Archbold on “Actuating the Schism”

By Steve Skojec, December 3, 2018

At his longtime blog, Creative Minority Report, 1P5 and Remnant contributor Patrick Archbold has a five-part series about “actuating” the schism in the Church. Some of you are going to want to read the whole thing, but I’d like to offer a Cliff’s Notes version here by way of introduction.

In the first installment, Archbold begins with a quote attributed to Pope Francis back in 2016 – which we covered here – wherein he is alleged to have said, “It is not to be excluded that I will enter history as the one who split the Catholic Church.”

“That quote,” Archbold writes, “is from Der Spiegel. But it is Spiegel’s correspondent in Italy, Walter Mayr, who characterizes that statement as self-critical. Based upon all the evidence to date and what I think may be coming, I suspect that is a misreading of the statement. The Pope wasn’t being self-critical, he was telling you the plan.”

He was telling you the plan.

For years, something it appears that many Catholic commentators have missed in trying to make sense of the current papacy is that gaffes, well intentioned mistakes, malformation, and even outright incompetence do not explain the Francis phenomenon.

Intentionality does.

I can’t read hearts and minds, and I certainly can’t read souls. But I can tell you where the evidence points. And every indication I’ve seen shows that Jorge Mario Bergoglio, the man who became Pope Francis, looks at the Catholic Church as it exists with destruction and reconfiguration at the forefront of his mind.

Archbold uses as a launching point the obvious manipulations of both synods on the family, and then the absolutely transparent fait accompli that was the Youth Synod this past October. Archbold writes:

Not only did they do away with all the rules in advance and pack the synod with the pliant, but they actually published a synod document that was substantially about a topic that wasn’t even discussed at the synod, synodality itself. You must hand it to these folks, they are the honey badgers of heretics, they just don’t care.

Archbold argues that the ramping up of synod-rigging came in direct response to “faithful Catholics” who have been “very loud and have caused them more problems than they are willing to put up with.” (Yes. He’s talking about you and me, among others.) His thesis is that the Church “has been in a de facto state of schism for some time” but that while those who reject the Church’s teaching used to just refuse to leave, now “they are in charge.”

“They didn’t want their own Church,” he writes. “They wanted ours. Now they have the power and they use the power.”

The overarching question that follows is, how do they rid themselves of the Catholics who are fighting against their power? Or, more to the point, “How do you turn a de facto schism into a real one?”

In part two, Archbold argues that those who are now in power in the Church “have been putting in place mechanisms that will give faithful Catholics no quarter.” And by no quarter, he means:

… they are taking a series of steps intended to give faithful Catholics, particularly traditional Catholics, no place to go other than where they want us. In short, they are executing a series of plays from their playbook intended to put traditional Catholics in a position in which they must capitulate or be disobedient to some degree. It is the disobedience they seek.

It is his theory that this mechanism – forced disobedience – will be used to “separate traditional Catholics from the Church.”

He gives examples. The Franciscan Friars of the Immaculate. A South American visitation used to take out a tradition-friendly bishop who had been critical of other bishops in his region. The never officially explained removal of Bishop Martin Holley from Memphis. (Holley appears to believe it was a retributive act by the disgraced-but-still-powerful Cardinal Wuerl for a previous slight.) The “visitation and destruction” of the Petites Sœurs de Marie Mère du Rédempteur, who, says Archbold, “committed the double crime of being a little ‘too conservative’ and having some assets that the local Bishop coveted.” The Sovereign Military Order of Malta.

There are probably more who could be added to the list.

“Whether you are a traditional leaning order,” writes Archbold, “moderately conservative, or even a bishop not getting with the program, the message and method is clear. When they want you gone. They can make you gone.”

Recently, additional directives from Rome have made it even harder for such people to have recourse when they are treated unjustly. Even bishops, so often pointed to by Francis as those who should be making decisions for their regions, now have to get permission from Rome before erecting institutes of consecrated life in their dioceses – something bishops have always had the power to do.

The third part of Archbold’s series focuses on what is being done to religious life. He says, quoting Hilary White, that some of the rule changes made recently by the Vatican signal “the end of the contemplative monastic life.” He quotes Hilary further on the vital nature of cloistered religious, and it bears repeating here:

Once they’re inside, the world forgets about them. But contemplative religious life is like the mitochondria of the Church. The power source of the cell that makes all the other systems function. The mitochondria are the most unobtrusive and hidden of the organelles of the body, and for a very long time their purpose was not fully understood. But now we know our lives depend on the health of this tiny, secret and hidden little thing. And mitochondrial disease – when the mitochondria fail to function – is devastating.

I won’t go into the level of detail Archbold does here, but he highlights a number of indicators that “Pope Francis clearly dislikes contemplative orders” and has acted accordingly. “Traditional Catholic monasticism,” he concludes, “is done. It cannot and will not survive this onslaught, if nothing changes.”

And this is not just about ending things. It’s about killing off new beginnings. Think about this:

Step by step they have been destroying avenues for religious to practice traditional Catholicism. They are simply not giving traditional Catholics with a vocation anywhere to go, except where they want you to go. They are diligently and systematically cutting off all avenues of escape. This is critical in understanding my thesis about how they may in the future cause the split in the Church for which Pope Francis has openly pined.

Part four of the series is about “synodality” – the strange, ill defined concept that was the major takeaway from the Youth Synod, a topic which, as Archbold argues, was not even discussed at the synod itself. Rather than attempting to summarize, I will quote at some length here:

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