WSJ: Is Pope Francis Leading the Church to a Schism?

Pope Francis (Pixabay)


Certain “traditionalist” Roman Catholics are upset about an announcement from the pontiff yesterday:

July 17, 2021

On Friday, the Vatican announced a new order that would barely affect most practicing Catholics: there are now strict rules for when and where the traditional Latin Mass can be conducted. Among other new regulations, priests can no longer decide to celebrate the Latin Mass; they must instead ask permission from their bishops, who should make sure that there is an organic demand from the actual faithful and that the priest is not seeking to celebrate the Latin Mass because he sees the normal, vernacular version of it as invalid.

The response to this news among a certain group of Catholics was immediate outrage. “The lack of mercy shown here toward traditional Catholics, Benedict XVI, and the young laity and clergy drawn to the Latin Mass is stunning,” the Catholic journalist Raymond Arroyo said on Twitter. “This will create the division that Francis claims to cure through this ill advised and destructive new law.” Others warned that such a decision would drive away enthusiastic young Catholics, or talked about how the traditional Latin Mass had drawn them to Catholicism in the first place. Some vowed to continue to attend—or in the case of certain priests, conduct—the traditional mass. Others spoke openly of their belief that Francis was evil and wrong.

Yes, Pope Francis has upset some who call themselves traditionalists with this pronouncement.

Yet, while some Roman Catholics wrongly believe that the original Christians held “mass’ in Latin, that is simply not true.

Notice the following that is in my free online book, Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church:

Latin Mass and Liturgic Changes

Despite the view of some Roman ‘traditionalists,’ the original church liturgy was not in Latin nor did it resemble Roman Catholic mass. Notice three Roman Catholic reports:

In the third and fourth centuries A.D. … Latin began to replace Greek as the common language of the Roman world and soon became the language of the liturgy. Exactly how this change in the liturgy came about is uncertain. … Because Christians had not used Latin for worship prior to this, words had to be adapted or imported (often from Greek) to express Christian ideas, beginning the development of an ecclesiastical form of Latin. There is also evidence that the Roman Canon was influenced by prayers from the Eastern churches. (Tufano VM. When did we start celebrating Mass in Latin? US Catholic, June 18, 2010)

The word Mass (missa) first established itself as the general designation for the Eucharistic Sacrifice in the West after the time of Pope Gregory the Great (d. 604), … Mass goes back in … a custom that takes us at once into the third century (Pohle J. Sacrifice of the Mass. The Catholic Encyclopedia)

Roman Mass … and the established customs became “ritualized” over the centuries. … As early as the fourth century, fixed liturgical rites can be found in the Church. (The Traditional Latin Mass: A Brief History., accessed 09/22/20)

Some assert Latin Mass began to be used by the Roman Bishop Victor c. 190. But even if the early use of Latin in the late 2nd century is true (and using the common language of an area for church services makes sense), Latin still was not the original language of original church services—that was Aramaic/Hebrew. However, Greek quickly became used as the New Testament epistles—which were written in Greek—help demonstrate.

Not only were original church services not in Latin, according to The Catholic Encyclopedia, they were not called Mass until the 7th century. Furthermore, as many rituals in Latin Mass came from the 3rd and 4th centuries, those practices were not really a part of the regular original services.

Roman Catholic sources clearly teach that ritualized Latin Mass was a change from the original catholic liturgy. More changes occurred in the 13th through 15th centuries (Jedin H, ed. History of the Church, Volume 2. Crossroad, New York, 1993, p. 326).

The Eastern Orthodox, also, have freely admitted that their liturgy CHANGED. Notice this from one of their writers:

The liturgical practices of the church at Antioch did not stagnate. As does every early tradition of the church, the liturgy continued to expand in content and meaning. (Lucas J. Liturgical Pattern and Experience in First Century Antioch. By the Waters: Selected Works by Students of St. Tikhon’s Orthodox Theological Seminary, vol 7, Fall 2008, pp. 40-52)

The original church liturgy did not have much resemblance to Eastern Orthodox services, which begin and end with the “signing of the cross.” The teaching that the “liturgical practices of the church at Antioch did not stagnate” demonstrates that what ended up in Antioch changed—hence the Eastern Orthodox admit that what they now have is NOT the original catholic liturgy.

