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 SSPX's tribunals for the declaration of marriage annulments 
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Joined: Fri May 18, 2007 2:26 am
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New post SSPX's tribunals for the declaration of marriage annulments
Dear All, hail Mary!

I'm new here, and in all fairness I must say that I'm not currently a sedevacantist, though I've been struggling with sedevacantist arguments for the past couple of months, and I'm not sure what the outcome will be. Also, please bear in mind that English is not my mother tongue.

That said, here is my first question, directed to Mr. John Lane: you argue that one may assist at Mass celebrated by a SSPX priest, which means they are not formally schismatic. But why exactly isn't the SSPX in schism in reason of those tribunals for the declaration of marriage annulments that they most regrettably set up? Would you please develop a bit your argument about how this was not enough to render them schismatic, no matter how absurd the institution of those tribunals may be?

Thanks in advance.


Wed May 30, 2007 2:58 am
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New post Re: SSPX's tribunals for the declaration of marriage annulme
Zaqueu wrote:
Dear All, hail Mary!


Welcome.

Zaqueu wrote:
you argue that one may assist at Mass celebrated by a SSPX priest, which means they are not formally schismatic.


Actually, that doesn’t follow. In my article examining the question of assistance at the Masses of priests who name a non-pope in the Canon, I dealt with this question explicitly. Here is the text, for ease of consideration:

Question Three, a) May Catholics ever assist at the Masses of non-Catholics?

The notion that the insertion of John Paul II’s name in the Canon makes the celebrant a non-Catholic, or always indicates that he is a non-Catholic, has been considered already. The idea that adhering to John Paul II, or naming him as pope, is unorthodox, is groundless. The status of John Paul II could not possibly be a matter of faith. (That the notions that John Paul II is truly pope and has inflicted heresy on the Church lead to an heretical conclusion is granted. But as explained above, heresy involves a direct conflict with a matter of faith. It is not a matter of faith that John Paul II is not pope.) Likewise it is not necessarily an act of schism to adhere to a non-Catholic. It may merely be a mistake, and in the cases under consideration that is precisely what it is.

But even granting, for the sake of the argument, that such priests were all non-Catholics by virtue of remaining in communion with John Paul II, it remains for our opponents to demonstrate that the Masses of such priests would always be forbidden to the faithful. For, surprising as it may seem, in cases of necessity Holy Church does in fact permit her children to assist at Mass with, and receive sacraments from, undeclared heretics and schismatics. The origin of this indulgence was in the aftermath of the Great Western Schism, during which numerous problems arose for the simple faithful, who could not be sure who were their true pastors, and who were those that were in rebellion against the authentic Roman Pontiff. Pope Martin V settled such difficulties for the future with his ground-breaking law, Ad evitanda scandala.

Ad evitanda scandala reads as follows, “To avoid scandals and many dangers and relieve timorous consciences by the tenor of these presents we mercifully grant to all Christ's faithful that henceforth no one shall be bound to abstain from communion with anyone in the administration or reception of the sacraments or in any other religious or non-religious acts whatsoever, nor to avoid anyone nor to observe any ecclesiastical interdict, on pretext of any ecclesiastical sentence or censure globally promulgated whether by the law or by an individual; unless the sentence or censure in question has been specifically and expressly published or denounced by the judge on or against a definite person, college, university, church, community or place. Notwithstanding any apostolic or other constitutions to the contrary, save the case of someone of whom it shall be known so notoriously that he has incurred the sentence passed by the canon for laying sacrilegious hands upon a cleric that the fact cannot be concealed by any tergiversation nor excused by any legal defence. For we will abstinence from communion with such a one, in accordance with the canonical sanctions, even though he be not denounced. [22]

Cardinal de Lugo [23] explains that this certainly applies to undeclared heretics, as follows, “The second chief doubt is whether we may communicate with an undeclared heretic only in civil and human affairs or even in sacred and spiritual things. It is certain that we cannot communicate with heretics in the rites proper to a heretical sect, because this would be contrary to the precept of confessing the faith and would contain an implicit profession of error. But the question relates to sacred matters containing no error, e.g. whether it is lawful to hear Mass with a heretic, or to celebrate in his presence, or to be present while he celebrates in the Catholic rite, etc.

