November 25-27, 2004
vol 15, no. 189

The Essence of Schism

Part Two

United we stand, divided we fall. There is a vital need for a Traditional kind of 'ecumenism' - Trad-ecumenism, if you will, in bringing together those who uphold the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church for a more charitable understanding of each group whether they believe John Paul II is a valid pope or not. For it is the liturgy and doctrine that unites us in one common goal: a stronger resistance to those who would usurp the Voice of Peter.

      " That 1900+ years have allowed the Church to establish a Universal and Historic Magisterium, which furthermore makes it quite clear that a change to the religion, to the overall manner of worship, to the content and meaning of the liturgical prayers, cannot be tolerated and has no authority. The Voice of Peter can clarify the minuscule bits that remain yet grey, but it has not the power to undo that which has already been dogmatically established. When the Voice of Peter is heard again, I have every confidence that it will side, as it always has, with us Traditional Catholics."

    Editor's Note: To understand the context of Griff's essay, be sure to read Part ONE before continuing below.

    The separation between Catholicism and Novus Ordoism however continues to grow, and it seem intrinsic that it must, for that is an external schism. This is because it has a different religion than Traditional Catholicism. They have left the faith by embracing another, and by rejecting us who have kept it, schismatically separated themselves from the unity of the visible Church as well. We Traditional Catholics represent that unity, and to the extent that they spit us out they schismatically separate themselves from us and thereby from the Church and all sources of Grace.

    This brings in the first part of the definition of schism, namely subjection to the Supreme Pontiff. In each schism, there are at least two sides, and obviously at most only one can be in the right. Bystanders looking at the conflict must wonder: Who is to decide? Who is to arbitrate? Who is it that has the power and authority to say to each side "This is the answer and all of you must comply with it and all of you must get along with each other."? This is where the Pope comes in. Jesus set Peter over the Church, not because he was a better man than the others, but because if He didn't, then they would soon have argued over which of them was supreme, as indeed Scripture bears witness that they did just that even while He was in their midst as their supreme Master.

    A pope cannot side with both sides of an external schism, for indeed one side is against Christ and therefore against all that a pope, by virtue of being a pope, must stand for. He must therefore take one side or the other. Only with an internal schism can a pope say "I am on the side of all of you put together, united in Christ." The Pope therefore decides which side of a schism is truly in schism and which is not, and also he serves to heal internal schisms with the mandate that all who are his subjects (all who are in the Church) must get along, as befits saints. The Pope is therefore that principle of unity that has held the Church together all these thousands of years while all others have fragmented and ultimately disintegrated and disappeared. It is this that healed the First Great Western Schism and this that will one day heal this Second Great Western Schism.

    But which side is the Pope on? Ordinarily, there would be some particular man you could point at and ask, "What does He say?" Then there is an answer and everyone knows where they stand. This is so important that this is why subjection to the Supreme Pontiff is mentioned first in its canonical definition. Sadly, no one is functioning in that role today. Whatever offices various persons may or may not have attained (and I am not getting into that in this article), the obvious and universally agreed-upon fact is that The job is not getting done. For we live in a time where it cannot be established that anyone even fully, legitimately, and truly occupies such a throne as Peter's. Serious reservations and questions have been raised regarding every current claimant to that office today.

    Do we go by the weak and wobbly opinions of some man whom a large number of unreflecting people choose to treat as if he were a pope, and who furthermore has schismatically separated himself both from the Church of history by formally and publicly repudiating its dogmatic teachings, and again also from the Church of the future by attempting to prevent a valid episcopal succession from continuing in his organization and then again attempting an altogether unjust "excommunication" of a certain bishop whose only "crime" was the sustaining of that particular aspect of the Church's Mark of Apostolicity?

    Or do we go with that institution of the papacy, established by Christ, as it has and always must stand for throughout all of time. Whatever qualifications a man may have, educational, spiritual, social, canonical, or whatever else, "THE PAPACY," as an office instituted by God, is and must always be by definition about the advancement of the cause of Christ, the salvation of souls, the upholding of the Catholic Faith in all its details, the unity of the Church, and the sole earthly possessor of the plentitude of authority in the Church.

    In over 1900 years, the Church has carefully and in almost excruciating detail described and defined exactly what "the Pope" teaches and therefore stands for, as an office. Even should an individual attain such an office and yet be so weak and compromised as an individual as to not stand for all that "the pope" must always and everywhere stand for, this does not excuse anyone for following such a man into his weakness and error. A man, even one elected to be a pope, could be too weak to tell a married couple not to contracept, but that would not provide any couple with actual permission before God to do such a thing.