Some claim that they follow the “Divine Liturgy of St. James.” However, that was not original, nor did James come up with it as The Catholic Encyclopedia and the OrthodoxWiki also understand:

… the famous liturgy of St. James. That it was actually composed by St. James the Less, as first Bishop of Jerusalem, is not now believed by any one; (Fortescue A. Liturgy of Jerusalem. The Catholic Encyclopedia)

The general scholarly consensus is that this liturgy originated in Jerusalem during the late fourth or early fifth century. It quickly became the primary liturgy in Jerusalem and Antioch. Although it was later superseded in Jerusalem and Antioch by the Liturgy of St. Basil and the Liturgy of St. John Chrysostom, it had already spread to other areas of the Church. (Liturgy of St. James. OrthodoxWiki, accessed 06/04/21)

So, what the Eastern Orthodox now do was not original.

Unlike how Eastern Orthodox church service were conducted, there were no icons, incense, signing of the cross, or leavened bread as part of the original church services. Nor “chanting” sermons nor hymns sung to Mary. None of the known current Eastern Orthodox litanies (‘petitions’ recited by the clergy and responded to in a recurring formula by the people) were originally used by early Christians either.

The CCOG {Continuing Church of God} maintains it has continued the original catholic church practices when it comes to church services, or the liturgy.

So, no, Latin mass is not an original tradition of the catholic church–but a change in liturgy.

That being said, various ones think that Pope Francis has taken steps that may lead to a schism. The Wall Street Journal reported the following:

Is Pope Francis Leading the Church to a Schism?

July 16, 2021

The threat of schism is alarming for any religious community but especially for the Catholic Church, whose very name is derived from the ancient Greek word for “universal” and whose core identity is inextricably tied to its global unity under the pope. The Catechism of the Catholic Church, an official handbook of church teaching, defines schism specifically in terms of papal authority, as “the refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with the members of the Church subject to him.”

Critics of the process under way in Germany, which is officially called the Synodal Path, say that proponents of change there are flouting the pope’s authority by challenging teachings of which he is the chief custodian. But German progressives deny any intention to break with Rome and insist they are taking their cues from the pope himself, who has encouraged free discussion of sensitive topics that were taboo under his conservative predecessors. The synod originated as a response to a 2018 report commissioned by Germany’s bishops on the clerical sex-abuse crisis, which called for a more positive attitude to homosexuality and for rethinking priestly celibacy and the church’s power structure. Organizers expanded the agenda to address the role of women.

People on both sides agree that the pope is now trying to restrain the progressive movement in Germany, disappointing many who cheered him earlier in his reign.

So, there are liberal Roman Catholics thinking that Pope Francis is might cause a schism.

Pope Francis has been facing aspects of rebellion from the many who consider themselves ‘Conservative Catholics.’ Notice something from the past:

September 10, 2019:

Pope Francis says he is not afraid of a schism within the Catholic Church, even as he confronts criticism from conservative Catholics about his leadership.

“I pray that there will not be schisms,” the Pope said Tuesday, “but I am not afraid.”

The Pope’s remarks came in response to a question from a journalist at a press conference aboard the papal plane. Francis was returning to Rome from Africa, where he spent six days in Mozambique, Madagascar and Mauritius.

A schism is a formal break within the church, usually due to disputes over Catholic teaching.

“There have been many schisms in the Church,” Francis said, referring to the institution’s long history of religious disputes.

Francis basically has ignored protests as he pushes his interfaith and ecumenical agendas. (The idea of a schism will be addressed towards the end of this post.)

Here is something he tweeted in 2019

Here is more information about that  2020’global event’:

Pope Francis invites religious, political leaders to sign ‘Global Pact’ for ‘new humanism’

In a renewed and enthusiastic endorsement of globalism, Pope Francis has announced he is hosting an initiative for a “Global Pact” to create a “new humanism.”

The global event, set to take place at the Vatican on May 14, 2020, is themed Reinventing the Global Educational Alliance.

According to a Vatican statement issued on Thursday, Sept. 12, the Pope is inviting representatives of the main religions, international organizations and various humanitarian institutions, as well as key figures from the world of politics, economics and academia, and prominent athletes, scientists and sociologists to sign a “Global Pact on Education” so as to “hand on to younger generations a united and fraternal common home.”

