“In a very small circle, Pope Francis is said to have self-critically further explained himself as follows: “It is not to be excluded that I will enter history as the one who split the Catholic Church.”

That quote is from Der Speigel. 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.

Going back to the early days of this papacy, I spilled considerable ink trying to warn Catholics about the abuse of the Synods to further the nefarious goals of those who seek to permanently change the Church.  I warned of the pre-ordained nature of the charade.  I warned about how ambiguity would be used to further the ends, followed up Papal documents imposing what cannot be accepted.  And I warned of the consequences to those bishops and priests who did not get with the program.  All that happened, and then some.  It isn’t that I am particularly prescient, but I knew the playbook which they were using to run the game.  But even I didn’t expect the absolutely brazen way they have gamed the synod system.  At this last synod, 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.  We’ll get back to synodality in a moment.

In the wake of this latest farce, I have been mulling some ideas about what comes next.  First, more of the same, for sure.  We can count on this process to continue.  Gamed synods producing pre-ordained results to continue to move the heretical ball down the field.  But that isn’t enough.  Faithful Catholics in the Church, particularly those in certain communities, are very loud and have caused them more problems than they are willing to put up with.  They made all the rule changes and gamed the synod system in direct response to the problems they encountered in the Synod on the Family.  The votes caused problems, let’s do away with votes.  But even with all the process changes that made the inevitable outcome inevitable, they resent having to do it.  The problem isn’t the rules, it’s those people.

It is commonly remarked by some, myself included, that the Church has been in a de facto state of schism for some time, only that those who no longer hold to the Church’s teachings refused to leave.  Now, they are not just here but they are in charge. They didn’t seek their own alternative church or power structure, they instead took the long view and were covetous of the name Catholic and its power structure.  They didn’t want their own Church, they wanted ours.  Now they have the power and they use power.

So this is the question that stays with me.  How do you get rid of those Catholics who are fighting against your power?  How do you get rid of faithful Catholics who, by definition, tenaciously cling to the one true church?  How do you get the true Catholics out of the true Church? How do you turn a de facto schism into a real one?

As it turns out, like with all other things, these people have a playbook. They know what worked in the past and they will use that model.  In fact, they are already doing it.  Piece by piece, they have been putting in place mechanisms that will give faithful Catholics no quarter.  Over the next days, I will explain what steps they have already taken and what we might expect.

Stay tuned.