“But the opposite view [i.e. that such communication is permitted] is general [communis] and true, unless it should be illicit for some other reason on account of scandal or implicit denial of the faith, or because charity obliges one to impede the sin of the heretical minister administering unworthily where necessity does not urge. This is the teaching of Navarro and Sanchez, Suarez, Hurtado and is what I have said in speaking of the sacrament of penance and of matrimony and the other sacraments. It is also certain by virtue of the said litterae extravagantes [i.e. Ad evitanda scandala] in which communication with excommunicati tolerati is conceded to the faithful in the reception and administration of the sacraments.

“So as these heretics are not declared excommunicates or notoriously guilty of striking a cleric, there is no reason why we should be prevented from receiving the sacraments from them because of their excommunication, although on other grounds this may often be illicit unless necessity excuse as I have explained in the said places.”

It must be emphasised that scandal and danger of perversion are grave matters, and divine law [24] dictates that both are to be assiduously avoided. But if they are absent, then we may assist even at the Mass of an undeclared heretic, as Cardinal de Lugo explains.

From: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/una_cum.html

Zaqueu wrote:
But why exactly isn't the SSPX in schism in reason of those tribunals for the declaration of marriage annulments that they most regrettably set up? Would you please develop a bit your argument about how this was not enough to render them schismatic, no matter how absurd the institution of those tribunals may be?


Please keep in mind the nature of this question, which is both concrete (i.e. it relates to real men whose membership in the Church you are questioning) and profound. It is profound in a manner that often seems to escape the notice of those who discuss it. We need to keep remorselessly in view that Our Lord Jesus Christ has purchased on the Cross a people acceptable to Himself; acceptable because cleansed by that same infinite Sacrifice; precious therefore with an infinite price; of whom He said “I will not now call you servants: for the servant knoweth not what his lord doth. But I have called you friends…” (John 15:15). To form the judgement that another has disappeared into schism or heresy is therefore to decide that this person is no longer incorporated in His Mystical Body, is no longer a friend of Christ. This necessarily implies a sin of enormous proportions. That is what we are discussing.

Now, is this sin present in the acts under examination? Has it occurred? The onus of proof is on those who would make the charge. Nobody has provided any such case, so we are entitled to ignore the supposed problem. But in the interests of clarity, let’s take a look at the relevant principles.

St. Thomas asks the question in the Summa, “Whether schism is a special sin?” (II-II, Q. 39, art. 1) in the course of which he lays down the nature of schism and in his usual manner, deals with some specific objections. Objection 2 is as follows:

“Further, a man is apparently a schismatic if he disobeys the Church. But every sin makes a man disobey the commandments of the Church, because sin, according to Ambrose (De Parad. viii) ‘is disobedience against the heavenly commandments.’ Therefore every sin is a schism.” And the Reply: “The essence of schism consists in rebelliously disobeying the commandments: and I say ‘rebelliously,’ since a schismatic both obstinately scorns the commandments of the Church, and refuses to submit to her judgment. But every sinner does not do this, wherefore not every sin is a schism.”

Schism, therefore, like any act, has a species. That is, a specific difference with the other members of its genus. What is that specific difference that makes schism what it is? St. Thomas explains:

“I answer that, As Isidore says (Etym. viii, 3), schism takes its name ‘from being a scission of minds,’ and scission is opposed to unity. Wherefore the sin of schism is one that is directly and essentially opposed to unity. For in the moral, as in the physical order, the species is not constituted by that which is accidental. Now, in the moral order, the essential is that which is intended, and that which results beside the intention, is, as it were, accidental. Hence the sin of schism is, properly speaking, a special sin, for the reason that the schismatic intends to sever himself from that unity which is the effect of charity: because charity unites not only one person to another with the bond of spiritual love, but also the whole Church in unity of spirit.

