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Switch to Forum Live View Is schism the best choice?
5 years ago  ::  Sep 20, 2013 - 11:51AM #1
Posts: 6,839

I hope this thread can be left here because I seek the viewpoint of committed Catholics rather than an exchange with dissenters, but I will understand if it's deemed too controversial a topic for this board.

I'm a cradle Catholic but an informally severed one having become a bad Catholic during my teen years and never reneging on that position. That's my status, upfront for the record.

Some aspects of my pre-Vat2 training in the dogma still stick, though. Most notably that a Catholic cannot and must not disavow the authority of the Church's teachings. When one disagrees with an authoritative teaching, every effort must be made to reconcile that disagreement. Moving to the position of, "Well, I think the Church is wrong and not in step with social change, so I'll think and act as I deem right," means you've chosen to defy the Church's authority as an arbiter of right and wrong, a definer of God's Will. You're still Catholic but not as good a one as if you had yielded your will to that of the Church. That's simply what one desiring to remain a good Catholic does, yields, meanwhile sincerely attempting to banish doubt that the Church knows better than you yourself do.

Despite what I've been told repeatedly by dissenters, primacy of conscience does NOT mean defiance and disobedience are justified when a Catholic decides the Church is wrong and what s/he thinks is right. And yet, I'm assured by dissenters that they are still good Catholics, as much if not more so than those who try to tell them that they are still Catholics by dint of baptism but perilously far from being obedient ones.I can't see how a Catholic who firmly believes and advocates anything contrary to the Catechism is doing anything but engaging in defiant self-justification.

I've known priests and sisters both who left because they could no longer obey, no longer could be good Catholics, and decided not to misrepresent their changed convictions by keeping up appearances. Thus, I cannot understand the dissidents I've encountered who insist they know better, and the Church must change on the hot button issues like homosexuality, contraception, the role of women, priestly celibacy and the like. I don't deny they are still Catholics, but I don't see how they can honestly think themselves good ones.

Consequently, I think that the so-called progressive or liberal priests and laypeople who more or less quietly disregard church teachings must separate from the RCC. One parish in St. Louis did just that not long ago over issues of acceptance of SSM and use of contraception among others. Those who actively dissent should be honest and do that. Their defiance renders them already schismatics as I see it.

Your thoughts?

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5 years ago  ::  Sep 22, 2013 - 12:43PM #2
Posts: 2,025

Hi Dot,

It is a very fine line between attempting to reconcile ourselves with teaching and total defiance.  If we privately & prayerfully struggle, we are doing all we can---no one can help what they feel or their emotions.  We can only choose how we act.  I agree that if one speaks against Church teaching this is not living up to the Catholic Faith.

But it is up to God to judge.  There is also the difference between dogma & discipline.  Matters of Faith cannot change, and therefore cannot be argued.  (The Trinity, Eucharist & other Sacraments Perpetual Virginity for example)  The disciplines can be redefined (no meat on Friday is the most notable) I will keep my private struggles private, and I definitely agree others should do the same. 

These are my thoughts.

Nice to see you here.


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5 years ago  ::  Sep 22, 2013 - 10:14PM #3
Posts: 6,839
I agree that airing one's doubts on a message board or anywhere but in private conversation with loved ones or parish priest is ill-advised. That's one reason why I don't understand the openness of dissenters. The other is probably reflective of my pre-Vat2 upbringing:  Avoid doing anything that could make you an "occasion of sin" (a bad influence or example). The good Sisters of St. Joseph drilled into our heads that we must strive always to act as a temple of the Holy Spirit, which frankly I found a pretty heavy obligation and rarely possible. As my mother used to remark of me, "You could be a better example if you'd ever learn when to keep your mouth shut." (Never did, btw. LoL)

If you truly cannot reconcile your deepest convictions with the Church's position on the hot button issues and have reached the point of no longer trying, I think you can't truthfully claim to be an honest Catholic if you don't make the break.

