Viganó Schism is Small Potatoes – Theologian

Jul 8, 2024 | 0 comments

Massimo Faggioli, Theologian

In an article for La Croix International the prominent theologian Massimo Faggioli has judged the recent Vatican excommunication of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganó on a charge of schism to be far less significant than the ‘silent schism of disaffection and disillusionment’ caused by decades of scandal – while the ongoing universal synodal process could also end in serious polarisation if it takes decisions that antagonise some.

The word ‘schism’ simply means ‘split’.  A schism in the church can be as vast as the 16th century Reformations that left western Christendom to fight so-called religious wars for over a century, or as minor as the refusal of some 19th century ‘Old’ Catholics to accept the declaration of papal infallibility in 1871 – which many of today’s Catholics may know nothing about.

Archbishop Carlo Vigano with President Barak Obama when Papal ambassador to the USA 2011-2016.

Archbishop Viganó most vehemently opposed Pope Francis in August 2018, on the occasion of the concluding Mass for the World Meeting of Families in Dublin that year.  The pope was later cleared of Vigano’s charge that he had enabled the rise of disgraced US Cardinal Theodore McCarrick to pre-eminence there. Vigano later marginalised himself still further by adopting an ‘anti-vax’ posture on anti-Covid 19 vaccines and aligning himself with supporters of Donald Trump who are opposed to so-called ‘globalist conspiracies’.

Archbishop Viganó was judged guilty on July 5th 2024 of schism mainly for his refusal to accept the authority of Pope Francis and his opposition to the decisions of Vatican II (1962-65) – which were agreed almost unanimously by the Catholic bishops of that era.  These offences merit the schism charge, and excommunication, according to Catholic canon law.

Excommunication means not expulsion from the church but loss of the right to receive the sacraments, until a reconciliation has been achieved.

For Massimo Faggioli’s complete article in La Croix International, click here.


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ACI’s Campaign for Lumen Gentium 37

The Promise of Synodality

What we have experienced of synodality so far gives ACI real hope that a longstanding structural injustice in the church may at last be acknowledged and overcome.

As all Irish bishops well know, the 'co-responsibility' they urge lay people to share - as numbers and energies of clergy decline - has been sabotaged time and again by canonical rules that deny representational authority and continuity to parish pastoral councils.  ACI's 2019 call for the immediate honouring of Lumen Gentium Article 37 becomes more urgent by the day and is supported by the following documents - also presented to the ICBC in October 2019.

The Common Priesthood of the People of God and the Renewal of the Church
It was Catholic parents and victims of clerical abuse who taught Catholic Bishops to prioritise the safeguarding of children in the church

Jesus as Model for the Common Priesthood of the People of God
It was for challenging religious hypocrisy and injustice that Jesus was accused and crucified. He is therefore a model for the common priesthood of the laity and for the challenging of injustice - in society and within the church.

A Suggested Strategy for the Recovery of the Irish and Western Catholic Church
Recovery of the church depends upon acknowledgment of the indispensable role of the common priesthood of the lay people of God and the explicit abandonment by bishops and clergy of paternalism and clericalism - the expectation of deference from lay people rather than honesty and integrity.

For the full story of ACI's campaign for the honouring of Article 37 of Lumen Gentium, click here.


"Come Holy Spirit, Renew Your wonders in this our day, as by a new Pentecost. Grant to Your Church that, being of one mind and steadfast in prayer with Mary, the Mother of Jesus, and following the lead of blessed Peter, it may advance the reign of our Divine Saviour, the reign of truth and justice, the reign of love and peace. Amen."

Saint Pope John XXIII, 1962 - In preparation for Vatican Council II, 1962-65.

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