“Accordingly schismatics properly so called are those who, wilfully and intentionally separate themselves from the unity of the Church; for this is the chief unity, and the particular unity of several individuals among themselves is subordinate to the unity of the Church, even as the mutual adaptation of each member of a natural body is subordinate to the unity of the whole body. Now the unity of the Church consists in two things; namely, in the mutual connection or communion of the members of the Church, and again in the subordination of all the members of the Church to the one head, according to Col. 2:18,19: ‘Puffed up by the sense of his flesh, and not holding the Head, from which the whole body, by joints and bands, being supplied with nourishment and compacted, groweth unto the increase of God.’ Now this Head is Christ Himself, Whose viceregent in the Church is the Sovereign Pontiff. Wherefore schismatics are those who refuse to submit to the Sovereign Pontiff, and to hold communion with those members of the Church who acknowledge his supremacy.”

Why does the SSPX have its own marriage tribunal? Because the ones run by the Conciliar Church cannot be trusted to defend marriage and render justice. Is this true? Yes. Does this imply a doctrinal error on the part of the SSPX in relation to the indefectibility of the Church? Yes. Does it constitute schism? How could it? We know the reason that they run their marriage tribunal. It is not because they “wilfully and intentionally separate themselves from the unity of the Church.” It is because the marriage tribunals of the Conciliar Church are unreliable and scandalous. Could this be a mere excuse for schism? No, for the fact is true – the marriage tribunals of the Conciliar Church are unreliable and scandalous.

You might also review what Fr. Cekada had to say here: http://strobertbellarmine.net/forums/vi ... =2377#2377

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Wed May 30, 2007 11:00 pm
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New post Two distinctions: are they off-base (as it seems) and why?
Dear Mr. Lane,

Thank you for correcting that non sequitur between schism and attendance at Mass.

I'm also satisfied by your explanations on why those tribunals are not a sufficient cause to accuse the SSPX of schism, contrary to what I had thought before.

I've been through the sspx-schism website once again, which was one of the sources of my doubts regarding this matter, and I am appalled at how easily the main authors of that site throw around the accusation of schism, without providing us with a single authority that might support such a grave accusation with more than their own reasoning, which is only what they offer to base their whole argument.

This is unacceptable, of course, I see that now, and I am doubly appalled at how I hadn't seen that before! Truly, it is an ingrained vice in traditionalist circles to pay attention and easily trust in "ad-libbed" argumentation that completely neglects to look for any support in solid theologians and canonists.

I'm left with two little doubts, still, and I'd be glad if you could solve them, which might seem easy for you but not quite for me....

First, is it correct to distinguish between a schismatic act and a schismatic person or institution, in the sense that the president of the Ecclesia Dei Comission now says that the SSPX is not schismatic per se, even though the 1988 consecrations were (according to him) a schismatic act? In that sense, might we say that those tribunals are schismatic in themselves even though the SSPX is not in schism because of them? I ask that because I've seen that expression "schismatic tribunals" escape from the pen of one who, on the other hand, does not seem to consider the said tribunals sufficient grounds for calling the SSPX schismatic. Is he simply incoherent?

Second, one of the authors in the above-mentioned site, a Prof. Martin, presents the following objection to the need of willful separation in order for a schism to take place, supposedly based on a distinction made by the D.T.C. between direct and indirect schism. Is this all made-up mumbo-jumbo, or is there some truth there, though probably misapplied? Here is the pertinent quote:

Quote:
For a better understanding of the implications of the act of creating tribunals with the powers of the Roman Rota, we should recall here some notions that can be seen with greater depth in the article "Schisme", in the Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique. From the theological point of view schism is a sin against charity. Schism can be a sin against charity directly, by hatred, or indirectly, by sinning against the effects of charity. One of the effects of charity is peace (or unity) and one can sin against unity by thoughts (discord), words (dispute) or actions (war, revolution or schism).

