04Apr Is the Church verging on schism? RTE Prime Time Programme

A link to the RTE Prime Time programme “Is the Church verging on schism?”

Gerry O’Hanlon sj made a contribution to the initial report section before the panel discussion.
https://www.rte.ie/player/ie/show/prime-time-30003251/10858801/?ap=1
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5 Responses

  1. Con Devree

    My thanks to this website for producing this excerpt from RTE, which I stopped viewing once I saw the composition of the panel.

    We don’t have a schism, but there are now a number of churches within the same Church, something akin to the time of the Arian heresy. The claim of a paradigm shift by Cardinals Cupich, Parolin and (it seems) Casper seem justified.

    Paradigm shifts as per Thomas Kuhn, generate a stage where an intellectual battle takes place between the followers of the new paradigm and the hold-outs of the old paradigm. The contributions from Fathers Twoomey and O’Hanlon indicated this. The new paradigm centres powerfully and will draw further on Amoris Laetitia. (AL)

    Paradigm shifts can of course have unexpected outcomes. Here I take 3 points made by Cardinal Cupich in his Oxford lecture on AL.

    He says “…conscience—the voice of God … could very well affirm the necessity of living at some distance from the Church’s understanding of the ideal …” The teaching of AL qualifies as such an ideal. Living at a distance from it can “nevertheless [call] a person ‘to new stages of growth and to new decisions which can enable the ideal to be more fully realized’” (AL 303).

    Faithful Catholics traditionally regarded obedience to the Pope in matters of doctrine as a “demand of the Gospel.” However, and secondly, the Cardinal says “conscience can do more than recognize that a given situation does not correspond objectively to the overall demands of the Gospel.” Conscience (in this guise of prudential judgement) “can also recognize with sincerity and honesty what for now is the most generous response which can be given to God ….”

    And thirdly Cardinal Cupich states that “families are a privileged place of God’s self-revelation and activity.” And families “are opportunities for the Church to discern with the aid of the Spirit how God is active in our time ….”

    Consequently, based on AL, those in Catholic families to whom AL does not apply pastorally, can adopt, in conscience (prudential judgement?) the teachings of a previous Pope on the issues dealt with in AL. To date the Pope hasn’t ‘rapped the knuckles’ of any Bishop for doing so.

    He conducts the paradigm shift watching the battle between at least three groups of bishops: those promoting varied interpretations of the Buenos Aires Guidelines, secondly the hold-outs” and thirdly, most German Bishops. All this within a framework of decentralisation. The inevitable confusion creates an environment and time-space wherein fracture is abided but schism avoided, while the “hold-outs” are overcome. And much more besides.

  2. Sean O'Conaill

    “Every time we see or hear or think the word “Church”, we need to check what is referred to, and to blow the whistle when it does not refer to the full community of the church.” Padraig McCarthy’s comment on ‘An Ageing Clergy’. https://www.associationofcatholicpriests.ie/2018/04/an-ageing-priesthood/#comment-93850

    So, given this stricture, what useful meaning does the term ‘church schism’ still have? Since Paul challenged Peter over the disputed need to become a Jew first in order to become a Christian, when has the church travelled in lockstep behind just one ‘Catechism’?

    PrimeTime had no problem recruiting Catholics to discuss ‘the church’ as though it was simply a clerical entity – and not a single one of those participants protested or pointed to the silliness of all that.

    And since PrimeTime’s prime concern is to prevent people changing channels by what the sporting world calls ‘fight promotion’, how can such an event be expected to be illuminating? What were the chances of Miriam O’Callaghan denying there was any possibility of a ‘split in the church’?

    Churchmen are complicit in continuous media distortion of what the church actually is. Has anyone ever seen a cleric protest vehemently against media identification of church with clergy? Vincent Twomey and Gerry O’Hanlon certainly know better – as do Michael Kelly and Tina Beatty, but they all played along dutifully.

    It may be said that they probably did not have precise forewarning of this PrimeTime segment’s ‘fight sensation’ framing, but surely all of that is predictable?

  3. Lloyd Allan MacPherson

    Society is in a schism. A far right, who vehemently supports continued fossil fuel exploration, an industry dominated by alpha-male industrialists, are campaigning non-stop against LGBTQ rights and the creation of safe spaces in our communities for these people. They are directing profits towards this campaign and working deep within the political spectrum. A far left, equally organized is using the same tactics to mobilize support.

    What they have created is nothing short of a distraction; it’s as if it were almost by design. What remains from these two groups is a growing “center” where political careerism is dropped in favor of ultramontanism, due in part to intelligence flowing from that direction.

    This center, if it were to come full circle in a 7 year “real-world” renewal, could easily absorb and unite these two groups. It has been written. Detractors or critics of this approach should find courage in this.

  4. Con Devree

    Sean O’Conaill’s reference to “fight promotion” and competition among the channels is worthy of note for those invited to participate in religious discourse in secular media.

    As Sean also suggests unity has always been a challenge in the history of the Church. Christ foresaw such and prayed for it 3 or 4 times during the Last Supper. Its foreseeable absence may have been one source of His Agony in Gethsemane.

    While it is a challenge, the quest for unity is a mandate from the Blessed Trinity.

    The CCC quotes Origen thus:
    “Where there are sins, there are also divisions, schisms, heresies, and disputes. Where there is virtue, however, there also are harmony and unity, from which arise the one heart and one soul of all believers.”

    Inevitability the Holy Mass plays a part in the quest for unity. As part of the quest for unity congregants are invited to pray a specific prayer for unity before the Agnus Dei – “Lord Jesus Christ, you said to your Apostles peace I leave you ….” The said peace grows from the development of virtue. The sign of peace when it occurs is itself a prayer for grace for the person offered the sign and a prayer for unity.

    In passing CCC 2089 quotes Canon 751 to distinguish between heresy, apostasy and schism.
    “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.”

  5. Joe O'Leary

    I hope it’s not true that Pope Francis is tiring of the fight and has been successfully checked by the culture war conservatives. His basic hermeneutical principle that God is merciful — his “nature is always to have mercy” as the Anglicans say; he is “the Merciful, the Compassionate” as the beginning of the Koran says — has powerful implications for many fields of Christian thought and practice, and one wonders about the motivation of those who are putting up an entrenched resistance to it. What kind of God do they think they are defending? Or it is really about God, and not rather about power or fixated identity?

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