“A global educational pact is needed to educate us in universal solidarity and a new humanism,” Francis said in a video message to launch the initiative. …

Referencing the “Document on Human Fraternity and World Peace for Living Together,” which he signed with the Grand Imam of Al-Azhar in Abu Dhabi last February, Francis explained that, in this new global village, “the ground must be cleared of discrimination and fraternity must be allowed to flourish.”

Readers will recall that the Abu Dhabi document aroused controversy for stating that the “diversity of religions” is “willed by God.”

“In this kind of village,” the Pope also said an “alliance” must be forged “between the earth’s inhabitants and our ‘common home,’ which we are bound to care for and respect. An alliance that generates peace, justice and hospitality among all peoples of the human family, as well as dialogue between religions.”

Not everyone is convinced that peace can be achieved by promoting the Abu Dhabi document, however. Bishop Athanasius Schneider recently observed that “however noble such aims as ‘human fraternity’ and ‘world peace’ may be, they cannot be promoted at the cost of relativizing the truth of uniqueness of Jesus Christ and His Church.” 09/13/19

The above mentioned the Abu Dhabi document. We put together a related video related to that a while back:


Pope Francis signs ‘one world religion’ document!

On February 4, 2019, at the ‘ Global Conference on Human Fraternity,’ Pope Francis and leading Sunni Imam Sheikh Ahmed al-Tayeb signed a document that some suspect may lead towards a “one world religion.” The World Council of Churches (WCC) General Secretary, Dr Olav Fykse Tveit, who also attended, pushed for religious leaders and institutions to push towards a particular cooperative agenda to help bring world peace. Will there be real peace or just a temporary one? Will destruction come to the USA and nations in the Middle East and North Africa? What will be some characteristics of this “one world religion’? Will all have the same religious practices? Might it have commonalities with the ancient Roman Empire? The Grand Mosque in the UAE was renamed “Mary, Mother of Jesus.” Will Catholic, Islamic, and even Hindu reverence for Marian figures play a role? Is that part of the plan? Should real Christians support the interfaith and ecumenical agendas or remain separate from them? What does the Bible teach? What did Jesus teach? Dr. Thiel addresses these issues and more.

Here is a link to that video: Pope Francis signs ‘one world religion’ document!

Some have hinted that Pope Francis is an antipope. Nearly five years ago, we put out the following video:

Some cardinals and other members of the Roman Catholic clergy are concerned that Pope Francis has deviated from its traditional positions on matters such as homosexuality, salvation, fornication, remarriage, and other doctrines. Australian Cardinal George Pell even mentioned ‘antipopes’ when discussing Pope Francis. North American Cardinal Raymond Burke has raised many concerns about Francis’ pontificate. Did Catholic saints teach that popes could become heretics? Will the final pope not be Catholic? Is an ecumenical pontiff possibly the final Antichrist? What do both biblical, and even Roman Catholic, prophecies warn about? Could Pope Francis be an antipope and final Antichrist?

Here is a link to our video: Anti-Pope Francis?

While, in a sense Pope Francis is functioning like an antipope, he is either setting the stage for more of one to follow or he will become much more of one in the future.

Some of what he has been doing, particularly on the international stage, is a prelude to the coming final Antichrist.

The coming ‘antipope,’ who biblically sounds like the final Antichrist, will not only reject scripture, but will betray the Church of Rome.

Pope Francis, by betraying aspects of both, is setting a precedent.

The final Antichrist will rise up and, while feigning Roman Catholicism, will make changes and will betray that church (cf. Revelation 17:15-18).

Some items of possibly related interest may include the following:

