I have heard a Priest call many parishes who purposely destroy the liturgy through innovation schismatics or psuedo-schismatic. Now I am wondering about the definition of schism.

A parish that tinkers with the liturgy knowingly and willingly - are they schismatics due to the fact that they knowingly and willingly ignore the Bishop of Rome and the Magisterium?

Jerome says,
“Heretics bring sentence upon themselves since they by their own choice withdraw from the Church, a withdrawal which, since they are aware of it, constitutes damnation. Between heresy and schism there is this difference: that heresy involves perverse doctrine, while schism separates one from the Church on account of disagreement with the bishop. Nevertheless, there is no schism which does not trump up a heresy to justify its departure from the Church” (Commentary on Titus 3:10–11 [A.D. 386]).

Thanks in advance!


From the Catechism:

2089 *Incredulity *is the neglect of revealed truth or the willful refusal to assent to it. "*Heresy *is the obstinate post-baptismal denial of some truth which must be believed with divine and catholic faith, or it is likewise an obstinate doubt concerning the same; *apostasy *is the total repudiation of the Christian faith; ***schism ***is the refusal of submission to the Roman Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him."11


They are not schismatic. They are being disobedient to the legitimate authority (assuming they know the regulations).



That being said… how do we define submission? If the Pope approve of a GIRM and puts it out and a parish blatantly ignores the liturgical norms coming from the Pope… then is this a lack of submission?

I have been a Mass where a goofy song was sung instead of the Epistle and it was still closed with “The word of the Lord”. In this same Mass the Gospel was read by not one but several lay people, children were called around the altar for the consecration, and on and on…

When is the Mass no longer the Mass? When is the liturgy so marred that it constitutes at least an informal schism? In short, how can this be “Catholic”?


Willingly disobeying the legitimate authority… is this not schism according to St. Jerome as well as the Catechism passages cited in this thread?


Even a schismatic liturgy is valid. It also doesn’t matter how marred it is as long as the words of consecration are there. The sins of the priest does not deny grace to the people. St. Catherine of Siena in her time writes in her Dialogue of even more egregious liturgical abuses without even the words of consecration (they would be ommitted or mangled so much along with the rest of the Mass that they were just gibberish) so that the people were adoring bread only. God did not hold this against the people. Likewise, those priests were not deemed to be schismatic–on the other hand, God said to reverence them for the office they hold as his annointed, but grieve for them for abusing their privilege so gravely.


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