Spiritual Communism and the Schism

At Garabandal, the Blessed Virgin Mary foretold a rise of communion, which would threaten and harm the Church, prior to the great Warning. Based on my study of eschatology (having been wrong in the past about the date for this event), I now believe that the Warning will occur on Good Friday of 2016. But there has been no rise of political communism. My interpretation has long been that Mary was not referring to political communism, but to spiritual communism.

Political communism is based on the idea of the common worker rising up against authority, and taking control of society. Historically, communist groups gained power and rose up to overthrow the established governmental authority in their nation; but they also try to dominate the culture as well. The ideology of communism proposes a society without social hierarchy, in which everyone’s role is much the same. Equality is loudly proclaimed, but, in every historical case, political communism has quickly resulted in totalitarianism in government and culture.

Spiritual communism is similar; the term is an analogy. Spiritual communism proposes to overthrow the authority of the Church, and to replace it with the common opinion of society in general, or of the laity, or of some cultural subgroup within the Church. There is a denigration of Church authority, such that any decision of discipline or doctrine contrary to the common opinion is harshly rejected, along with whichever persons in authority have made the decision. The authority of the Magisterium is replaced with the pseudo-authority of this common opinion — which is treated as if it were nothing but an irrefutable understanding of infallible truth.

Often, spiritual communism favors the common opinion prevailing, at any point in time, in sinful secular society. The culture teaches inclusiveness, so the spiritual communists begin to claim that “Jesus taught inclusiveness”. The culture teaches that “marriage equality” requires legalized same-sex marriage, so the spiritual communists devise a claimed spiritual basis to support gay marriage. The culture promotes all manner of grave sexual sins as if these acts were good and moral, so the spiritual communists propose one theological rationalization after another, to justify every kind of grave sexual sin within the Sacrament of Marriage. And so on.

At times, spiritual communism arises from the common opinion of a cultural subgroup within the Church, such as conservatives or traditionalists. They begin to treat the Magisterium as if it were beneath them, as if they had the role of judging and correcting the Pope and the body of Bishops and the Magisterium itself. Can a conservative also be a communist? In the case of spiritual communism, the answer is Yes. They wish to overthrow the authority of the Church, because the Pope is liberal. They reject the authority of the Second Vatican Council, because the Council seemed liberal to them (it seems conservative to me). They form opinions on spiritual questions from the common view of their subculture, and then they treat those opinions as infallible truth. They speak as if their point of view should dominate the whole Church. For the theory of communism always turns into the reality of totalitarianism.

I see spiritual communism among Catholic theologians and authors, in that they reject the teaching authority of the Church whenever it is contrary to the prevailing opinion of their peers. It has long been common among theologians to treat very few teachings as unchangeable dogma, and to treat almost every question in theology as open to discussion. The foolish opinions of the theologian in the office next to theirs is treated with greater respect that the infallible teachings of Popes and Councils.

I note the influence of spiritual communism in Catholic discussion group postings. On every topic, if most persons posting on a topic agree, the position is treated as if it were truth — without regard for, and often in direct contradiction to, magisterial teaching. On the topic of sexual ethics, most posters use shameful secular language and write from a highly secular point of view. Some posters openly reject, and others radically reinterpret, magisterial teaching on sexuality. The result is conclusions which agree with sinful secular society and which are entirely incompatible with Church teaching, Sacred Scripture, holiness, and the fear of God.

Under the influence of this spiritual communism, the opinion of Saints and Doctors of the Church is given no weight, if it is contrary to the popular opinion of society or of some groups of Catholics. And any opinion supported by a theological argument, based on Tradition, Scripture, Magisterium, is ignored or dismissed with a few words, when it is contrary to the baseless opinion preferred by an individual. Each person exalts his own opinion, or that of his chosen socio-political or cultural group, above all else.

People who have fallen into the error of spiritual communism are uncorrectable and unteachable. The words of Popes and Councils and Saints and Doctors of the Church have no effect on them, if contrary to their own thoughts and ideas. The strongest theological argument, based on Tradition and Scripture, is a joke to them. They believe whatever they like, and they use theology as a way to devise rationalization and excuses. They lack humility and intellectual honesty. They are not engaged in sincere selfless search for religious and moral truth. Instead, they spread their own baseless ignorant opinions, as if it were a new Gospel, better than the old one.

