5 Hard Questions for Bishop Schneider
Catholic Vioce Interview:
In this new interview with Catholic Voice, Bishop Athanasius Schneider comments on the Instrumentum Laboris. Latin for “working instrument” it is an enormous and extremely long-winded document for the 2015 Synod. His Excellency warns against trying to find politically correct language and explains the duty of a Catholic bishop when faced with the moral issues of the day. He also offers examples of saints and spiritual writings to which we can turn for consolation and encouragement in this time of confusion and disorientation in the Church.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider
Your Excellency, the Instrumentum Laboris for the 2015 Synod states that there is a “common accord” [c’è un comune accordo] in favour of a “penitential way” for the divorced and remarried ” under the authority of the Bishop, for the faithful (who have been) divorced and remarried civilly, who find themselves in a situation of irreversible cohabitation.” Is it accurate to suggest there is a “common accord” ?
The affirmation that there is a “common accord” on the “penitential way” is not correct. The only one public document that would permit to determine the effective opinion of the bishops on this topic, is the “Relatio Synodi” of 2014. There it is documented that 40% of the members of the Synod rejected such a “penitential way”. When faced with such a result, one can hardly speak of a “common accord”. Furthermore, there is no specification as to a concrete definition of such a “penitential way”.
In light of this use of the phrase “c’è un comune accordo” is the credibility of the Instrumentum Laboris threatened? One could even conclude there is an attempt to impose communion for the divorced and remarried at the Synod despite opposition. Do you have any comment on this?
In the light of a careful analysis of the facts, one is left with the suspicion that the authors of the Instrumentum Laboris try to push forward the agenda of a certain clerical pressure group in order to change the Divine law of the non-admission the divorced and remarried to Holy Communion.
Commenting on the Synod, Archbishop Forte has said one of the priorities should be a discussion of allowing those who have divorced and remarried outside the Church to become “godfathers or godmothers, catechists, extraordinary ministers of the Eucharist.” What do you think of this idea?
Firstly, it is necessary to remember the significance of godparents according to the constant teaching and practice of the Church: A sponsor (godfather or godmother) must help the baptized person to lead a Christian life in keeping with baptism and to fulfill faithfully the obligations inherent in it. To be permitted to take on the function of sponsor a person must be a Catholic who leads a life of faith in keeping with the function to be taken on (cf. Canons 872 and 874 § 1, 3). Sponsors and those who take the place of parents are obliged to form the children by word and example in faith and in the practice of Christian life (cf. Canon 774, § 2). When a godfather or a godmother or a catechist conducts a lifestyle that publicly contradicts the Sixth Commandment and the indissolubility of the Christian marriage, then he or she surely cannot be an example of a life of faith. The same is valid for Extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. The advocacy for the admission of divorced and remarried to the task of godparents and catechists cannot ultimately be for the true spiritual good of the children, but turns out to be an istrumentalization of a specific ideological agenda. This is a dishonesty and a mockery of the institution of godparents and catechists who by means of a public promise took on the task of educators of the faith. In the case of godparents or catechists who are divorced and remarried, their life however, continuously contradicts their words, and so they have to face the admonition of the Holy Spirit through the mouth of the Apostle Saint James: “But be doers of the word, and not hearers only, deceiving yourselves” (James 1: 22).
Excellency, in the ongoing debate over same sex “marriage” some Catholic groups have become open to the notion of recognizing that same sex pairs can have long term loving relationships thus they conclude that it is possible to recognize same sex civil partnerships. It is evident that even a few bishops support this idea but could this ever be an authentic Catholic position?
This can never be an authentic Catholic position because it contradicts directly the words of God, which says that homosexual acts and the homosexual lifestyle are a grievous offense of the will of God (cf. Gen 18:20; Lev 18:22; 20:13; Is 3:9; Rom 1:26-27; 1 Cor 6:10; 1 Tim 1:10; Jud 7). Committing evil in a long-term and even loving relationship cannot transform the same evil into good. Only true repentance that includes contrition and the firm intention to avoid the evil cancels with the grace of God the evil. It would be absurd to affirm that alcoholism will gain a positive recognition because of the long-term and loving relationship of two persons who established this relationship on the base of their propensity to alcohol. The same absurdity contains the above-mentioned affirmation about same sex unions.
