Johannesburg, South Africa used to be the gunshot wound (GSW) capitol of the world. Several years ago, I was reading about how a Joburg paramedic was treating a conscious GSW patient. After a body sweep to find the exact number of GSWs, the paramedic found an exit wound in addition to the single entrance wound. Finding the exit wound made the medic exclaim, “This means you’re going to live! This means you’re going to live!” (Keep in mind that GSW patients frequently survive. Other victims may die hours later in the Operating Room, unlike the movies where the victim always dies on-scene.)
I’ve been very curious about that story for about a decade, so this week I did some research to see if an exit wound truly increased survival for GSW patients. All I could find in Western medical studies online was that entrance/exit wounds are frequently misdiagnosed about 50% of the time in American Emergency Departments. (In other words, trauma docs often think that the entrance wound is the exit wound and the exit wound is the entrance wound!)
But I have met a few grizzled, old street paramedics who can both identify and even diagnose things that ED physicians can not without their CT and ultrasound toys. So, perhaps this is one of those cases where the Joburg street medics simply know something important from experience: Single-GSW patients have a better chance of living if they also find an exit wound in addition to the entrance wound. (This may be true based on sheer fact that hollow tip bullets do more damage to body systems instead of exiting immediately.)
In this Joburg street medicine we can also find an analogy for our current Church crisis. I keep hearing many Western Catholics bemoaning: “I hope the Church doesn’t schism! I hope we doesn’t schism!” Well…there already is an internal schism. Just look around. Just go to Sunday Mass. Just look on social media. Just look at the Vatican news services: We already have a schism of beliefs. We are not unified.
An external schism will only increase the chances of survival. At least, it will help us Catholics admit we’re at the point where we’re at.
Of course, we already know that the Church will survive by Christ’s promise, but we have no guarantee that the good guys will keep the buildings and the schools and the money. St. Athanasius admitted the good guys did not get the buildings in the Arian heresy. More recently, Venerable Archbishop Fulton Sheen called those who live off the Church but do not contribute to her growth “parasites on the mystical body of Christ.” Yes, an external schism will let those parasites depart, even if they leave with the Church buildings and school and money.
But this schism is not divided exclusively into those people who go to the Latin Mass versus those who go to Mass in the vernacular. The schism we now see is a group of Catholics who believe in the Gospel of Jesus Christ and another group who essentially believe on salvation what Universalist Unitarians believe, namely, that everyone who follows their conscience is saved. Of course, I put “traditionalists” in the former category of those who believe in the Gospel, but I’m thrilled to see so many other non-Latin-Mass Catholics coming out of the wood-works to side with the Truth instead of relativism, to side with the Apostles over the heresy of modernism, who side with sexual-purity over the destructive synods in Dublin and Rome, who essentially side with a God-centered religion instead of a man-centered religion as we see that so many chanceries are built on man, under the pretext of simply being “pastoral.”
Maybe we should start praying for this external schism to manifest itself for survival of the Church on top of the already-existing internal schism that has already bubbled to the top in every parish in the West, on every Catholic’s social media. I don’t propose schism as Martin Luther meant it. In fact, I know we need the Pope and the Cardinals to surivive as Catholics in an Apostolic Church. But perhaps this external schism’s pressure release valve would be an imperfect council held by only a few Cardinals to determine an honest future in the Catholic Church. That is above my pay-grade in the Catholic Church to determine how to slough-off the bad and get on with the good in a small but broken Church. 1
All I know at this point is that an exit wound would increase survival more than a single entrance wound, with all these damaging bullets bouncing around in the soft-tissue of the mystical body of Christ like so many parasites. Yes, this current internal schism may find relief in the outlet of a full external schism. I, for one, am praying for this, because it would be honest to admit that two religions are now occupying the same space, “Catholic.” An external schism will only increase the chances of supernatural survival of the Catholic Church in our lifetimes, so let’s pray that we all admit what has arrived internally becomes formally recognized so we can get on with that single, unchanging Faith in Jesus Christ that Catholics have clung to everywhere and at all times.