Reputation versus Schism and Heresy

For a long time now, many conservative Catholics have been making certain mistakes.

1. The assumption that the conservative answer to any theological question is necessarily correct, and that the liberal answer is wrong or heretical.

2. The reliance on a set of conservative Catholic leaders and teachers, instead of relying on the Magisterium itself, to interpret and explain Catholicism, and to answer questions and respond to controversies.

3. The acceptance of a number of distortions of doctrine, on the basis of their acceptance among conservative Catholics.

And now the fruit of this rotten tree is ready for harvest. Heresies have spread among conservatives. Yet they are absolutely unwilling to be corrected by a liberal Pope. The foundation of the great conservative schism has been laid and is ready to be built upon.

Already, many conservative Catholic leaders are in a state of interior schism. They have decided that they understand the Faith better than Pope Francis, and that he must be corrected according to their understanding, as if they could not err. They propose dubia, petitions, and articles — all explaining their (unwittingly erroneous) version of the Faith. Then the arrogant, the ignorant, and the foolish join their outcry. It is as if these many grains of sand think to replace the Rock on which the Church is founded.

So now I tell you, soon you will see many prominent Catholic leaders, who have good reputations and fine credentials (according to an earthly perspective) fall way from the true Faith. They will rebuke Pope Francis and falsely accuse him of heresy.

God is putting conservatives to the test, under the liberal Pope Francis. Then later, God will put liberals to the test, under a conservative Pope.

What will you do? Will you side with your favorite bloggers, authors, speakers, and other Catholic leaders? Will you side with the Cardinals and Bishops who seem most holy and faithful to you? Or will you obey Jesus Christ and put your faith in the Rock upon which the Church is founded, namely, every successive Pope, from Peter to Pope Francis and all the Popes who will follow him?

Do not be fooled by reputation, or charm and wit, or pretended authority. The Roman Pontiff holds the keys of Saint Peter. When he opens, no one can close. When he closes, no one can open. All arguments, petitions, blog posts, and anonymous online comments notwithstanding.

I think you will be surprised to see which conservative Catholic leaders fall away in the schism. Many of these schismatics have excellent reputations among conservative Catholics. Somehow, they have obtained a following of Catholics who are more loyal to them, than to the Pope.

Already, I see many of these conservative leaders teaching one error after another, with the claim that their own erroneous understanding is merely correct doctrine. Already, I see many of these persons openly treating Pope Francis with opposition, animosity, denigration, and contempt. Perhaps some will repent and then not fall away. We shall see.

Do not join the schism! Do not rely on reputation, nor on the majority opinion within the conservative Catholic subculture! Do not rely on your own understanding of the Catholic faith! Instead, submit your mind and heart to the teaching of each successive Pope, including Pope Francis. Otherwise, you will become guilty of schism, and also heresy, and then YOU will be unworthy to receive Communion along with the divorced and remarried.

Do not imagine that the only grave sin among communicants is this particular sin committed by some of the divorced and remarried. Many grave sins have spread among the faithful, along with theological rationalizations for those sins offered by conservative leaders and commentators. It is very much like the situation when Jesus opposed the Pharisees, and many of Our Lord’s rebukes apply also to this generation. It is astounding how closely the Pharisees of today fit the description in the Gospels, and yet they themselves are blind to it.

Beloved children of God, make a prayerful decision, as soon as possible, to remain faithful to Pope Francis — no matter what he teaches. For he has the gift of truth and of a never-failing faith. He is the Rock on which the Church is founded, and his many critics are the sand that you ought not to build upon. He can err in a number of limited ways, on doctrine and discipline, but he can never commit or teach heresy, and he can never lead the faithful away from the path of salvation.

Are you children of God? Or are you children of the conservative Catholic subculture, or children of traditionalism, or children of sinful secular society? So many persons still call themselves Catholic, yet they long ago departed from the true faith. Do not join them.

Repent of your sins of unfaithfulness, and live a simple humble life of prayer, self-denial, and works of mercy. Otherwise, you might fall away in the great schism, or in the great apostasy which follows on its heels.

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

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11 Responses to Reputation versus Schism and Heresy

  1. I am a young woman. I’m not sure if the warning is this year. I really hope because my family needs conversion.

  2. Michael says:

    Stay with the Pope ,whether he be conservative or liberal & we won’t go wrong .we may not agree with certain things this or that pope says, that’s fine .So long as we remember our place and the pontiffs place in the church.We the pupil & he father & teacher of the flock .when we rebel against the pope we basically rebel against the Holy Spirit !

