Much has happened since I first published my original article, “Pope Francis and Schism,” in The Catholic Thing on October 8, 2019. What has taken place in the intervening years has confirmed many of the points I made then. Here, at Robert Royal’s request, I would like to revisit and expand upon several of them.
First, Pope Francis’ dislike for and criticisms of the Catholic Church in the United States have intensified. As I noted in the earlier column, the American Catholic Church is the foremost critic of Francis’ often theologically ambiguous statements. Over the past four years, as Francis’ ambiguities have proliferated, often given in mid-flight and off-the-cuff, so has criticism of his statements and ecclesial policies mounted.
This ever-growing critical response, from multiple outlets and spokespersons, comes not so much from the American clergy, but from the American Catholic laity. In no other country is there such an educated laity, men and women who are faithful to the Church, as in the United States. Francis has found it impossible to respond to this theological and philosophical challenge from American lay Catholics – other than by calling them rigid and backward-looking.
But the American Catholic laity have not been, are not now, and will not in the future be bullied into silence. Such verbal ridicule is merely a sign that this pontificate is not intellectually prepared to engage the issues, and so has already lost the scholarly battle.
Continue reading at The Catholic Thing