The hermits of Westray are a group of Catholics (now ex-Catholics) who have voiced their dissent from Pope Francis’ teaching. They reside in the Catholic Diocese of Argyll and the Isles in Scotland. They are Fr Stephen Joseph de Kerdrel, Sr Colette Maryanne Roberts, and Br Damon Jonah Kelly.
Their Declaration states:
We who are watchmen for the Church, who must speak from the watch tower of Truth, have no option but to withdraw our obedience from Pope Francis and sever communion with the Holy See.Hermits of Westray, Declaration (emphasis mine)
They go on to say …
This is not an act of schismHermits of Westray, Declaration
Oh, but it is. They have, in writing, explicitly withdrawn obedience to the Pope, and broken communion with the Holy See. That is schism. If not, then nothing is schism.
Their formal act of schism has now been recognised by their bishop, Bishop Brian McGee, who has made the position official from his side by issuing a formal excommunication.
It arrived on their doorstep on Christmas Eve, 2019. Here, where I live, it rains every Christmas Eve, even though it’s during the dry season.
This is the first formal schism I know of coming from the anti-Francis crowd during the reign of Pope Francis.
There’s a misconception out there as the news breaks – people think that the excommunication has now removed them from the Catholic Church. No, their formal act of schism removed them from the Catholic Church, exiting by their own explicit intention. The wise bishop’s excommunication decree simply formalises it from his side too. Now we all know where he stands, and where they stand.
Will people like Cardinal Raymond Burke, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, and Archbishop Vigano eventually follow suit?
Update: The Hermits have issued a rather emotional and angry response. The blog reporting it seems even angrier.