There also appears to be a push towards a “new language” with some saying that using the phrases “homosexual tendencies” and “intrinsically disordered” should be avoided less offence is caused – what do you make of this drive to use politically correct language?
We have to call things by their real names; otherwise, we will deceive the others and ourselves. To call the things by their names does not mean an intention to create discrimination, provided we speak with respect and pedagogical wisdom. There exist some deficiency symptoms of a bodily or spiritual nature such as fear of heights, claustrophobia, seasickness, shortsightedness etc. No person of common sense will be indignant when we name such phenomena as a deficiency. In fact, the homosexual attraction is in itself a sexual-psychological deficiency symptom, which all civilized human history has considered as a deficiency and called by its name. Under pressure from the new gender ideology, which has its roots in the Marxist ideology, in the 1970s homosexuality was excluded from the International Handbook of Psychological diseases. In such a way, persons who suffer with homosexual attraction were taken hostages of a radical ideology, inasmuch as they are denied the opportunity to receive healing or improvement of their psychologically defective situation. To have a deficiency is not a shame, but it is a fact. Those who effectively encourage deficient persons, in our case persons who are feeling a homosexual attraction, to abuse their deficiency in order to become more deficient and to consequently become addicts, commit a grave injustice towards these persons who need and want to receive help in their spiritual and psychological deficiency.
Catholics Must Not be Afraid to Fight to Defeat Sin, to Defend God’s Commandments,
Defend the Integrity of Your Faith and Your Chastity
by Bishop Athanasius Schneider:
Translated by Countercultural Father
In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.
My dear brothers and sisters,
Bishop Athanasius Schneider, “Don’t be afraid to be a hero.”
During Pentecost, the Holy Ghost filled the hearts of the faithful with his Divine presence, and their souls with his seven-fold gifts, and above all with the gift of Divine love. It is from that day that the fire of Divine love started to burn in their souls.
What are the effects of that Divine fire? It is the transformation of our weak and inconstant human love into a supernatural love. Thanks to that supernatural love, we are able to love God with all our strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. Above all, the fire of Divine love in our soul gives us the virtue of fortitude. That virtue of fortitude has, for two thousand years, given the faithful the capacity to prefer death to the betrayal of their baptismal promises, to prefer to die rather than to sin, to die rather than to betray their priestly vows, to die rather than to betray their religious vows.
Neo-Marxist Ideology of Gender
Today, there are families, young people, priests and bishops who, in order to remain faithful to God’s commandments, are often marginalised, ridiculed and persecuted by the dictatorial power of the new worldwide neo-Marxist ideology of gender, and the cult of the earth and the climate. Moreover, there are also families, young people, priests, seminarians, and even bishops who are marginalized and ridiculed, sometimes even in the ecclesiastical domain, because of their fidelity to the integrity of the Catholic Faith, and to Divine Worship according to the tradition of the apostles and of our ancestors.
Faithful Catholics are the Object of Attack
Pentecost is also the day when we celebrate the visible birth of the Church, which is the great family of all the adopted sons of God. There is also, of course, another Divine creation called the human family, made up of a father, a mother and their children. Our Savior Jesus Christ raised the natural family to the dignity of being the domestic Church thanks to the sacrament of Marriage. In our time, the natural family and the Christian family have become the principal object of attack for the destruction of the civilized world by the neo-Marxist gender ideology. Paradoxically, we are living in the age of the family precisely because it is under attack. It is today that the family is called to witness to the Divine beauty of its essence and of its vocation.
