Fr. Raymond J. de Souza: Threat of Schism Comes From Germany, Not United States

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The German episcopate — not journalists and commentators — is led by Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich. (Daniel Ibanez/CNA)

COMMENTARY: An American-led schism seems so remote as to be impossible, whereas Germany’s bishops are openly defying Pope Francis.

By Father Raymond J. de Souza, National Catholic Register, 9/18/19

Talk of schism in the Church is “promiscuous” now, writes New York Times columnist Ross Douthat. Pope Francis addressed it at length on his return flight from Madagascar. But where is the danger of schism? It is far more likely from Germany, where bishops are openly defying the Holy Father, than from the United States.

The question of potential schism was raised on the recent papal flights to and from Africa. On the outbound flight, presented with a book accusing some Americans of plotting to overthrow the Pope, the Holy Father said that “it is an honor when the Americans attack me.”

Papal spokesman Matteo Bruni then quickly turned that inside out to mean that the Holy Father greatly respects American viewpoints. That didn’t fly with the press corps, so Pope Francis was asked about it on the flight home, in response to which he confessed that he didn’t want schism, but “did not fear it.”

Also on the plane to Mozambique, Pope Francis, answering a question about concerns raised by Cardinal Gerhard Müller, the former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, said: “He has good intentions; he is a good man. The Pope likes him. But he is like a child.” ….