Flirting with schism: The right-wing effort to delegitimize Pope Francis

The sex-abuse crisis is now reacting explosively with another crisis: the growing rifts within the Catholic Church in the United States. There is, first, the not entirely new rift between different kinds of Catholic culture.

Then there is the rift between the current pope and many American bishops, which is more recent.

Finally, there is a new rift between Pope Francis and American Catholics; even those who love him can’t make out what his short-term strategy for dealing with the abuse crisis is—as opposed to the long-term fight against clericalism outlined in his “Letter to the people of God” of August 20.

Last week, in his article for the National Catholic Reporter , Michael Sean Winters had the courage to use the s-word: schism. A growing number of conservative Catholics no longer accept the pope’s legitimacy.

These are frightening times. Even if schism doesn’t occur, it’s bizarre to be living in a time when this term is thrown around so often.


Sounds alarmist to me.


incredibly alarmist. we must expect people fall away due to scandals. It happened here in Aus, and in other countries initially, It will happen in USA

but this will be recovered.

Way overboard. The camps are reversed now but I remember news trying to float around schism rumors between the American church and the Vatican back in the 80s between liberal/heterodox Catholics and bishops with John Paul II.

I appreciate hearing the article’s perspective. I have not kept up with the scandal on a microscopic level as the discussion in this forum reflects is done by some and that is good, but at times, i wonder if some are rushing to judgement as well.

I’ve heard some say, most of the scandal happened before this pontificate of Pope Francis.

So, there is no harm for counter-arguments with seemingly, a number of articles being critical.

If anyone has been flirting with schism, for years, it’s the national Catholic reporter. I consider the article’s premise to be absurd.


The National Catholic Reporter itself is in schism. It is not like the NY Times, which is secular, and identifies as such. Nor is it like a Baptist publication, which is Evangelical, and claims as much.

Those other publications may disagree with the Church on some things, and agree on others, but at least are honest where they themselves stand.


One of the articles is from La Croix, not National Catholic Reporter.

Eh, why are we discussing the NCReporter?

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Frankly, it seems to me that it’s normally the “right wing” American faction that’s interested in schism for one reason or another. From some outlets, there seems to be almost giddiness at the perceived downfall of the Holy Father. (The Remnant, One Peter Five, Rorate Caeli, even NCRegister and EWTN to a degree.). And calling for his resignation? What church have these people belonged to?


One of the articles? There’s only one cited in the original post. ??

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Because you posted a little no to it as one of your sources. Just as when people refer to The Church Militant ( which I also don’t like) as a source and it is disputed.

Huh? I don’t understand your comment or your claim that I referenced the Reporter. Are you referring to LaCroix’s reference to NCR? If so, that’s why your dismissing the claim out of hand? :face_with_raised_eyebrow:

Last week, in his article for the National Catholic Reporter , Michael Sean Winters had the courage to use the s-word: schism. A growing number of conservative Catholics no longer accept the pope’s legitimacy.

In this case, the author makes a point of referencing the National Catholic Reporter and not in a manner that is in line with his, Massimo Faggioli’s, perspective.

I thought I had missed something the way people were talking. Sorry. It’s early in the morning yet.

On a purely logical level, why does Francis get so much blame from conservative elements in the Church, when the scandal itself happened under Papal regimes that could be best described as conservative? It strikes me that you can’t really blame any element of the Church more than the other, and that complicity can be found throughout the Church.


It’s almost like some have been waiting for a reason to throw Francis completely under the bus…

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There are little schisms going on all over the place all day every day. Conservative AND liberal.

If people want to send themselves to Hell because they don’t like Pope Francis, that’s their prerogative.

I think most of the conservative Catholic leaders in USA don’t want to be the heads of a schismatic group anyway. What they really want is a conservative Pope legitimately running the legitimate church.

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Because of what gracepoole said. They’re just trying to play “gotcha” on Pope Francis. And honestly, very few people care. Those who would leave over Pope Francis will mostly just leave the entire Church. Maybe they’ll join the Episcopals, maybe they’ll join the Orthodox, maybe they’ll just “be spiritual” at home. They aren’t inerested in joining a schismatic pseudo-Catholic-Church.

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I don’t think the rightist Catholics are flirting with schism as much as simply denigrating the person of the Holy Father. They would love to see him resign.

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