Ecclesiastical unity (against which the schismatic act is directed) is a unity in the order of relation. This relation is seen under a double aspect:
1) relation of connection among the members: that is the spiritual communion of the members among themselves.
2) relation of the members with the leader: this relation carries out ecclesiastical unity when the leader gives to each one what is proper to him and when the members receive from the leader the regulation of their activities.

If ecclesiastical unity has this double aspect, breaks in unity can be of two ways:
1) breaking the connection among the members: being denied to be member,
2) breaking the connection of the members with the leader: refusing to recognize the legitimate authority of the leader.

At the same time, each one of these breaks can be double:
A) When the root of the break is the will: it is a matter of pure schism, where, in perfect orthodoxy and warning, there is refusal of being submitted to the unity of the Church and of its leader.
B) When the root of the break is the intelligence: it is a matter of mixed schism, where some heresy exists mixed with the break of unity.

Pure schism, at the same time, can be constituted in a direct refusal of submission, when the will is directed to that refusal as its explicitly and immediate desired objective. Or it can be constituted in an indirect refusal, when the will is directed toward something that, thus desired, implies break of communion.

Here, the autonomous creation of tribunals to judge marriage cases by the Society of St. Pius X, with the powers of the Roman Rota, constitutes an act contrary to the effects of charity: it goes against the connection of the members with the visible leader of the Church. (This is made worse by the oath required, on the part of those who seek out the tribunals of the SSPX, of never seeking out a tribunal of the Pope [translator’s note])

It is an act that goes against ecclesiastical unity, breaking it, and therefore it can be considered (at least in principle) as an act of indirect pure schism. The argument that it is not an explicit desire of separation from the Church, is not pertinent in this case, to the degree which, although not directly desired, that separation is the logical consequence of the acts of appropriation of Papal power in the formation of a parallel tribunal.

Source: http://www.sspx-schism.com/Agozzini.htm

Thank you again, kind Sir, for your remarkable patience and thoroughness.


Thu May 31, 2007 2:04 am
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New post Re: Two distinctions: are they off-base (as it seems) and wh
Zaqueu wrote:
I'm also satisfied by your explanations on why those tribunals are not a sufficient cause to accuse the SSPX of schism, contrary to what I had thought before.


I admire your open-mindedness and candour, and I thank you for your very great (and rare) courtesy. I should perhaps have pointed you to JS Daly’s article in the latest edition of The Four Marks entitled, “Is the SSPX in Schism?” He does not advert to this particular question (marriage tribunals) but he does prove that there can be no crime of schism committed by one who refuses subjection to a false claimant to the See of Rome. Schism, like any crime, is an objective matter. A man who shoots his pet dog in the dark, thinking that the poor hound is his neighbour, is guilty of the sin of murder but not of the crime of murder. The police would show no interest in the case.

But you are not a sedevacantist, so let’s discuss this on the hypothesis that Benedict is pope.

Zaqueu wrote:
I've been through the sspx-schism website once again, which was one of the sources of my doubts regarding this matter,


Interesting. I would never normally have looked at the link you provide, because of the generally impoverished level of the “facts” and arguments presented on that site in general, so I am grateful for you pointing it out. The article in question is well written, on the whole (although I agree it could use more authoritative citations).

This first conclusion of the writer I agree with:
sspx-schism wrote:
The avalanche of requests for annulments that has been verified in recent years is truly a reflection of the real doctrinal state of abandonment in which the faithful are found. The laxity of the tribunals is thus only a secondary aspect of the true spiritual devastation that today desolates the Church.
Those conscientious Catholics, who are well aware of the crisis in the Church, of the protestantization of the Mass, of the general apostasy and who would be the only ones who would use a tribunal of the Society of St. Pius X, are the ones who, in truth, are the least in need of such tribunals: it suffices that the SSPX advise them whether or not they should begin a process of matrimonial nullity.



