The Real Church Schism

“It is . . . dechristianization . . . with the man defined strictly without God and without transcendence. Religion is experienced as a feeling, but not worshiping God as creator and savior. In this great picture, these factors are not good for the transmission of the lived Christian faith, and for this reason it is necessary not to lose our energies in internal struggles, in conflict with each other, with the so-called progressivists seeking revenge by hunting all so-called conservatives. Cardinal Muller
It’s a fascinating discussion. Cardinal Muller talks as if there is room for compromise between conservatives and the “so-called progressives.”
How would compromise work?
Abortion? The baby is dead or alive–there is no in between place.
Gay marriage? A valid union or an invalid union–no wiggle room there either.
More to the point–“worshiping God as creator and savior”? If we are to commit ourselves to true worship, we affirm the transcendence of humanity.  We affirm that people are more than we see through human experience. There is more beyond this world. And we are accountable to our “creator and savior.”
If humanity is transcendent, abortion is wrong. It kills a transcendent being.
And if we are transcendent beings, it matters whether we are male and female. We must bow to the will of our creator and savior, not to our own desires. It is not a call to heterosexuality. It is a call to holiness. And it calls every Christ follower into submission.
Holiness is a call to be at peace with others only as far as it depends on each of us. But our highest calling is not being at peace with those who deny truth and transcendence.
We are called to speak the truth, to live lives of holiness that illustrate our transcendence, and so, to make disciples of all the nations. Truth and transcendence transmit the faith.
If we live this way, we show love. We choose peace until others refuse to have peace with us. If they insist on their way or no peace, we must be faithful to Christian principles. All the while acting in peace, but not violating God’s Word. We speak truth, but always in love. For anything else is a lie. And that would be unloving.
Cardinal Muller says, “Our a priori [our beginning point] is not being conservative or progressive. Our a priori is Jesus.” A priori is a self-evident truth.
But a beginning point, a self-evident truth, can lead to only one destination. And conservatism and progressiveness are two different places and they lead to two very different destinations.
What makes Cardinal Muller’s discussion so fascinating is the nature of Catholicism. When Protestants face such a disagreement, we just go somewhere else–or hope the other goes somewhere else. Eventually, someone moves.
But either conservatives or progressives will determine the future direction of the Catholic Church.
It will stay one thing or become another thing because there cannot be a middle kind of thing.
Cardinal Muller doesn’t yet see the real Church schism.
It’s a chasm that is not between denominations. It exists within them.
And the two cannot become one.

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0 Replies to “The Real Church Schism”

  1. Holiness is a call to be at peace with others only as far as it depends on each of us. But our highest calling is not being at peace with those who deny truth and transcendence.

    Matthew 5:43-48New International Version (NIV)
    Love for Enemies
    43 “You have heard that it was said, ‘Love your neighbor[a] and hate your enemy.’ 44 But I tell you, love your enemies and pray for those who persecute you, 45 that you may be children of your Father in heaven. He causes his sun to rise on the evil and the good, and sends rain on the righteous and the unrighteous. 46 If you love those who love you, what reward will you get? Are not even the tax collectors doing that? 47 And if you greet only your own people, what are you doing more than others? Do not even pagans do that? 48 Be perfect, therefore, as your heavenly Father is perfect.

    1. I completely agree that we are to love our enemies all the time. The phrase “as far as it is up to you” indicates that some will choose not to have peace with us. Holiness requires that we not sacrifice principle for peace. Some would have us do that. And they mean to give no peace until we see things their way.
      Christians on the other side of the world are loving their enemies and dying, refusing to sacrifice faith for peace. If it were up to the persecuted Christians, they would live in peace as they keep the faith. But it isn’t always up to us.

  2. What if you are conservative, but reject the assertion of a god?
    I don’t have to believe I am transcendent, or a creation. I can just be an animal, in which group cohesion and respect of property and basic rights have served us well.

    1. If you reject the assertion of a god, you aren’t on either side of the Church schism. You are certainly free to believe as you choose. Your beliefs, I would argue, could be more subjective because they lack the foundation of transcendence. That would make the respect you assert flexible should it somehow cease to “serve us well.”–as we see in our culture now.

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