    That 1900+ years have allowed the Church to establish a Universal and Historic Magisterium, which furthermore makes it quite clear that a change to the religion, to the overall manner of worship, to the content and meaning of the liturgical prayers, cannot be tolerated and has no authority. The Voice of Peter can clarify the minuscule bits that remain yet grey, but it has not the power to undo that which has already been dogmatically established. When the Voice of Peter is heard again, I have every confidence that it will side, as it always has, with us Traditional Catholics.

    So, what is our unity in this time of trouble and the Second Great Western Schism? It is in the fact that we all have the same beliefs, the same catechism, the same traditional worship, and most of all that we seek and desire a more open and obvious union with each other under Peter (and for someone to please speak with the Voice of Peter), and long and work for that day that the Church is healed internally and the Second Great Western Schism comes to a close.

    In the meantime, we can subject our opinions about the present state of the Church, or who we think does or does not speak for the Church, to the goal we all acknowledge and with the charity as is incumbent upon us all. It is one thing to be cautious (that is fully understandable and wise), but quite a different and far inferior thing to be constantly suspicious of each other, losing all trust the moment we disagree with someone about something. That latter is a sin against charity and is in fact itself the sin and even the very essence of schism.

    Am I recommending "Trad-ecumenism"? If by "Trad" you refer to those who uphold the wholeness and entirety of the Faith, then YES I do! I know there are many among us for whom any sort of "ecumenism" is a hot-button-hate-word. We all saw the way Communicatio in Sacris has been routinely practiced and encouraged by the Novus Ordo religion (in their repudiation of the First Commandment that "You shall have no god besides Me" sayeth the Lord), but this flies in the face of Catholic history, and is a grave misapplication of the term. Twenty Great Councils, from Nicea I to Vatican I, have all been properly called "ecumenical." They were never about compromise with error or accepting some "highest common denominator" among the various different teachings being advanced at the time, but at arriving a specific and definitive answer to the questions and challenges raised, and authoritatively promulgating for all time the Church's position on the particular questions and challenges at hand.

    Strangely, I have even seen "Trad-ecumenism" be denigrated by Traditional Catholics who devoutly practice it themselves in everything but name. What is to account for this absurd behavior? There is total doctrinal uniformity among us, from sedevacantist through SSPX and SSPX-like clear to Indult, as there is liturgical and catechetical and moral unity as well. Yet, proponents of each party often feel so little faith in their own position that they have no recourse but to attack those who follow different opinions and parties. They argue over the "pope" question, or the relative merits of the various episcopal lines of succession, or what not, and are ready to reject out of hand the spirituality of anyone who disagrees with their particular party or opinion.

    Such behavior has got to stop. It is in fact itself the "crime" of schism, and with that the "sin" as well. It is to say, "I like the way things are now, the Church with no universal leadership and traditional Catholics going off in all directions arguing everything under the sun against each other." And that is the position of the sower of division. We can disown our own brothers and sisters, and even desire their disinheritance, but none of that changes the fact that we traditional Catholics of all "stripes" are already related to each other. We share the same Father in Heaven, by believing exactly the same things, and the same Mother, Mary our Lady, by placing ourselves and each other in her care, and the same source of Grace in our authentic Traditional Catholic Sacraments.

    Sadly, even some authentic clergy of the Church have participated in such sowing of division. That is always a sad and horrifying thing to see, for to be called to such holiness, and then to grieve the Spirit by sowing divisionů - We are not Donatists who would reject such clergy. So long as they give us the true Mass and Sacraments and teaching they are our lawful and valid clergy, and in all that is just and proper and appropriate to their particular office and rank we are subject to them. But unless they repent of such sowing of division, they merely carry the Grace of God in their pocket and not in their heart.

    All that separates us is pride, envy and spite. Give it no quarter. Sin not against Divine Charity. Why do we doubt and suspect and judge and even reject each other over? What do we Traditional Catholics disagree over? Speculative questions, over which none of us has the kind of authority to call those who disagree with us heretics, schismatics, or non-Catholics. When we show that lack of charity we arrogate to ourselves an authority we do not possess and schismatically separate ourselves from fellow Catholics, and thereby from the Church. Interestingly, such negative and judgmental behavior is not even warranted towards Novus Ordo believers, whose non-Catholicity is an established fact. Leave it to the Novus Ordinarians and sowers of division to excommunicate the hell out of each other. We are not to be party to that.

Griff L. Ruby

Griff's book is available from Books for $26.95 or can be read on-line at We at The Daily Catholic strongly urge you to share it with all you can for that could be the gentle shove that moves your friends back to where the True Faith resides forever, rooted in the Truths and Traditions of Holy Mother Church as Christ intended and promised.

    Griff Ruby's STRAIGHT STUFF
    November 25-27, 2004
    Volume 15, no. 189