September 17, 2019 (CatholicCulture.org) — Why are we even talking about schism? Who began this extraordinary conversation, and whose interests are served by it?
Ross Douthat of the New York Times admits that he used the term “schism” long ago, as a theoretical possibility — which he now (rightly) regards as remote. But now Pope Francis speaks calmly about the prospect of schism, and even says that it does not frighten him — which, as I’ve pointed out, is frightening in itself.
How did we come so far, so fast? How did we reach a point at which the nation’s most prestigious secular newspaper raises the notion that American Catholics might split from the universal Church, and the Pontiff treats that prospect as a serious possibility?
Have the Pope’s American critics threatened to break with Rome? Never! Quite the contrary, the most important critics of this pontificate insist that they — we — are doing our utmost to preserve the unity of the universal Church, to maintain our strong ties with “all who hold and teach the catholic faith that comes to us from the apostles.” Cardinal Raymond Burke, often cited as the leader of a rebellious faction, has in fact repeatedly and adamantly pledged his loyalty to the Roman Pontiff. One cannot cause a schism by defending the established doctrine of the Church. ….