genuine Catholic we must therefore posses the visible bonds of professing the Catholic faith, celebrating the sacraments worthily, and being obedient to the universal authority handed on to the successors of St Peter and the Apostles.
Further, to be a 100% genuine Catholic we must possess the spiritual bonds of Faith, Hope and Love, the Theological Virtues given us by God. The dissenters make the tragic mistake of thinking that Faith is like some political manifesto that can be changed and re-written according to their agendas and power plays, rather than a divine gift entrusted to the Church by God.

We are not judges of God’s Word, rather God’s Word judges us in every aspect of our lives:
‘He is not saved, however, who, though part of the body of the Church, does not persevere in charity. He remains indeed in the bosom of the Church, but, as it were, only in a “bodily” manner and not “in his heart.” All the Church’s children should remember that their exalted status is to be attributed not to their own merits but to the special grace of Christ. If they fail moreover to respond to that grace in thought, word and deed, not only shall they not be saved but they will be the more severely judged.’(LG 14).
The difference between a true Catholic and a schismatic Catholic is that the 100% genuine Catholic seeks to profess the Faith in its fullness by obedience to the Magisterium, strives to celebrate the sacraments worthily through living by the Church’s moral teaching and sacramental discipline, and submits to the pope and bishops’ authentic exercise of authority. It’s important to note here the phrase ‘authentic exercise of authority’ with regards to bishops, which refers to their words and actions maintaining the balance, finely tuned over 2,000 years, between Scripture, Tradition, and the Magisterium.
‘Bishops are authentic teachers, that is, teachers endowed with the authority of Christ, who preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice, and by the light of the Holy Spirit illustrate that faith. Bishops, teaching in communion with the Roman Pontiff, are to be respected by all as witnesses to divine and Catholic truth. This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff’ (LG 25).

We are obliged to obey our bishops when they clearly and unequivocally uphold this divinely instituted balance between Scripture, Tradition and the Magisterium. The Church is guarded from the danger of schism when the bishops fulfil their mandate to ‘preach to the people committed to them the faith they must believe and put into practice’ and when they act as courageous ‘witnesses to divine and Catholic truth’. Has the Church been so deeply wounded by this schism over the past fifty years because many bishops have not acted as ‘authentic teachers’, not acted as ‘witnesses to divine and Catholic truth’?

Who can doubt this?

Schismatic Catholics, to some degree or other, reject these dimensions of being Catholic – they are not obedient, they don’t worship worthily, and they recognise only their own authority. Schismatic Catholics break both the spiritual and visible bonds that must be present for them to belong to the communion of the Church.

The challenge for those of us who seek to be 100% genuine Catholics is that we must, as a matter of urgency, protect our children from these imposters in our midst. Calling dissenters ‘imposters’ may seem harsh, but what else can we call those who attend Mass, while at the same time promoting abortion or same-sex “marriage”? We must also begin to remove these schismatic Catholics from positions of power and influence in the Church for their own good and to stop them harming faithful Catholics.

Pope Benedict XVI warned that those bishops who tolerate dissent in the Church make a very serious misjudgement. When Pope Benedict XVI met with the Bishops of England and Wales during their ad Limina visit in 2010 he cautioned them about mistaking dissent for mature debate within the Church:

‘In a social milieu that encourages the expression of a variety of opinions on every question that arises, it is important to recognize dissent for what it is, and not to mistake it for a mature contribution to a balanced and wide-ranging debate. It is the truth revealed through Scripture and Tradition and articulated by the Church’s Magisterium that sets us free.’

Clearly Pope Benedict was challenging the destructive notion abroad in the Church in England and Wales, and Ireland, that rejection of the Faith and public disobedience must be tolerated under the misnomers of ‘loyal dissent’ or an ‘adult faith’. There is nothing ‘loyal’ about dissent, which is at heart a rebellion against divine truths revealed by God, and there is nothing adult about the egotism and will-to-power that drives this rebellion. This ‘misjudgement’ is compounded when faithful Catholics who are in ‘submission to the Roman Pontiff’ are marginalised, disempowered, silenced.