Communal Prayer is the Answer
In order to remain faithful to that vocation, the Catholic family should, in the first place, practice daily communal prayer. Pope Pius XII said: ‘We beg of you, make it your heart’s concern to retain that most beautiful of traditions of Catholic families: evening prayer together. Gather together, at the end of each day, to implore God’s blessing, and to honor the Immaculate Virgin by a rosary in praise of her, for all those who will go to sleep under the same roof. If the hard and unrelenting demands of modern life do not leave you with the free time to consecrate those few blessed moments to God, nor to add, according to the beloved custom of our fore-fathers, a brief reading of the life of a saint, the saint whom the Church proposes for us each day as a model and protector, make sure that you totally consecrate, however brief it may be, that moment when together you turn towards God, to praise Him and to present to Him your desires, your needs, your troubles and your worries. The center of your existence should be Christ Crucified, or an image of the Sacred Heart of Jesus: May Christ reign in your home, and may you reunite around him each day.’ (Discourse: 12 February 1941)
Fight, be a Hero
O Catholic Families, fathers and mothers of families, young men and young women: do not be afraid to fight against sin, against the seductive spirit of neo-Paganism. Do not be afraid to fight to defend the commandments of God, to defend the integrity of your Faith and your chastity. Do not be afraid to be heroic. Listen to what Pope Pius XII told us: ‘In modern times, as in the first centuries of Christianity, in countries where religious persecution prevails openly, or in those where it is hidden but no less harsh, the most humble of the faithful may find themselves at any time in the dramatic position of having to choose between their Faith, which they have the duty to guard intact, and their liberty, their means of subsistence, or even their very life. But even in normal times, in the ordinary circumstances of Christian families, people sometimes find that they are faced with the alternative of breaking a solemn duty, or of exposing themselves, their health, their goods, their family and social standing, to sacrifices and to sad and weighty risks. They find themselves facing the necessity of being heroic, and demonstrating that heroism, if they wish to stay faithful to their duties and remain in the grace of God.’ (Discourse: 20 August 1941).
My dear brothers and sisters, the Catholic family still has a vocation that is sometimes forgotten in our times. It is the vocation of being the first seminary (cf 2nd Vatican Council, Optatam Totius §2). What is the most urgent necessity facing the Church and the world in our times? The most urgent necessity of our times is to have authentically Catholic families, which become the first seminaries for priestly and religious vocations. Pope John Paul II said to Catholic couples: “If Jesus, with an act of preferential love for your family, gave one of your sons the gift of a priestly or religious vocation, what would your attitude be? I hope that you would believe the words of Don Bosco, who said: The greatest gift which God can offer a family is a son who becomes a priest. Therefore, be ready to receive that gift with a loving and sincere gratitude.’ (Angelus: 13 January 1980)
Dear Catholic fathers and mothers, dear Catholic grandfathers and grandmothers, say: ‘ Lord, if You wish, call one of my sons, one of my grandsons, to the priesthood.’ Young men and young women, who feel in your souls the vocation to marriage, the vocation to found a domestic Church, say: ‘Lord, if You wish, call one of my future sons to the priesthood.’ And you, boys and young men, each one of you can say: ‘Lord, I am ready to follow You, if You call me to the priesthood.’
What a beautiful vocation it is to be a true Catholic!
What a beautiful vocation to fight for the integrity of the Faith, and the commandments of God! What a beautiful vocation it is to be a Catholic family, a domestic Church! What a beautiful vocation it is to be a chaste young man, or a chaste young woman! What a beautiful vocation it is to be a seminarian and a priest with a pure and ardent heart!
Do not be afraid of the Goliath of our times, that is, the new worldwide anti-Christian ideology. The fire of Divine love and the Holy Ghost’s gift of fortitude will make us able to conquer the Goliath of our times with the five stones of David’s sling.
Come, Holy Ghost, and once again, make many domestic Churches flourish, which will give us the five stones of David to conquer Goliath: that is to say, good Catholic fathers and mothers, pure children, pure young people, pure priests, and courageous bishops.
Come, Holy Ghost, come! Amen.
The original (in French) may be found here. Slight editing.
The Battle We Are Fighting Is Against More Than Ignorance. It Is A Battle Against Powers And Principalities
Bishop Athanasius Schneider – It is a sad truth that we are in a time of great crisis in the Church. God is with us, however. You have asked me what the faithful can do to combat the errors spreading through the Church. I would like to answer with some suggestions:
Spread The Gospel And Teachings Of The Church
We must create groups of true Catholics, scholars, families, and clergy who will spread courageously the full Catholic truth, especially on the Church’s teachings on the family, on nature, and the commandments of God.
