03 December 2013

This is Schism, is It Not?

Bishop Gebhard Furst
Apparently, being "pastoral" means, in practice, confirming people in mortal sin by encouraging sacrilegious reception of Holy Communion.

Thanks to Pete at Et Cum Spiritu Tuo blog for linking this Lifesite News article.  Why is this schism?  It involves disobedience of a direct instruction on a matter of faith by the competent Vatican authority.  Weird that the German bishops can spot schism in the SSPX well enough, where there was disobedience, but no matter of faith or morals at issue.

Please pause for a moment, and contemplate that the last two clear statements coming from the Vatican that have unreservedly upheld the doctrine of the faith have come from Archbishop Gerhard Müller, the same man whose elevation to the Holy Office coincided with the collapse of the rumored Rome-SSPX agreement.

That is where we are, people.

German bishops will defy Vatican on divorced-remarried receiving Communion: Bishop Fürst

by Hilary White

 ROME, November 27, 2013 (LifeSiteNews.com) – Bishop Gebhard Fürst of Stuttgart has told a group of German laity that while the indissolubility of marriage is “non-negotiable” for the Catholic Church, the German bishops are going to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive Communion, despite clear instructions to the contrary from the Vatican’s doctrinal chief.


The statement was a reiteration of guidelines published in October by the Archdiocese of Freiburg to admit the divorced and remarried to the Sacraments without previous annulment of marriage “under certain circumstances.”

Following some recent comments made by Pope Francis, there was widespread anticipation that the Church was about to alter its position. But this was definitively quashed by an article by the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Archbishop Gerhard Müller, prefect of the CDF, reiterated the Church’s teaching on the indissolubility of marriage and that those who have remarried after divorce are objectively in a state of grave sin, namely adultery.

The German bishops had already issued “guidelines” for parishes that allowed such individuals to decide for themselves whether to receive Communion based on subjective criteria. But Müller wrote, “If the prior marriage of two divorced and remarried members of the faithful was valid, under no circumstances can their new union be considered lawful, and therefore reception of the sacraments is intrinsically impossible.”

“The conscience of the individual is bound to this norm without exception,” he added. Guidelines that would allow the divorced and remarried to receive the Sacraments “would cause confusion among the faithful about the Church’s teaching about the indissolubility of marriage,” he said. 

The guidelines recommend that “in justified individual cases divorced should be allowed to return again to the sacraments…A personally responsible decision of conscience and a conversation with the chaplains are prerequisite.”

After publishing the article reiterating the Church’s teaching, however, Müller then wrote a letter addressed specifically to all German bishops instructing them to withdraw the guidelines and re-write them. 

Later, Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and a member of Pope Francis’ inner circle, said that Müller’s intervention had not ended the discussion.



Dave Heath said...

I posted these comments to an earlier and similar article: "What part of the 6th Commandment - "Thou Shalt Not Commit Adultery" - don't the German Bishops understand? Why are they attempting to re-write and re-translate the spoken word of God Himself? Why are they trying to make Holy that which God Himself condemns? The German Bishops want to change a law that will contravene a Commandment of God by allowing a Catholic who willfully violated Church law to receive Communion, without being absolved of the sin of adultery before hand and correcting their irregular status, whatever that may entail. And they are in adultery if they do not have an annulment, their first spouse is alive and they have gotten remarried outside the Church.The hoops that divorced Catholics may need to jump through are of their own making, not the Church's. They are and remain those peoples problems and it is they who need to change and correct the problem within established laws and doctrine of the Church under the proper pastoral care that protects and preserves Church Doctrine. The majority should not be forced to endure a change that would only benefit a minority who chose their own predicament to begin with. What the German Bishops will essentially do, if allowed, is to gut 2 bonums of the Sacrament of Matrimony" and negate any need for the Sacrament, not to mention profaning another. God Save us from errant Bishops...

Lynne said...

Unfortunately, it may not be treated as a schismatic action but will be quietly tolerated and so it will spread to other countries (just like CITH, altar girls, etc)

Anonymous said...

I do not have sufficiently negative words to use to indicate how disgusted I am with what the Catholic Church has become.


Karen said...


Please remember that the Catholic Church is the one true Church of Christ and is, therefore, pure and holy. Catholics, on the other hand, have become completely secularized, selfish and follow, salivating, the smoke of Satan. Not all Catholics, but very, very many, and thus are not really Catholics anyway but duped ingoramuses. It is terribly sad but they will reap what they sow.

In the meantime, we need to look out for our own souls and proceed joyfully because God has redeemed us and if we are careful and work hard to live a truly Catholic life, we will come to be with Him forever at the Second Coming.

So, although we pray for our brethren deprived of sanctifying grace and hope to see them reconciled with Holy Mother Church, we should rejoice and be glad. This is the advent of the Lord's coming both in remembrance of the past and in anticipation of the future.

The higher the office, the farther the fall. Those bishops will have much to answer for. The progressives in the Curia now and during the implementation of the "spirit of V-II" have much to answer for. But as for us, our first and most important priority is the salvation of our own soul and second, to try to save other souls if possible.

The fact that we can still do this in such a decrepit world makes me very thankful and joyful! God is so good! We do our best; He does the rest.

I hope you find joy this Advent.

Anonymous said...

Agreed that what some German bishops are proposing is a move toward schism but has the Timman forgotten what Pope Benedict said in his March 10,2009 letter to bishops explaining the lifting of the excommunications of the SSPX bishops?

"The fact that the Society of Saint Pius X does not possess a canonical status in the Church is not, in the end, based on disciplinary but on doctrinal reasons. As long as the Society does not have a canonical status in the Church, its ministers do not exercise legitimate ministries in the Church.

