Yours Truly likes to get the pulse of the culture by various avenues. One of them is to scour the internet and YouTube for traditional Catholic sites. These “Tradcats” (as I like to call them) never fail to impress with their erudition and historical knowledge.  And they are frustrated.  They are frustrated with Pope Francis with whom they do not see eye to eye.  

Of course, at the end of the day, I cannot agree with them theologically but that doesn’t mean I can’t learn from them.  One of the things that I’m learning is that they are rightly exercised by the daily dollops of delirium that Pope Francis spews out. It’s gotten so bad that the word schism is openly being bantered about –mainly by Pope Francis. He is seemingly causing it to materialize by naming it.  And the Tradcats are recognizing this.  Like Bartholomew, he wants to separate from those who aren’t likely to go along with his attempt to unite with the Orthodox world.

Unfortunately, we in the Orthodox world aren’t immune from such talk ourselves. Or controversy. We can thank the present Patriarch of Constantinople for bringing us to this point. The Ukrainian debacle is merely another layer of scandal that has been foisted upon Orthodoxy for several years now.

I’d like to think that Tradcats and non-Constantinopolitan Orthodox have enough in common that we can come together in a meaningful way.  Wouldn’t it be funny if unity was accomplished organically, apart from the machinations of Papa and his BFF? God is still in control.  Perhaps what we are witnessing is the unfolding of history, in which the Church gets larger, not smaller.



Why do Pope Francis and his defenders keep talking about schism?

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.

(One can, on the other hand, cause a schism by holding a meeting of a nation’s bishops, seeking to change teachings of the universal Church, and ignoring admonitions from the Holy See to drop this divisive plan — as the leaders of the German bishops’ conference are doing right now. Yet when the New York Times mentions schism, the threat is said to come from “some conservatives — especially in the United States,” rather than from the rambunctious “progressives” in Germany.)

So again I ask: How did this conversation arise, about the alleged threat of an American schism. And if you follow Catholic conversations on the internet, you know the answer. The topic has been raised — and promoted, and repeated, and touted as an imminent threat — by the Pope’s busiest and most aggressive online defenders.

Which prompts another question: Why are these folks — who have so enthusiastically championed the Pope’s moves to alter Church teachings on issues such as marriage and the Eucharist — so anxious to talk about breaking with the Pope? And again I think I know the answer.

Why did President Lincoln maneuver the Confederacy into the bombardment of Fort Sumter? Because he saw that war was imminent, and he wanted the South to take the first shots. Similarly, the most “progressive” Catholics recognize that they cannot engineer the radical changes they want without precipitating a split in the Church. So they want orthodox Catholics to break away first, leaving them free to enact their own revolutionary agenda.

So let me conclude with a heartfelt plea to my fellow Catholics, and especially to my more excitable friends on the internet. Don’t take the bait. We are not thinking of schism. We are thinking of — and working and praying for — the preservation of Catholic unity, a unity that keeps us in full communion not only with the Bishop of Rome and with our fellow Catholics around the world today, but also with all the faithful Catholics of previous generations. It’s our Church: the Church of the apostles and saints and martyrs and of us poor sinners. We’re not leaving. Hell no; we won’t go.

About GShep


  1. Looks like the Church of Greece will indeed be discussing the Ukraine situation contrary to previous reports:

    Curious, considering a US representative visited Abp. Ieronimos a few days ago 

  2. Wayne Matthew Syvinski says
  3. Ecumaniacal Patriarch says

    Pope just denied divinity of Christ and Vatican doesn’t issue sharp denial:

    Also this – Pagan rituals and idols in Rome this week

    • I wish +Bartholemew luck on his rush to Rome’s embrace. 

      • George Michalopulos says

        Yeah, not good.  I really feel for the Tradcats right about now. 

        • This situation, while sad, is also really interesting to watch and in some ways we can learn from their mistakes and successes in as much as they apply to us.  One key thing is that the dogmatization of the office of the Pope of Rome chickens are coming home to roost.  What do you do when your Pope is a synchrotist?  Is sedevancatism the alternative or a realization that it was a mistake 1000 years ago and it is a mistake today.
          As far as the hand ringing over married priests I don’t have much sympathy other then the RCC never does things sensibly.  Similarly to how they couldn’t just translate the Mass into vernacular, they had to butcher it with the Novus Ordo, I think married priests will open the door to all sorts of weirdness.
            Anyway, +Bartholemew: good luck with your grand unification project.