As a means to this aim, we must make use of all the resources that the modern world offers to us. We are not confined to waiting for the media to spread these messages. We do not have to wait for each individual pastor to preach them from the pulpit. We should embrace the new media forms that allow us to spread the Gospel and the teachings of our Holy Mother, the Church. We should take our message to the Internet, publish it on websites, blogs, and social media.
But we must not forget to engage with our fellow Catholics in more traditional ways. We should organize conferences and symposiums on a scholarly level. We should use these to create publications, papers, and books that can be used as a reference and broaden our discussion.
Witness In Truth And Love God’s Design For The Family And Sexuality
We should also create a movement of Catholic families, of “domestic churches”, to witness, defend and spread the integral faith and the teaching on family, marriage, and the order of nature.
We must, at this dangerous time, be courageous in illuminating the truly Gnostic and revolutionary character of the “Kasper agenda,” demonstrating the continuity of the Divine doctrine on marriage and its practice throughout the two thousand years of the history of our Church. We should inspire the faithful with examples of holy husbands, families, children, and teenagers. We should demonstrate, on the one side, the real beauty of a marital, family, or single life in chastity and fidelity. On the other side, we must point to the demonstrated ugliness, unhappiness, and schizophrenia of a life against the divinely-established order.
To give hope to those who are struggling, it is important for us to give examples of repentant Catholics from the past and present time. Those who converted from their sinful life in adultery, divorce, or sodomy.
To address the errors currently being spread, true Catholic husbands, families and single persons must write to the pope, to the their bishops, and to the competent dicasteries of the Roman Curia, notifying them of heretical, semi-heretical, or Gnostic pronouncements of ecclesiastical persons or events with such an agenda which are being promoted though ecclesiastical persons or groups.
This Is A Spiritual War And Must Be Fought With Spiritual Weapons
These are all means of education and formation. But the battle we are fighting is against more than ignorance. It is against principalities and powers. It cannot succeed unless we organize a great national and international net of prayer through Eucharistic adoration, pilgrimages, solemn Masses, intercessional and penitential processions with themes such as “The Holiness of Family and Marriage,” “The Call to Chastity,” “The Beauty and Happiness of a Chaste Life,” “The Imitation of Christ in Family Life,” and “Expiation for the Sins Against Family and Marriage.”
Perhaps most fundamental of all, we should pray fervently that God may give to His Church holy bishops and holy popes. Such a prayer should be prayed especially by children, because the prayer of the innocent ones penetrates heaven like no other.
Originally posted at OnePeterFive.
Progressives, Collaborating With A “New Paganism” Are Driving The Church Towards A Split.
By Sarah Atkinson, Catholic Herald.co.uk
The Fourth Great Crisis Of The Church
Liberals, collaborating with the “new paganism”, are driving the Catholic Church towards a split, according to Bishop Athanasius Schneider, the liturgical specialist who is carrying on a rearguard fight against “abuses” in the Church.
So serious are the problems, Bishop Schneider said in an interview last week, that this is the fourth great crisis in the history of the Church, comparable to the fourth-century Arian heresy in which a large part of the Church hierarchy was implicated.
If you have not heard of the Soviet-born bishop, you will. The sincere, scholarly clergyman is auxiliary bishop of the distant Archdiocese of St Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan. But this month he has received a rock star welcome from congregations across the country on his tour of England and he has embraced cyberspace to put over a trenchant, traditional defence of the Church. “Thanks be to God, the internet exists,” he said.
His views are not popular with everyone, especially not some of his liberal colleagues, or, he says, with the mainstream media of the secular world. But his audiences tell another story.
