How To Avoid Falling Into Schism

To avoid the sin of schism, a Catholic should hold that:

1. Pope Francis is the current valid successor of Peter, and therefore he is:

“true vicar of Christ, head of the whole Church and father and teacher of all Christian people. To him, in blessed Peter, full power has been given by our lord Jesus Christ to tend, rule and govern the universal Church.” — First Vatican Council

2. The Catholic Christian faithful must be subject to Pope Francis, since he is the Roman Pontiff.

“It arises from the necessity of salvation that all the faithful of Christ are to be subject to the Roman Pontiff.” — Fifth Lateran Council

“schism is the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him” — Canon 751

3. Pope Francis has the gift of truth and of a faith that cannot fail.

“This gift of truth and never-failing faith was therefore divinely conferred on Peter and his successors in this See so that they might discharge their exalted office for the salvation of all, and so that the whole flock of Christ might be kept away by them from the poisonous food of error and be nourished with the sustenance of heavenly doctrine.” — First Vatican Council

Therefore, no Pope can teach material heresy, nor commit the sins of apostasy, heresy, or schism. And no Pope can lead the faithful away from the path of salvation. For the Church is indefectible, and the Pope is the Head of the Church.

4. Any Pope, from Peter through all of his successors, can possibly err in a personal theological opinion, but never to the extent of material or formal heresy, nor to such an extent as to lead the faithful away from the path of salvation. And such errors must never be exaggerated, as if they implied heresy or a destruction of the true Gospel.

5. Any Pope can possibly err, to a limited extent, in his non-infallible teachings, but never to the extent of material or formal heresy, nor to such an extent as to lead the faithful away from the path of salvation. The errors that are possible in personal theological opinions are broader than the errors possible in non-infallible teachings. But neither can contain heresy or lead us away from eternal life.

6. Any Pope, including Pope Francis, is able to teach infallibly, and such teachings, if they meet the criteria taught by the First Vatican Council for Papal Infallibility, cannot possibly err.

7. Faithful Catholics can disagree with a decision of any Pope on a matter of discipline or of prudential judgment. But we must always remain subject to the Pope’s authority over both doctrine and discipline.

8. Malice, hatred, and vicious false accusations, directed at any Pope, are incompatible with submission to the Roman Pontiff and with membership in the one true Church.

9. The decision to oppose any Pope, whether privately or publicly, not merely on a particular question of discipline or doctrine, but, on the whole, to oppose his person or his office, is incompatible with submission to the Roman Pontiff and with membership in the one true Church.

10. In humility, we must admit that if the words or deeds of any Pope seem to be in error, perhaps we are the ones who have erred or misunderstood.

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

Please take a look at this list of my books and booklets, and see if any topic interests you.

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2 Responses to How To Avoid Falling Into Schism

  1. Patrick says:

    Hi Ron,

    Many thanks for this post and your generosity in distributing your writings free of charge.

    Could I enquire as to what you believe to be the third Fatima secret and why it was not revealed by any Pope in 1960 as instructed by Our Lady until Pope John Paul 2 in 2000 ?

    Could it be that it related to the Papacy itself, apostasy and the internal problems of the Catholic Church ?

    Do you still believe that “Peter the Roman” aka Pope Francis is the Pope who will be martyred ?

    Is it still possible that Russia will be the means by which God will chastise the world ?

    I am aware that previously in your book, The Bible and the Future of the World you had indicated that this was no longer the case however Russia under ex KGB leader Putin certainly seems to becoming increasingly bold, brash and determined not just to escalate tensions but also ignore previous non-proliferation treaties ?

    I sometimes despair that at Mass over the decades the various priests never mention satan / the devil. It’s almost as if he doesn’t exist. I know many good and sincere priests who give really good advise in their homilies however it’s appears it’s almost as if they rightly or mistakenly don’t wish to upset any parishioners.
    I feel that priests should take a leaf from your book in terms of their homilies.
    A more passionate and dare I say strident line of advise would be so beneficial to their congregations. SO MANY SOULS ARE AT STAKE !

    • Ron Conte says:

      The third secret of Fatima is just as was revealed in 2000 by the Vatican.
      Peter the Roman is every Pope from Pope Francis onward, until the Return of Christ hundreds of years from now.
      I think the next Pope after Pope Francis (Pius 13th) will be martyred.
      World Wars 3 and 4 are the Muslim extremists versus the West (U.S. and Europe).
      There will never be a world war involving Russia and the U.S. and/or China.

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