Agreed that anyone still struggling in good faith to accept the Church's authority and to yield to it is justified in considering oneself a good though troubled Catholic. Such a person is trying to reach reconciliation with the Church's teachings. It's those who say openly that they've decided the Church is wrong and outdated that I simply can't understand their thinking themselves good Catholics.

And yes, I realize how very judgmental I am. But such fundamental dishonesty bothers me, particularly when it flies in the face of all I was taught about the appropriate relationship of a Catholic to God, other Catholics and the world at large.

Mea culpa, I suppose.

Thanks, Mysti, for your well-considered reply and welcome.
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4 years ago  ::  Sep 14, 2014 - 11:58AM #4
Posts: 186

For many, particularly those of us of Irish descent, Catholicism is a cultural identify and almost a family, in addition to being a religious denomination.  Many disagree with members of their family, including authority figures such as parents, but do not leave their families.  There are Catholics who feel the same way about the church.

And frankly, there are those who do not leave, at least officially, so as not to cause pain to those very authority figures in their own families.

And there are those who don't have strong enough ties to the Church to agonize over their disagreements or think about whether they should stay or go.

In other words, I think there are many flavors of the issues you raise.

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4 years ago  ::  Sep 26, 2014 - 8:16AM #5
Posts: 5

I think if someone wants to leave the Church, that is their own personal decision, regardless of what their reasons are.

But to imply that those who cannot agree with every single position the Church takes must leave the Church is, to me, way too rigid and inflexible. I also suspect there is not one Catholic on the face of the earth who could say, in all honesty, that they agree with every single thing ever taught by the Church. Whether the Church admits it or not, over many years she has changed her mind about certain topics. (Remember Galileo?)

IMHO the very last thing the Church needs is another schism. We've already had too many--there are literally thousands of Christian denominations and sects out there who disagree with pretty much everything Catholics stand for. Some of the more extreme Protestants even deny that Catholics ARE "Christians"--mind-boggling but true.

The Catholic Church has stood for 2000 years--thru persecutions and disagreements, wars and all kinds of turmoil--but she's still here. I think the Church can withstand dissent too! Smile

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3 years ago  ::  Dec 15, 2014 - 9:47AM #6
Posts: 5
The problem lies with all of us in not having this sense/feeling of ONENESS.... Therefore we are quick to blame the eye or the lung for the malady that is causing difficulty with our vision or in our breathing - and do not want to accept the fact that if one part of our body is infected, the whole body is going to be affected.  In normal cases, even when our eye or lung is infected, we who care for the body would immediately try to find a cure and start with the treatment so as to avoid further damage/difficluty to the eye/lung = body.  Those of us who delay in going for the treatment (or do not get a doctor to treat us) tend to damage the eye/lung more severely and in the process we either lose an eye, lung or simply die....  And this is what happens when we fail to hear the pain/problem of fellow Catholics in the Church and do not reach out to heal the wound... And this utter ignorance or unconcern to the cries of a few members (be it a single member - whether rightfully or wrongfully made) going unheeded has led to schism after schism, divisions and dismay (which are nothing but fruits of total ignorance by the shepherds/clergy, the whole Church if want -  who ought to be caring for every sheep in distress instead of ignoring their cries and letting them go astray or be devoured by wolves)....

Schisms, amputation, excommunication and separation (divorces among married couples) is never the right solution... All this only leads to disfigurement of the body/family....  To believe that the the body/family remains truly faithful (all Clergy and Laity fully committed to God in every which way) and completely healthy (perfect and fair in every manner to all members) after getting rid of these unwanted or unpalatable elements - is most certainly untrue.... If that was so, there would not be so many unfaithful priests and nuns (who serve in spite of their unfaithfulness to God and to the Church in numerous ways) and so many dissenters who are still crying out for this, that and that.... every second day...

The Good Shepherd goes after the Lost Sheep whereas we (the Church leaders bishops priests and nuns plus the very devout practicing Catholics) do not care for the Sick Sheep or the Lost Sheep.....On the contrary we are more good at making/pushing those who are inside the flock to become stray sheep or become outcasts... Distorting the very Mission of Our Lord....
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