Vatican II Documents Need Clarification
Bishop Schneider is best known for arguing that Holy Communion should be received on the tongue while kneeling, which he insists is the more efficient way to foster respect for the Sacrament and to prevent abuse of the Sacred Hosts. The 53-year-old bishop has called also for clarification (a new Syllabus of Errors), aimed at the clergy, to put a stop to liturgical and doctrinal freewheeling on a range of issues in the “spirit of Vatican II”.
In his interview, Bishop Schneider said the “banal” and casual treatment of the Blessed Sacrament is part of a major crisis in the Church in which some laity and clergy, including some in positions of authority, are siding with secular society. At the heart of the problems, he believes, is the creeping introduction of a man-centred agenda, while in some churches God, in the tabernacle, really is materially put in a corner, while the priest takes centre stage. Bishop Schneider argued that this situation is now coming to a head. “I would say, we are in the fourth great crisis [of the Church], in a tremendous confusion over doctrine and liturgy. We have already been in this for 50 years.”
How long will it last?
“Perhaps God will be merciful to us in 20 or 30 years.”
In the autumn, the synod of bishops will meet in extraordinary session to discuss the family, in the light of the questionnaire which Pope Francis invited the faithful to complete, giving their views on marriage and sexuality. Expectations are growing that rules will be relaxed on a range of sexual matters and in terms of divorced people receiving Communion as a sign of “mercy” from the Church.
The Greatest Evil: Clergy Putting Themselves At The Center Of The Liturgy!
Such views, according to Bishop Schneider, reveal the depth of the problem. “I think this issue of the reception of Holy Communion by the remarried will blow up and show the real crisis in the Church. The real crisis of the Church is anthropocentrism and the forgetting of Christo-centrism…
“This is the deepest evil: man, or the clergy, putting themselves in the center when they are celebrating liturgy and when they change the revealed truth of God, for instance, concerning the Sixth Commandment and human sexuality.”
Although he says talk of change is mainly coming from “the anti-Christian media”, he sees clergy and lay Catholics “collaborating” with what he calls the new paganism. Bishop Schneider is particularly critical of the idea that these changes should be made so as to be merciful to those currently barred from receiving the Sacraments. “[This is] a kind of sophism,” he said. “This is not mercy, this is cruel.”
He suggested this was “a false concept of mercy”, saying: “It is comparable to a doctor who gives a [diabetic] patient sugar, although he knows it will kill him.”
The bishop believes there are clear parallels with great crises of the past, when leading clergymen were complicit with heresies. In the Arian heresy, he said, naming them on his fingers, only a handful of the hierarchy resisted. “We [Christians] are a minority. We are surrounded by a very cruel pagan world. The temptation and challenge of today can be compared with the first centuries.”
He added: “Unfortunately there were … members of the clergy and even bishops who put grains of incense in front of the statue of the emperor or of a pagan idol or who delivered the books of the Holy Scripture to be burned. Such collaborationist Christians and clerics were called in those times thurificati or traditores.”
And today, he maintained, we also have those who collaborate, our “traitors of the Faith”.
Pope Francis Has Taught Beautiful Catholic Doctrine In His Official Homilies
Pope Francis is perceived to be at the forefront of a new liberal attitude coming from Rome. But Bishop Schneider says: “Thanks be to God, Pope Francis has not expressed himself in these ways that the mass media expect from him. He has spoken until now, in his official homilies, very beautiful Catholic doctrine. I hope he will continue to teach in a very clear manner the Catholic doctrine.”
The bishop said he hopes “the majority of the bishops still have enough Catholic spirit and faith that they will reject the proposal and not accept this”.
A Coming Split?
Nevertheless, he can foresee a split coming, leading to an eventual renewal of the Church on traditional lines. But, he believes, this will not be before the crisis has plunged the Church further into disarray. Eventually, he thinks, the “anthropocentric” [man-centred] clerical system will collapse. “This liberal clerical edifice will crash down because they have no roots and no fruits,” he said.
In the turmoil, Bishop Schneider, fears traditional Catholics may, for a time, be persecuted or discriminated against, even at the behest of those who have “power in the exterior structures of the Church”. But he believes those involved with the “heresy” will “not prevail against the Church”. And, in hope, the bishop said: “The Supreme Magisterium will surely issue an unequivocal doctrinal statement, rejecting any collaboration with the neo-pagan ideas.”