Zaqueu wrote:
First, is it correct to distinguish between a schismatic act and a schismatic person or institution, in the sense that the president of the Ecclesia Dei Comission now says that the SSPX is not schismatic per se, even though the 1988 consecrations were (according to him) a schismatic act? In that sense, might we say that those tribunals are schismatic in themselves even though the SSPX is not in schism because of them?


Well, I wouldn’t agree with that terminology, but I might agree with the notion he seems to be trying to express. A doctrine is called “heretical” even if the man who utters it is adjudged to be innocent of any heretical animus. But when this notion is expressed using the hylomorphic terminology (i.e. matter & form), one can get into all manner of difficulties. On this, see the second part of JS Daly’s article here: http://www.strobertbellarmine.net/pertinacity.html

So, I would agree that a given act may be considered “materially schismatic” – but I would hesitate to adopt the use of “material schismatic” to describe a man who committed such an act unintentionally. I have asked in another connection, is a man who falls off a cliff a “material suicide”? Obviously not.

In any case what we are interested in is the question, is there schism in this act? If so, we can omit consideration of terminological precisions.

To be fair, there is more to this question than a mere mistake. There is a deliberate decision to erect a usurping tribunal over against that which “Rome” administers. In usual circumstances (i.e. when Rome isn’t promulgating and ruthlessly imposing a whole new religion on the faithful) I think that all observers would regard such an act as schismatic. But these are not usual circumstances. These are Alice-in-Wonderland circumstances. The weirdness of the present situation has never before been approached in the history of the Church. (This is true even if one holds, as I do, that the See of Rome is vacant.)

As such, we can see that the intent of the SSPX in arranging its tribunal is to serve the faithful in accord with the true law of God and of the Church, even if we judge that the particular choice of means is wrong. More on this below.

Here is another interesting quote from this article:
sspx-schism wrote:
The lack of proportion in the analogy made by the SSPX is flagrant: if the faithful are in state of need in matrimonial matters, and therefore it is legitimate to create tribunals with the powers of the Roman Rota, then, as it is undoubtedly certain that the faithful are in state of need in matter of doctrine, the SSPX should create a Commission for the Doctrine of the Faith, with the powers of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, censuring the official documents of the Church, excommunicating, and promulgating other documents. And the same argument would apply for all the instruments of government of the Church.


I think this reasoning is sound. It is pertinent to note that the SSPX does in fact run parallel with the official government of the Conciliar Church – there is no permission from the local “bishops” to set up SSPX chapels; there is no approval of the priests who serve those chapels; there is no canonical supervision of the organisation itself by “Rome.” In short, the SSPX is outside of the practical jurisdiction of the Conciliar Church. For this reason, if we are to consider the marriage tribunal to be a schismatic exercise, wouldn’t we consider the entire apostolate schismatic? Is there any real difference, other than pure formality?

Zaqueu wrote:
Second, one of the authors in the above-mentioned site, a Prof. Martin, presents the following objection to the need of willful separation in order for a schism to take place, supposedly based on a distinction made by the D.T.C. between direct and indirect schism. Is this all made-up mumbo-jumbo, or is there some truth there, though probably misapplied?


No, I think it is completely sound doctrine, but it must be understood aright. These are subtle matters.

Zaqueu wrote:
Here is the pertinent quote:

Quote:
For a better understanding of the implications of the act of creating tribunals with the powers of the Roman Rota, we should recall here some notions that can be seen with greater depth in the article "Schisme", in the Dictionnaire de Théologie Catholique. From the theological point of view schism is a sin against charity. Schism can be a sin against charity directly, by hatred, or indirectly, by sinning against the effects of charity. One of the effects of charity is peace (or unity) and one can sin against unity by thoughts (discord), words (dispute) or actions (war, revolution or schism).