Schism

The approaching schism is largely the result of spiritual communism. Many conservative and traditionalists have decided that the common opinion in their Catholic subculture cannot err. Liberal Catholics are treated with denigration and open contempt. The Gospel teaching of charity and mercy toward others is ignored and contradicted when speaking about liberal priests, liberal theologians, or a liberal Pope or Council.

Many individual Catholics have decided that their own opinion on every spiritual topic cannot err, or at least that they can and should follow their own opinions, regardless of Church teaching. And when a Catholic finds several others who agree, it reinforces their faulty opinion, again, without regard for Church teaching. They have not spent the time and effort needed to learn what Jesus and His Church really teach. They lack the humility to accept correct, admit that they erred, and change their views.

There is a rebellion against Jesus Christ gathering strength within the Church. Ironically, conservatives who claim to be faithful to the Magisterium, who see themselves as preserving the truth in opposition to secular society and liberalism, are the very same Catholics who have fallen into spiritual communism. They have gradually replaced faithfulness to Church teaching with faithfulness to the distorted version of Church teaching that has developed in conservative and traditionalist circles after Vatican II. They place conservatism above Catholicism. They cannot imagine that a conservative theological opinion could ever be wrong, or that the liberal answer on the same question could ever be right.

This rebellion is analogous to political communism since it seeks to overthrow central authority and replace it with the ideas and pseudo-authority of the common man. But just as in political communism, very quickly this communism turns into totalitarianism. The leaders of this rebellion would reject the Pope, or demand that he teach according to their ideas. They reject any Bishop or priest who contradicts their views. And they wish to impose their distorted understanding of the Faith on the whole body of the faithful. Whoever disagrees, however amicably, is treated with great hostility. No differences of opinion are tolerated.

Spiritual communism is also found on the left among Catholics. There it takes the form of exalting the popular views of sinful secular society, and attempting to impose those views on the whole Church. They would like to rewrite the Gospel so that it will always agree with whatever pseudo-dogmas secular society is promoting. And again, they reject any authority in the Church which contradicts their ideas.

The Church is in a dire condition at the present time. Things have never been worse, in the history of the Church. And these problems are not going away any time soon. Instead, there will be a conservative schism, followed by a liberal schism. The Church will suddenly become much smaller, but also holier.

by
Ronald L. Conte Jr.
Roman Catholic theologian and translator of the Catholic Public Domain Version of the Bible.

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2 Responses to Spiritual Communism and the Schism

  1. Paul says:

    Interesting thoughts, Ron. I must admit that my sympathies have shifted slightly toward the conservative viewpoint in recent weeks. However, much of the vitriol and disrespect shown in the comboxes is quite disturbing. Even some of the articles go way too far, and give further credence to your opinion. I am disturbed by many of the reports I hear coming out of Rome, but I am not in a position to determine authenticity in most cases; regardless, I think many have reacted uncharitably.

    It seems to me that the devil loves a false dichotomy, since it enables polarization that, once established, is fertile ground for the spiritual communism of which you speak. So to avoid sliding into papolatry on the one hand, and schism on the other, I maintain my sympathies as they seem logical to me; but I give final assent to the Magisterium, and intend to maintain civility and proper respect along the way.

    I wonder: If the schisms occur as you predict, do you expect them to be overt, or could they be – as you have interpreted Our Lady’s warning of communism – of a spiritual nature? Because I think a spiritual schism – which would manifest as a similar disregard for the teachings from conservatives as one typically expects from liberals – would be far more damaging. Those entering the Church would behold anything but unity, and would likely be adopted by one or other of these de facto schismatic factions. The Catholic Church would then assume the Protestant mentality, but the “enemy” would be within, rather than without.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Scripture predicts a great apostasy during the tribulation. So the schism is not as limited as you suggest. Many persons formally leave the Church. Some try to set up a competing Church. But as the difficulties of the tribulation unfold, many lose heart and fall away completely. Schism leads to apostasy.

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