"In order to make this clear once again: until the doctrinal questions are clarified, the Society has no canonical status in the Church, and its ministers – even though they have been freed of the ecclesiastical penalty – do not legitimately exercise any ministry in the Church."

And, after saying the Ecclesia dei Commission would be joined to the CDF. The pope said:

This will make it clear that the problems now to be addressed are essentially doctrinal in nature and concern primarily the acceptance of the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar magisterium of the Popes.

Got that? The problems with SSPX are essentially doctrinal not disciplinary or just a matter of disobedience to the church’s sacred canons.

Bernie Gui

thetimman said...


A fair comment, and is had not forgotten the CDF's note. But would you believe that I don't believe the CDF when it says it? I don't think there is any real doctrinal or dogmatic disagreement, unless it is in the question of whether the self-proclaimed non-definitional council actually defined new doctrine or dogma. And if that is the disagreement, then both the council and the SSPX have the winning argument over the CDF.

Because that would be awkward to say the least, I repeat that I don't believe the CDF really can lay the charge of heresy at the society, which is why they keep it vague.

The episcopal consecrations were schismatic acts, but the group was never condemned as schismatic. Why?

Well, lots of reasons. And remember I'm with you in disagreeing with the consecrations, and I am not an SSPX attendee either.

This is just the way I see it.

But your point is a good one; perhaps we would know more if we knew the contents of the final, not agreed to, letter between the parties.

Anonymous said...


The letter I was quoting was not from the CDF but from Pope Benedict directly. The letter of March 10, 2009 was from the pope to the bishops explaining the remissions of the excommunications. You read the whole thing here http://www.vatican.va/holy_father/benedict_xvi/letters/2009/documents/hf_ben-xvi_let_20090310_remissione-scomunica_en.html

I hope you agree that when the Pope says that a matter is doctrinal we have to accept his judgment even if he does not give all the reasons for his judgment.
It is a pity that there has not been reconciliation -- it is something Pope Benedict very much wanted to see. A Catholic must accept his judgment about the nature of the differences with SSPX. If the pope says they are doctrinal then they are doctrinal.

Bernie Gui

thetimman said...

Bernie, it was good to reread this. I had forgotten what a beautiful plea for reconciliation it was. Not merely with the Society, but also, and maybe more so, with the "progressive" enemies of Pope Benedict within the college and the episcopacy. How he pleads with them to forgive, and to respect Peter who unlooses.

Poignant indeed. Read the plea to the bishops to cut him and the society a break. That plea, ignored, still resonates.

Wow, I'm still reeling. Thinking it over, it seems everything you need to know about his abdication and the current disaster is contained therein.

OK, it is doctrinall-- "essentially doctrinal in nature and concern primarily the acceptance of the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar magisterium of the Popes."

If these are the doctrinal issues, then where is the real disagreement? If the Council itself disclaimed definitions and was merely pastoral, how is quibbling with any of its language schism or heresy? Seems impossible to me. And I maintain that whether it is a progressive or a trad who says it.

Fighting over the frame doesn't mean there is any picture about which to fight as well.


thetimman said...

I apologize for the confusion, too. You clearly wrote about Pope Benedict's letter, but I was thinking of the more recent CDF-- SSPX correspondence. Sorry!

Anonymous said...


Ah, but there is picture to “fight about.” That is one of the things Pope Benedict was getting at in his letter. He obviously does not think that Vatican II was merely pastoral otherwise he would not say that the differences are doctrinal and involve the acceptance of Vatican II and the post-conciliar magisterium of the popes.”

Simply because the Vatican II did not issue dogmatic definitions of doctrine – things like the definitions of the early Councils or the decrees of the Council of Trent -- does not mean that Vatican II was merely pastoral. Both progressives and trads are wrong about this. Vatican II did not claim to be only pastoral. Besides, the pastoral is based on doctrine. There are doctrines of the church-- while not the subject of a dogmatic definition– that demand the assent of the faithful. A Catholic cannot reject Vatican II’s teaching that episcopal consecration is sacramental. He cannot reject the Council’s teaching about episcopal collegiality or its teaching on religious freedom. He can wonder how these things are continuous with what the Church has taught previously. He can hope that there maybe be a better formulation of these doctrines but he is not free as a Catholic to reject the doctrinal teachings of an Ecumenical Council because they have not been elevated to the high status of defined dogmatic definitions.

For more on the doctrinal nature of Vatican II you can read the article in OR by Fr. Fernando Ocariz, professor at Holy Cross in Rome


What are some of the doctrinal problems between SSPX and Rome? Well, some of them have to do with what Vatican II taught about religious freedom and episcopal collegiality. Subsequent papal magisterium re-affirmed them (thus Pope Benedict’s point about the “post-conciliar magisterium of the popes) These are teachings of Vatican II that SSPX has said it cannot accept and regards as erroneous. They believe that they negate previous church teaching and amount to a rupture with tradition. Pope Benedict teaches, for example, that the Council’s doctrine on religious freedom is continuity the Church’s tradition (see his Christmas address to the Roman Curia, 2005). Hopefully someday these doctrinally differences can be overcome. Pope Benedict worked hard to overcome them.

Bernie Gui

thetimman said...

And here, Bernie, is where you build a bridge too far. Name the authoritative teaching on anything from Vatican II. Not a general platitude that you and I can interpret as we like.

Name a teaching on doctrine that is not a mere restatement of existing doctrine, one that Catholics must follow.

Here's where I hold my breath.