Pope Francis’ much vaunted programme of reforms will come to nothing if it doesn’t have as its priority healing this deep wound of schism that is bleeding away the vitality of the Church. Addressing dissent is a matter of salvation. The salvation of souls must come first. Nothing else matters.

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52 thoughts on “The Language of Dissent: the Crisis of Authority in the Catholic Church

  1. IMHO this is a loss of the gift of faith. It may transform what is a mere intellectual conclusion into a conviction believed to be in harmony with Christian doctrine: It seems to affect professional theologians more than most. Pride and carelessness prevents seeing where thought is leading: Modernist conclusions to unsound theology which were bound to be condemned – as soon as anyone bothered to look at them. Eventually, the mind is completely out of sympathy with Catholic teaching.
    If these professional theologians (in particular), and especially those whose job it is to explain Catholic theology to people both outside and inside the Church, would ask themselves the question; Can I trust the Catholic Church as the final repository of revealed Truth? – they might not get themselves into such a pickle. If they don’t, it makes no difference what they believe (or disbelieve).

    Liked by 2 people

    • Very well said – as soon as one decides that essential truths of the Faith have to be decided or ‘reinterpreted’ by individuals, as opposed to the mind of the Church, the wrong path has been taken. Everything has to be submitted to Tradition, Scripture and Magisterium for discernment and for final judgement. But instead, we have a ‘magisterium of the academy’ where scholars/theologians and those who follow their lead considerer everything up for reconsideration and who have no concept of submission to a higher authority.

      I think, in a sense, the main thing that separates dissenters from faithful Catholics is their idea of the Church. The dissenters have what is essentially a Protestant view of the Church – this is not meant as a dig at Protestants; only to point out that if one is to call oneself a Catholic, you cannot have such a view, but must recognise the Church’s divine sanction and channels of dominically instituted authority.

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        • Yeah I know – there does seem to be a widespread assumption that everyone should have their say, and it should be taken into account, even it flagrantly contradicts Catholic teaching. I guess some of this is down to the idea we have now that democracy is a.) a de facto good thing, rather than doing the best with what we have, and b.) implies that everyone’s view is therefore equally worthy of consideration.

          But this, which is but one element of the ‘spirit of the age’, would not gain any traction if there had not already been a repudiation of the Church’s authority, and this would not be able to happen if people had a proper sense of what the Church actually is.

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            • Yep – relativism is certainly underpinning a great deal, if not all, of what we are witnessing in the Church today. What I don’t get is, if one takes that attitude, why stay in the Church at all? If it is all relative, there are plenty of other places to go to express your personal interpretation of things.

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            • Yes, this is true. I think deep down a lot of these people actually hate the Church as she truly is, and would rather change her into their own image than go somewhere else, where they can just have their views validated. I think they have more conviction in making that Babel-like church you mention than in anything else to be honest.

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            • They do Mike. The Catholic Church is the only major institution that stands before them and condemns them to their conscience. Without the Church in their way they will feel free and perhaps vindicated from their sins. They might even plead invincible ignorance at the final judgment as there was no one to convict them in their sins. Shame on us and what we have become if we completely lose the role of being a moral compass and the educators of the world in the war between good and evil; right and wrong.

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            • Yes, it is the last bastion of Truth in a world determined to rid itself of objective, binding truths, and the final hurdle to be removed in the great project of ’emancipation’. Well, we can see where this project has got us so far – only time will tell how much self-destruction the dissenting crowd (and our society at large) is willing to unleash before they all wake up to what they’ve done. And yes, woe to us if we do not continue to stand against that tide and preach the saving truths of the Faith.

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      • Mike, you are correct. It seems to me that lots of our Bishops have this Protestant view and place extreme pressure on their priests to affirm all in their beliefs. Teaching the faith is no longer even thought of. The only letters I receive from my Bishop are fundraising ones. The Bishops job is to teach the faith and in doing so, help save souls.