  3. Tom Mazanec says:

    I am curious about the Pope Emeritus. Is Benedict still incapable of heresy? Not that I expect him to fall into this, but as he no longer holds the office, is it THEORETICALLY possible?

    • Ron Conte says:

      It is theoretically possible for a man, before he is Pope, and after he is Pope (given that he resigns) to commit apostasy, heresy, or schism. The protection of the man is due to the office, by the prevenient grace of God.

  4. Stephen says:

    If the warning comes this Good Friday then this schism would have to happen very soon and would be very short lived wouldn’t it? Most would likely change back wouldn’t they after the warning, wouldn’t they?
    Also how can the warning happen on the same day around the world? The international date line divides one day and the next. The whole world cannot be the exact same day at the same time can it?

    • Ron Conte says:

      The Warning occurs at the time that Jesus died on the Cross, about 2:51 Jerusalem Standard Time (the third hour by the sun). So the time on the clock in different locations in the world will be different, even to being a different day in some places (due to time zones and the international date line).

      The Warning only shows the person the sins on their conscience, it does not give objective knowledge of morality apart from conscience. Also, some sinners reject the correction of the Warning. So the schism actually worsens after the Warning: 1. the schismatics who had a sincere but mistaken conscience will wrongly assume they are right. 2. the schismatics who reject the Warning will also continue in their sins of schism.

  5. Mark P. says:

    Ron,
    This post is very well done and is required reading, as far as I am concerned. Many of the popular – not even the strictly conservative – Catholic websites are so reactionary and pessimistic about everything the Holy Father does that they have become more like gossip columns than news sources or balanced commentary. Then the traditionalists assume that if we went back to Mass with the priest facing away from people, speaking in a language that they don’t understand, that somehow our churches would be busting at the seams with faithful Catholics. Their disdain for Vatican II is palpable, and they take a post hoc, ergo propter hoc approach of its relationship to the world’s current moral state.

    Most of these bloggers and website authors do not see the big picture or the providence of the Holy Spirit at work in the Holy Father. Any truly faithful and practicing Catholic will 1) accept the Holy Father as the successor to St. Peter, 2) accept that he will not err in teaching of dogma or doctrine and 3) should presumably already be living in moral accord with Church teachings. So if they are truly committed to the faith, they will remain in the faith. Therefore no silly so-called controversies surrounding the Pope should theoretically shake their faith. If they are bothered by such goofy diversions, then maybe their faith isn’t as strong as they think it is.

    Pope Francis has a massive challenge in gathering the lost sheep into the Church. He has been tasked by the Holy Spirit to perform this holy duty, and if that means there are some temporary or even permanent relaxations in disciplines to do so, then these changes will be necessary. Those opposed to these changes may not appreciate the imminence of coming trials and how necessary it is to bring these souls into Holy Mother Church at this moment in time. The next (who I propose will be Leo XIV*) and future Popes will be more conservative than Pope Francis.

    *HBO has a new show called “The Young Pope,” about a weird, eccentric and unorthodox American who becomes Pope, taking the name Pius XIII. I am not sure if this matters for the future, but I neither am I sure that any near-term pope will now take this name. Ron, I am not sure if you have heard of this show.

    • Ron Conte says:

      Any Pope can err, to a limited extent, in non-infallible teachings (which require only religious assent, not the full assent of faith).

      I still think the next Pope will take the name Pius XIII. There have been antipope who took certain names in the past, and then a subsequent valid Pope, ignoring the antipope, took that name. We don’t let non-popes take names away from our true Popes.

    • Teophanes the recluse says:

      Hi Ron, you always say that the next Pope will be a conservative.

      Of course i would be loyal to him, even though i’m a liberal, but why isn’t possible that we are going to have a renewal with Pope Francis and that His successor will be in pastoral continuity with him?

    • Ron Conte says:

      I think the next Pope will be conservative for a complex set of reasons, explained in my eschatology. I could be wrong.

    • Theophanes the recluse says:

      Well i HOPE you are wrong. ;)

      Anyway, all this mess regarding Amoris Laetitia leaves me dumbstruck.

      Here in Italy i explained countless times to the local conservatives that with Amoris Laetitia all we have is a pastoral/disciplinar change, but they still are convinced that any pastoral practice that differes from Familiaris Consortio is heretical.

      It’s like they have dogmatized the conservative approach, as if it was the only legitimate approach on these issues.

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