It isn’t clear whether this is a quote from the DTC or a paraphrase (but in any case it is a translation), so I am hesitant to criticise it – but my understanding is that charity is unity, and an effect is peace. This writer equates peace and unity, when I think they are distinct. There is a twofold visible unity in the Church – that of faith and that of charity. Both are in themselves “unity.” Unity of faith means that all the faithful profess the same doctrine; unity of charity that they all remain joined by the love of God and of each other for His sake. These two bonds of unity are themselves the unity they describe. They are not effects of unity but that very unity itself, considered in its essence. Peace is an effect which follows from the unity of minds and hearts in faith and charity. Consider the prayer before Communion in which we ask God to consider the faith of the Church and to grant her “unity and peace.” This is not of any moment in this context I think, but I mention it for the sake of clarity of doctrine.

Note how the remainder of this explanation reflects the treatment of St. Thomas I quoted earlier.

Quote:
Ecclesiastical unity (against which the schismatic act is directed) is a unity in the order of relation. This relation is seen under a double aspect:
1) relation of connection among the members: that is the spiritual communion of the members among themselves.
2) relation of the members with the leader: this relation carries out ecclesiastical unity when the leader gives to each one what is proper to him and when the members receive from the leader the regulation of their activities.

If ecclesiastical unity has this double aspect, breaks in unity can be of two ways:
1) breaking the connection among the members: being denied to be member,
2) breaking the connection of the members with the leader: refusing to recognize the legitimate authority of the leader.

At the same time, each one of these breaks can be double:
A) When the root of the break is the will: it is a matter of pure schism, where, in perfect orthodoxy and warning, there is refusal of being submitted to the unity of the Church and of its leader.
B) When the root of the break is the intelligence: it is a matter of mixed schism, where some heresy exists mixed with the break of unity.

Pure schism, at the same time, can be constituted in a direct refusal of submission, when the will is directed to that refusal as its explicitly and immediate desired objective. Or it can be constituted in an indirect refusal, when the will is directed toward something that, thus desired, implies break of communion.


Now, I presume this is the end of the DTC material. It seems to me unobjectionable and in fact admirably clear (as one would of course expect if that is its source!). The only comment I have is that the distinction “direct” vs “indirect” must be properly comprehended. By an indirect refusal of subjection (or communion) is usually meant something such as the consecration of bishops without papal mandate (assuming of course that communication with the pope is not seriously hindered – in which case the act might be considered wrong but not evidently schismatic). The point is that the act must be such as to constitute clear proof that the culprit intends to sever himself from the unity of the Church. In that sense all schismatic acts are “direct” acts of schism. Hence, such acts must be directly incompatible with ecclesiastical unity, even though we may use the term “indirect” to describe them.

Quote:
Here, the autonomous creation of tribunals to judge marriage cases by the Society of St. Pius X, with the powers of the Roman Rota, constitutes an act contrary to the effects of charity: it goes against the connection of the members with the visible leader of the Church. (This is made worse by the oath required, on the part of those who seek out the tribunals of the SSPX, of never seeking out a tribunal of the Pope [translator’s note])

It is an act that goes against ecclesiastical unity, breaking it, and therefore it can be considered (at least in principle) as an act of indirect pure schism. The argument that it is not an explicit desire of separation from the Church, is not pertinent in this case, to the degree which, although not directly desired, that separation is the logical consequence of the acts of appropriation of Papal power in the formation of a parallel tribunal.


I don’t think this follows because the circumstances are too different for the usual presumption to apply. Consider closely the point being argued here: “although not directly desired, that separation is the logical consequence of the acts of appropriation of Papal power in the formation of a parallel tribunal.” The logical consequence of the acts of appropriation of Papal power in the formation of a parallel tribunal, in circumstances where Rome is Catholic and sane, I concede. The logical consequence of the acts of appropriation of Papal power in the formation of a parallel tribunal, in circumstances in which Rome has lost the Faith and has imposed an entirely new religion on the faithful, even if the man claiming to be pope in such circumstances is somehow really pope, I deny. The reason for this is that the directness of the opposition between the act and the unity of the Church is not verified, in these circumstances.

Zaqueu wrote:
Thank you again, kind Sir, for your remarkable patience and thoroughness.


And thank you for your courtesy. It really is appreciated.

