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June 10th, 2016

Is This a Call for Schism?

You’ll probably remember that “Traddery and Trumpery” item we published on May 31st, on a furious row about an article in The Remnant (the leading American Catholic Trad paper) by one Ann Barnhardt. To recap briefly:  in Ethika Politika (a publication of which I’d never heard) John Médaille, a theology teacher and retired businessman, savaged Miss Barnhardt’s article and asserted that  Remnant editor Michael Matt was “trying to become the Donald Trump of Catholic traditionalism” for even carrying such a piece.

Mr Médaille’s article has now been reprinted by my favourite neo-Catholic (by which I mean Vatican II Conservative) magazine the New Oxford Review under the headline “The Remnant Crosses the Rubicon”. By so doing, the NOR is clearly expressing agreement with Mr Médaille’s  assertion that The Remnant, by carrying a piece suggesting that “those bishops remaining who still hold the Catholic faith” should depose and anathematise Pope Francis, is openly calling for a schism.

Schism, as I’ve said before, is never the answer to heresy. But is this a call for schism? I honestly don’t know. But if it is, couldn’t the charge also be levelled at St Athanasius? He went so far as actually to go around ordaining bishops in dioceses where the incumbent was an Arian heretic, which is  hardly less drastic than anything proposed in The Remnant. Athanasius, who considered he was  defending the Catholic faith as handed down,  was excommunicated by Pope Liberius, but everyone now considers Athanasius acted rightly.  As Cardinal Newman says: “St Athanasius, driven from his Church, makes all Christendom his home, from Trèves (Trier) to Ethiopia.” There can surely be little doubt that Athanasius was responding to a state of emergency within the Church. Are we in a similar state today? Who am I to judge?

I hope to write more about the New Oxford Review in my next post.







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