At this point, Bishop Schneider believes, the modern thurificati et traditores will leave the Church. “I can presume that such a separation will affect each level of Catholics: lay people and even not
excluding the high clergy,” he said.
Such comments are unlikely to win Bishop Schneider popularity in some circles, but he argues: “It is quite insignificant to be popular or unpopular. For every member of the clergy, their first interest should be to be popular in the eyes of God and not in the eyes of today or of the powerful. Jesus said a warning: ‘Woe to you when people speak well of you.’”
Great Saints Have Rejected Popularity In Favor Of Truth
He added: “Popularity is false… Great saints of the Church, such as Thomas More and John Fisher, rejected popularity… those today who are worried about the popularity of the mass media and public opinion… will be remembered as cowards and not as heroes of the Faith.”
Bishop Schneider observes ruefully that there are many whose views coincide with those of the pagan world who “declare themselves Catholics and even faithful to the Pope”, while “those who are faithful to the Catholic faith or those who are promoting the glory of Christ in the liturgy” are labeled extremists.
Such critics may assert that Bishop Schneider’s concern over Holy Communion is like worrying over the numbers of angels on a pinhead. But the bishop insists that treatment of the Eucharist is at the very heart of the crisis. “The Eucharist is at the heart of the Church,” he said. “When the heart is weak, the whole body is weak.”
He argued that receiving Communion in hand “contributes gradually to the loss of the Catholic faith in the Real Presence and in transubstantiation”.
Bishop Schneider also rejected the idea that concern for the liturgy is less important than, or even separate from, concern for the poor. “This is erroneous. The first commandment which Christ gave us was to adore God alone. Liturgy is not a meeting of friends. It is our first task to adore and glorify God in the liturgy and also in our manner of life. From a true adoration and love of God grows love for the poor and our neighbour. It is a consequence.”
The bishop’s views have been shaped by his early childhood, growing up as a persecuted German Catholic in the Soviet Union, where he even had to attend atheism lessons at school. His book Dominus Est discloses
how the German Catholic community kept alive their faith despite severe hardship and persecution. In his own experience, his mother and great aunt took great risks for their faith and on behalf of others in the community. So Bishop Schneider and his family were horrified at the liberal attitudes and practices in the West, especially in respect of Holy Communion, which had been so rare and so precious to the persecuted German Catholics of the Soviet Union.
Communion In The Hand Weakens Faith In The Real Presence!
Seemingly like the little boy in the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, the bishop now feels compelled to speak out and he cannot understand why others do not do the same. “It seems that the majority of the clergy and the bishops are content with this modern use of Communion in hand… For me this is incredible. How is this possible, when Jesus is present in the little Hosts?”
He continued: “There is the grievous fact of the loss of the Eucharistic fragments. And the fragments of the consecrated Host are crushed by feet. This is horrible! Our God, in our churches, is trampled by feet!”
Bishop Schneider admitted that he is “very sad that I am feeling myself as one who is shouting in the desert”.
He said: “It is time that the bishops raise their voices for the Eucharistic Jesus who has no voice to defend himself. Here is an attack on the Most Holy, an attack on the Eucharistic faith.”
The Holy Spirit Will Renew His Church!
But despite his concerns, Bishop Schneider is not pessimistic and believes that there is already a groundswell of support for traditional values that will, in time, renew the Church: “Little ones in the Church have been let down and neglected,” he said. “[But] they have kept the purity of their faith and they represent the true power of the Church in the eyes of God and not those who are in administration.
“I spoke with young students in Oxford and I was so much impressed by these students. I was so glad to see their purity of faith and their convictions, and the clear Catholic mind. This will renew the Church. So I am confident and hopeful also in respect of this crisis in the Church. The Holy Ghost will win this crisis with this little army.”
He added: “I am not worried about the future. The Church is Christ’s Church and He is the real head of the Church, the Pope is only the vicar of Christ. The soul of the Church is the Holy Spirit and He is powerful.”