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Thu May 31, 2007 1:14 pm
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Some more to consider on this question. What is it that ruins the directness of the actions of the SSPX in relation to ecclesiastical unity? Surely, it is the actions of the "pope." He separates himself from the whole Church by his actions, whether one considers that he does so completely or only partially. Below are a couple of quotes provided by da Silveira on the hypothesis of a "schismatic pope."

Francisco Suarez, S.J. wrote:
Schism may come about not only by reason of heresy, but also without it, as takes place when someone, conserving the faith, does not wish to maintain the unity of the Church in his actions and his manner of practicing our religion. And this may come about in two ways. In the first way, separating oneself from the head of the Church, as one reads in the chapter “Non vos”, 23, question 5, where the Gloss says that schism consists in not having the Roman Pontiff as one’s head - not denying that the Roman Pontiff is the head of the church, for this would be schism united to heresy, but either rashly denying some Pontiff in particular, or behaving oneself in relation to him as if he were not the head: for example, if someone tried to convoke a General Council without his authorization, or elect an anti-pope. This is the most common mode of schism.
There could be schism of a second mode if someone separated himself from the body of the Church not wishing to communicate with it in the participation of the Sacraments. Saint Epiphanius narrates an example of this (“Haeres.”, 68), in respect to the sect of Melecius, who dissenting with his Patriarch, Peter the Alexandrine, separated himself from him in all the sacrifices, and was accused of schism, there not existing between the two any divergence in matters of faith, as Epiphanius attests. And in this second mode the Pope could be schismatic, in case he did not want to have due union and coordination with the whole body of the Church as would be the case if he tried to excommunicate the whole Church, or if he wanted to subvert all the ecclesiastical ceremonies founded on apostolic tradition, as we observed by Cajetan (ad II-II, q. 39) and, with greater amplitude, Torquemada (1. 4, c. 11).


Cardinal John de Torquemada wrote:
1 - (...) by disobedience, the Pope can separate himself from Christ, who is the principal head of the Church and in relation to whom the unity of the Church is primarily constituted. He can do this by disobeying the law of Christ19 or by ordering something which is contrary to natural or divine law. In this way, he would separate himself from the body of the Church, while it is subject to Christ by obedience. Thus, the Pope would be able, without doubt, to fall into schism.
2 - The Pope can separate himself without any reasonable cause, just for pure self-will, from the body of the Church and the college of priests. He will do this if he does not observe that which the Church Universal observes on the basis of the Tradition of the Apostles according to the chapter Ecclesiasticarum, di. 11, or if he did not observe that which was universally ordained by the Universal councils or by the authority of the Apostolic See above all in relation to Divine Worship. For example, not wishing to observe personally something from the universal customs of the Church, or the universal rite of the ecclesiastical cult. This would take place in case he did not wish to celebrate with the sacred vestments, or in consecrated places, or with candles, or if he did not wish to make “The Sign of the Cross” like the other priests make it, or other similar things which have been decreed in a general way for perpetual utility, according to the canons Quae ad perpetuam, Violatores, Sunt Quidam and Contra Statuta (25, q. 1). Departing in such a way, and with pertinacity, from the universal observance of the Church, the Pope would be able to fall into schism. The consequence is good; and the antecedent is not doubtful, for the Pope, just as he could fall into heresy, could also disobey and pertinaciously cease to observe that which was established for the common order in the Church. For this reason, Innocent says (c. “De Consue.”) that one ought to obey the Pope in everything as long as he does not turn against the universal order of the Church, for in such a case the Pope must not be followed unless there is reasonable cause for this.
3 - Let us suppose that more than one person considers himself Pope, and that one of them be the true Pope, but considered by some to be probably dubious. And let us suppose that this true Pope comported himself with such negligence and obstinacy in the pursuit of unity in the Church, that he did not wish to do everything he could for the re-establishment of unity. In this hypothesis the Pope would be considered as a fomentor of schism, according to the way many have argued, even in our days, in connection with Benedict XIII and Gregory XII.

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Thu May 31, 2007 11:19 pm
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