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  2. In Vatican II speak, it seems to many of us that the “people of God” as they are want to say are those who are dissenters from the faith. It has become rare to find a parish that is peopled by those who are not in schism in one way or another – and more difficult for the faithful to find a place to educate their children in the faith. The bishops seem as confused as the laity and the priests are all over the map in their personal beliefs. The real people of God are, as you have said so well, marginalized and persecuted on the whole and the dissenters are given the greatest leniency or even accolades from our church authorities. It is a sad time. Another interesting article about this ‘people of God’ phenomenon was written by Michael Matt at the Remnant recently: http://remnantnewspaper.com/web/index.php/articles/item/973-from-the-people-of-god-libera-nos-domine

    God help us if the Pope doesn’t face this problem square on and start to right this great wrong.

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  3. I pretty much agree with everything Dn. Donnelly has written above here, apart from the use of the word ‘schism’. Is this really the right word? There are certainly divisions in the Church, and a great deal of dissent, but I’d always associated schism with a situation wherein one defined group of people formally separates from the rest of the Church (for whatever reason), and the situation we face now doesn’t seem like that, in that there is no one coherent movement that is doing so. In fact, the only thing you could get the dissenters to agree on is that they are the final authority, and not the Pope!

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    • I think the Deacon used the word correctly, Mike. See the following:

      “Incredulity is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it. Heresy is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and Catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; apostasy is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; schism is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him” (CCC 2089).

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      • Okay, that does seem to apply to any person, not just a group, yes. It’s just I’d always associated schism with defined groups of people who break away or separate themselves from the Church’s authority in some way. Could we then, according to this criteria, class lapsed Catholics (those who still consider themselves Catholic in some way anyway) as schismatics?

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          • Yes, I certainly see that now 🙂 It was, as you say, because of the formal schisms that I’d only thought of it in corporate terms. Actually, I wonder if there has ever been a situation like the one we face today, where there are large numbers of schismatics, all of which can be grouped together according to the type of dissent they display, but which are not a formal, orderly group?

            N.B. I’m starting to hear rumours that threats were made to Pope Benedict by various people within the Church that such a group would form, and would make a formal break from the wider communion. Not sure how reliable these rumours are, but it is an interesting thing to think about nonetheless.

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            • Hadn’t heard the rumors but they wouldn’t surprise me. I’m sure there are many things that go on in the shadows of the hierarchy that we are not aware of.

              I think the closest thing we ever had to the modernism or progressivism of today was probably the Arian heresy. At the time they too persecuted those who remained faithful to the teaching and most of the bishops were rank and file Arians. Someday we will name this heresy too – and look back at it as a formal schism. Right now it is disorganized and individualized.

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            • Yes, this is true, and I think that the scheming was what really wore Pope Benedict down as well.

              Interesting comparison with the Arian heresy – I guess that all schismatic or heretical movements start off disorganised and individualised. The dissenters of today don’t seem to be united by one particular heresy though – they hold to many, but the only thing they all have in common is the disregard for Church authority. Pilatianism perhaps? 🙂

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            • That is why we have used the word Modernism and warned against its rise, as it was the synthesis of all heresies. I think it is still appropriate in large measure. So it is a conglomeration of individual heresies, taken as a whole. Very individualistic.

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            • Yep, a conglomeration of people bound together only by the fact that they persist in various heresies, reject Truth, and repudiate the Church’s divinely given authority. A motley crew if there ever was one!

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    • Seems to me this whole thing could have been prevented if the Congregation had ordered the transfer. This is some pretty petty stuff that one would think is a bit beneath the dignity of these blowhards. No doubt in my mind that AB Sheen is a Saint for our days – and makes one think that there are forces afoot to prevent this from happening.

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      • So, why does the body have to move? Can’t they do all necessary in NY. If it was AB Sheen’s desire and family has a problem with the move as they state, what’s the problem with the Diocese of Peoria coming to NY and doing all they need?

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        • Not sure, accept that the cause for beatification has been fought in Peoria from the beginning. I would imagine that all the apparatus for the creation of relics etc. is already in place and the family should have no problem; after all, I see no problem in having the rest of the remains interred in St. Patrick’s after the work is done. Just a guess and an assumption on my part.

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    • Thanks Deacon Nick, would that be the same His Eminence Timothy Michael Dolan who intends to go mincing about with his limp wristed New York GayLord’s in the St Patricks Day parade. Oh how proud and honoured St Patrick must be.