What was the Liturgy of the Early Church? Were early church services mainly scriptural, emotional, or sacramental? Who follows the basic original liturgy today? A related video is also available: What were early Christian church services like?
Will the Interfaith Movement Lead to Peace or Sudden Destruction? Is the interfaith movement going to lead to lasting peace or is it warned against? A video sermon of related interest is: Will the Interfaith Movement lead to World War III? and a video sermon is also available: Do You Know That Babylon is Forming?
Catholic Prophecies: Do They Mirror, Highlight, or Contradict Biblical Prophecies? People of all faiths may be surprised to see what various Roman and Orthodox Catholic prophets have been predicting as many of their predictions will be looked to in the 21st century.
The Mark of Antichrist What is the mark of Antichrist? What have various ones claimed? Here is a link to a related sermon What is the ‘Mark of Antichrist’?
Mark of the Beast What is the mark of the Beast? Who is the Beast? What have various ones claimed the mark is? What is the ‘Mark of the Beast’?
Why Should American Catholics Fear Unity with the Orthodox? Are the current ecumenical meetings a good thing or will they result in disaster? Is doctrinal compromise good? Here is a link to a related video Should you be concerned about the ecumenical movement?
Beware: Protestants Going Towards Ecumenical Destruction! What is going on in the Protestant world? Are Protestants turning back to their ‘mother church’ in Rome? Does the Bible warn about this? What are Catholic plans and prophecies related to this? Is Protestantism doomed? watch the video Charismatic Kenneth Copeland and Anglican Tony Palmer: Protestants Beware! and World Council of Churches Peace Plan.
The Falling Away: The Bible and WCG Teachings Who is 2 Thessalonians 2:3 referring to? Are there multiple falling aways? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: La Apostasía: Enseñanzas de la Biblia y de la WCG. There are also two YouTube videos on the subject that you can watch The Falling Away Part 1: From the Bible and Church History and The Falling Away Part 2: Positions Presented by Others.
Who is the Man of Sin of 2 Thessalonians 2? Is this the King of the North, the ten-horned beast of Revelation 13:1-11, or the two-horned Beast of Revelation 13:12-16? Some rely on traditions, but what does the Bible teach? Here is a related link in Spanish/español: ¿Quién es el Hombre de Pecado de 2 Tesalonicenses 2? Here is a version in Mandarin: N;ÿ Œf/’Y’jNº’ÿ Here is a link to a related English sermon video titled: The Man of Sin will deceive most ‘Christians’.
Some Doctrines of Antichrist Are there any doctrines taught outside the Churches of God which can be considered as doctrines of antichrist? This article suggests at least three. It also provides information on 666 and the identity of “the false prophet.” Plus it shows that several Catholic writers seem to warn about an ecumenical antipope that will support heresy. You can also watch a video titled What Does the Bible teach about the Antichrist?
Do Certain Catholic Prophecies About Antichrist Warn Against Jesus? Will the final “Anti-Christ” be Jewish, insist on Saturday, be opposed to the trinity, and bring in the millennium? Certain Catholic writings indicate this, while others take a different view, but what does the Bible show? A related sermon is Will Jesus Christ be called the Antichrist?
Which Is Faithful: The Roman Catholic Church or the Continuing Church of God? Do you know that both groups shared a lot of the earliest teachings? Do you know which church changed? Do you know which group is most faithful to the teachings of the apostolic church? Which group best represents true Christianity? This documented article answers those questions.
Some Similarities and Differences Between the Eastern Orthodox Church and the Continuing Church of God Both groups claim to be the original church, but both groups have differing ways to claim it. Both groups have some amazing similarities and some major differences. Do you know what they are? Here is a link to a related sermon: Eastern Orthodox 40+ Similar Beliefs to the CCOG.
Orthodox Must Reject Unity with the Roman Catholics Unity between these groups will put them in position to be part of the final end time Babylon that the Bible warns against as well as require improper compromise.
United Nations: Humankind’s Last Hope or New World Order? Is the UN the last hope for humanity? Or might its goals end up with sinister results? A related video would be United Nations and Vatican Are Planning the New World Order.
Laudato Si: Pope’s Agenda or Kingdom of God? Pope Francis’ 2nd encyclical is titled ‘Laudato Si.’ In it, he goes over his views related to environmental, economic, social, moral, agricultural, and spiritual issues. He advocates international cooperation to solve various problems he believes are affecting humanity. Is that Pope’s agenda the solution? What about the Kingdom of God? does the Bible teach? Two related articles include Laudato Si: Will Pope Francis’ economic actions match his words? and Laudato Si: A call for a one-world government?
Beliefs of the Original Catholic Church. Did the original “catholic church” have doctrines held by the Continuing Church of God? Did Church of God leaders uses the term “catholic church” to ever describe the church they were part of? Here are links to related sermons: Original Catholic Church of God? , Original Catholic Doctrine: Creed, Liturgy, Baptism, Passover, and What Type of Catholic was Polycarp of Smyrna?, Tradition, Holy Days, Salvation, Dress, & Celibacy, Early Heresies and Heretics, and Doctrines: 3 Days, Abortion, Ecumenism, Meats.

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