Apparently some hermits declared some months ago that they were withdrawing their “obedience from Pope Francis” and that they were severing “communion with the Holy See.” “Them’s is fightin’ words” as we say here in the back reaches of Appalachia. Those words are technical, and scream out for an application of canonical penalties involving excommunication. And – no surprise – they were excommunicated. That’s clearly what they desired all along, making a show.
There is simply zero need to do what they have done. They are not brave. They are ignorant ultramontanists. Pope Francis has not done anything ex-Cathedra against the faith, not could he. Ambiguity might be troublesome. Ambiguity might throw one’s own soul into anguish. But that’s no reason to force these excommunications.
Yes, I know, they listed all sorts of things they don’t like about Pope Francis. Fine. Lots of people do that, but not everyone gets excommunicated. The reason they did get excommunicated is because they treat what Pope Francis himself calls a dialogue instead as ex-cathedra dogma. It’s not. And that’s disingenuous for them to treat such things in that manner. But this is what they ultra-tradition-al-ism-ists have always done. They can get as huffy as they want, but they talked themselves into getting excommunicated. No one would have batted an eye had they said that they disagree with Pope Francis, even if they said this very strongly. And I don’t think Pope Francis could have possibly cared less even if they called him a heretic, which apparently they did. That’s not the issue. They went over the line only when they said that they were withdrawing obedience and severing communion with the Holy [Apostolic] See. That’s the kicker. The kicker-outer terminology.
Here’s the deal: whenever you run across ambiguity from any ecclesiastical superior or anything downright wrong, one’s duty is to do what the Church has always taught be done, with the attitude that one simply doesn’t understand the commands of one’s temporary ecclesiastical superior. Period. And this is NOT disobedience. It is supreme obedience. One will likely suffer for it, but won’t get excommunicated for it. And to such as think they are entitled never to suffer in such manner, never to follow our Lord by taking up their cross, to them I say: Get a life! Don’t be such tender snowflakes! March on behind our dear Lord Jesus.
Also, I suggest they look up what Saint Thomas Aquinas said is always the motivation for division in the Church.
I’ve tagged this post also with “Missionaries of Mercy” because I think it is a mercy to assist those who have purposely removed themselves from communion with the Church to reenter. Their choice. But I think I’ve given them a way to save face and come back to the fold.