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    • WHAT IT MEANS TO BE CATHOLIC…. FIGHTING OVER A CADAVER. Dance macabre. Let the dead bury the dead. But these dead wont bury the dead. they prop them up and bow to them/. Death and hell is their god. Death and hell is what they will reap/

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      • If wonders were worked by the handkerchief of St Paul, why do you wonder that his bones might work miracles?

        Our Lord by descending into hell has drawn the sting from Death and made the grave a place of sweet rest, which holds no horrors for the saints.

        You protestants do not love your dead; you do not pray for them. In fact you are afraid of them and get them out of sight and out of mind as quickly as possible.

        Over whom, then, does Death have sway? The Catholic, who is quite at home in the Catacombs, or the Protestant, who faints at the sight of one?

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  4. Lumen Gentium [LG] paragraph 14, contains a check list of sorts that outlines the bonds of unity necessary to maintain the communion of the Church.

    Well, lets go down the line and see if everything checks out. In order to be in communion we better do all the things the check list says, other wise we are schismatics. You know , I thought I saw a schismatic in the grocery store hiding behind a stack of potatos.

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  5. Schismatic Catholics break both the spiritual and visible bonds that must be present for them to belong to the communion of the Church.

    I say we take care of these catholic schismatics the way we used to do in our glory days….tie them to the rack. And whats left we can toss to the vultures.

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      • My old friend Mundabor says;

        If you ask me, God has inflicted this Pope on us so that we may pay the price of the unspeakable arrogance of 50 years of Neo-Modernism. This is cause for sadness for the punishment we have merited, and certainly calls for us to merit – one day – the end of the punishment by reacting to the mistakes or outright abominations of the past 50 years. But a bad Pope, or many bad Popes, are certainly no reason to question the Bride more than we would question the Bridegroom

        No matter if all the nuns are lesbos, no matter if all the priests are homos, no matter if all the clergy are money hungry thieving dogs, I love it. the gold and jewels and graven images…that is the catholic church. Forget that the total clergy are wicked. We LOVE IT.
        Bring me that graven image of tammuz, …..I wanna bow befor it.

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    • Israel was still Israel even with Caiphas in charge, you dunce.

      When the psalm Super Flumina Babylonis was written, it was hardly the glory days of Israel was it? Nonetheless, God is God, and the Church is the Church, and no amount of scoffing will change it.

      Whether the men you speak are still part of the mystical body is a different question; if you ask me, none of them is. But there are and always have been both wheat and tares in the field, until the day of the harvest.

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    • Deacon Nick, the only answer I have is the one Fr. Pope posted on his blog: “I removed the post upon further reflection due to the strong nature of the language I had used in parts of it. I apologize if the language I used caused offense.” Now IMHO, there are some other reasons also. 1. The liberal media started calling and asking all the questions that the Diocese of Washington D. C. was too scared to answer. It’s always hard to uphold the faith when you don’t believe it. 2. The two main events Fr. Pope mentioned, the parade and the Al Smith Dinner are events that take place in New York, not Washington, of which Fr. Pope has no control, so any “discussion” of these could be turned into “controversy” aimed at AB Dolan. 3. Fr. Pope’s 3rd paragraph:
      “But now we are being asked to raise toasts and to enjoy a night of frivolity with those who think it is acceptable to abort children by the millions each year, with those who think anal sex is to be celebrated as an expression of love and that LGBTQIA… (I=intersexual, A= Asexual) is actually a form of sanity to which we should tip our hat, and with those who stand four-square against us over religious liberty.”
      This is a very truthful statement that should be read and explained at every Mass. It is also a statement that will anger the baby killers, active homosexuals, and our current cultural Marxist regime in the White House. All of these factions are very powerful, loud, rude, and financially strong voices. Does Fr. Pope stand a chance in our current “Language of Dissent?” The only way I can see that he does, is if many priests will stand with him. Let the schism begin.

      Liked by 2 people

  6. Good brother Mundabor is over at his site raging against homosexuals. I guess hes trying to cover up the well known fact that he too is a raging homosexual. That guy is one odd bird.

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