A House Divided

for October 10th, 2014

Liturgical texts here



“EVERY kingdom divided against itself will be laid waste and house will fall against house.” These are Christ’s words in today’s Gospel that must surely reverberate among the Synod of Bishops gathered in Rome. As we listen to the presentations coming forth on how to deal with today’s moral challenges facing families, it is clear that there are great gulfs between some prelates as to how to deal with sin. My spiritual director has asked me to speak about this, and so I will in another writing. But perhaps we should conclude this week’s meditations on the infallibility of the papacy by listening carefully to Our Lord’s words today.

The Catholic Church “is the kingdom of Christ on earth”, taught Pope Pius XI [1]Quas Primas, Encyclical, n. 12, Dec. 11th, 1925

Christ dwells on earth in his Church…. “The kingdom of Christ [is] already present in mystery”, “on earth, the seed and the beginning of the kingdom”. Catechism of the Catholic Church, n. 669

Would Christ, then, allow the one to whom He gave the “keys of the kingdom” to lose them? I am not saying that the Church won’t be divided. It already is in many ways. I am not saying that the Church won’t endure a terrible schism. It already has. I am not saying that there won’t be a great “apostasy”. For surely, as the Word of God is true, there already is, and will be. But it will not be the Holy Father who will lead an apostasy by re-writing the faith and morals that have been infallibly passed on for two millenia. That’s Christ’s promise: the gates of hell will not prevail.

…if Satan is divided against himself, how will his kingdom stand?

If Jesus, who “dwells on earth in his Church” said He is “the truth”, and He does not protect and guide the one who holds the keys that protect the infallible truth, how will His kingdom stand?

Again, that is not to say that the Pope may not make mistakes in his governance and pastoral decisions; that some in the hierarchy may not in fact embark upon pastoral initiatives that are controversial and divisive. Look at what happened through the liturgical changes after Vatican II that caused a breach in the organic development of the Holy Mass!

Perhaps in no other area is there a greater distance (and even formal opposition) between what the Council worked out and what we actually have… —from The Desolate City, Revolution in the Catholic Church, Anne Roche Muggeridge, p. 126

Even though Pope Paul VI at last dismissed one of the founders of the ill liturgical reform, Msgr. Annibale Bugnini (‘upon well-founded accusations of his secret membership in the Masonic Order’), author Anne Roche Muggeridge notes that:

…In sober truth, by empowering the liturgical radicals to do their worst, Paul VI, wittingly or unwittingly, empowered the revolution. —Ibid. p. 127

The post Pentecost Peter… is that same Peter who, for fear of the Jews, belied his Christian freedom (Galatians 2 11–14); he is at once a rock and a stumbling-block. And has it not been thus throughout the history of the Church that the Pope, the successor of Peter, has been at once Petra and Skandalon—both the rock of God and a stumbling block? —POPE BENEDICT XIV, from Das neue Volk Gottes, p. 80ff

I hear echoing in my heart the words of Our Lady who has beckoned us time and again through numerous prophets to pray for the priesthood. I hope you can see why. I hope as you listen to the debates emerging from the Synod that you can grasp the reason why our prayers have been so necessary, and still are. This Synod seems to be setting the stage for possible divisions in the Church the likes of which we’ve never seen. I also think it has the potential to bring the Church closer to the Heart of Divine Mercy, which is the clear intention of Pope Francis. But which way will it go?

Whatever happens, today’s first reading is the key to getting through the present Storm that is beginning to spread over the whole world.

…the one who is righteous by faith will live.

It came to me in a flash, as clear as the sun rising on a fogless morning: it will be sheer grace alone that will preserve a faithful remnant through the coming trials that are, simply, beyond human strength. For our part, it is to remain faithful today to Jesus in everything we do, in thought, mind, word and deeds. It is to remain in a state of grace. It is to pray each day and receive the Sacraments frequently. It is to trust.

And Our Lord and Our Lady will do the rest.

Because you have kept my message of endurance, I will keep you safe in the time of trial that is going to come to the whole world to test the inhabitants of the earth. I am coming quickly. Hold fast to what you have, so that no one may take your crown. (Rev 3:10-11)

He has given food to those who fear him; he will forever be mindful of his covenant. (Today’s Psalm)




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1 Quas Primas, Encyclical, n. 12, Dec. 11th, 1925
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