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Bishop Schneider: If a Bishop or Pope Commands Me to Sin, “I Have to Refuse”

Bishop Schneider: Aspects of Second Vatican Council Might Be Corrected in the Future; Priests Must Also Come to Resist at Times

On 16 February 2017, Rorate Caeli published an interview with Bishop Athanasius Schneider, conducted in Mexico by a very polite and grateful Mauricio Ponce for Rorate Caeli and its Spanish partner, Adelante la Fe. John-Henry Westen from LifeSiteNews has already presented the bishop’s important words concerning the question as to whether, and under which conditions, Catholics might publicly criticize a pope. There are other statements from Bishop Schneider which are of great moral weight within the context of our current doctrinal and moral crisis in the Church.

With respect to several topics, the prelate spoke about the nature and status of the Second Vatican Council and whether some of its elements still might come to be corrected in the future; about the duty and right of priests to resist their own bishops when the Faith is clearly in danger; and about the Society of St. Pius X (SSPX) and their duty to preserve their integrity and identity for the sake of the Church.

When asked about the Second Vatican Council, Schneider showed that “the Council was primarily – as repeatedly stated even by Pope John XXIII and Pope Paul VI – a pastoral council; not a doctrinal or dogmatic council;” and he added “so it was the intention of the Church not to give with its documents a definitive teaching.” Schneider continues: “And so when there is no definitive teaching, there can be some development of these issues still, or even some corrections. And this is normal.” [my emphasis]

Bishop Schneider then gives us an example from the Church’s history concerning the Ecumenical Council of Florence which decided that the matter of the sacramental ordination of a priest was the actual handing of the Chalice to the candidate, according to St. Thomas’ teaching. However, says Schneider, there were in the Middle Ages other theologians who held that the matter of the act of priestly ordination was the laying on of the hands upon the future priest. Schneider explains:

But it was an Ecumenical Council. But, actually, after the Council, the Church permitted discussion, even against this position. They were theologians, and the popes never prohibited it. […] And so it was 400 years or more, until [Pope] Pius XII, in 1947, definitively established that the materia [matter] of the ordination is only – only! – the laying down of the hands.

It is after giving this historical example that Bishop Schneider goes on to say:

So, and therefore, even at the Second Vatican Council, there are texts and formulations which can be even changed – in a similar manner as the Council of Florence – because they are not definitive. And so we should create an atmosphere of discussions even on the issues of Vatican II. It is not against the authority of the Magisterium [to do so]. [my emphasis]

In Schneider’s eyes, we have had, in the last 50 or 60 years, “a very unhealthy, extreme attitude to accept or to interpret and look at Vatican II and its documents almost as infallible, ex cathedra. And this is not true.”

It is in this context that Bishop Schneider gives consent to Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre’s criticism of some elements of the Council:

And, therefore, I think that the just critics [i.e., criticism] of Monsignor Lefebvre and of the Society of St. Pius X to [concerning] some – not to the entire Council, no! – but to some expressions is really a help, will be a help for the Church. And when the Society of St. Pius X will be completely integrated as a canonical institute of the Church they can really officially give to the Church a good contribution to a necessary theological discussion and deepening some aspects of the Council which only had a temporal [temporally limited] character – it was only fifty years ago.

These comments of Bishop Schneider are important in two respects. First, he supports the idea that there might be aspects of the Second Vatican Council that will be proportionately corrected in the future; secondly, he praises the Society of St. Pius X for its differentiated criticism of that Council and he hopes that they will contribute more in the future to the Church’s discussion about this larger matter.

It might be helpful to also see what Bishop Schneider in general has to say about the SSPX and the possible danger of Pope Francis – or any pope in the future – pressuring it to makes changes after it has received the status of a personal prelature. If that were to happen – as a “hypothetical possibility” –

it would be on them [the SSPX] to resist and to preserve their identity […] they have to say “this is unjust, it is against our intentions to accept the prelature and it will destroy our charism,” and so then they have to resist and then, in my opinion, they have to say with all respect to the Holy See: “You can take away from us the prelature. We do not need this prelature, the most important [thing] is to preserve our identity for the benefit of the Church – for the benefit of the Church, not of us [ourselves], but of the Church.” And so, in this hypothetical case, they have to renounce again the prelature and continue [to be] as they are; and so they will lose nothing. It is upon them to preserve their identity. [my emphasis]

Thus Bishop Schneider opens up the possibility of a just resistance against the attempt of the Vatican to suppress the SSPX’s work, and he thereby indirectly seems to justify their past resistance, by which they were able to build up their work and organization as it stands now, to include the formation of traditional priests.

That Bishop Schneider defends the idea of a morally justified disobedience toward Church authorities can be seen in his discussion of two important cases: the case of Communion in the hand itself, and the case of handing such a Communion to the “remarried” divorcees. In both of these situations, Bishop Schneider explicitly proposes that priests may resist the orders of their superiors, for the sake of preserving the Catholic Faith.

With reference to the question as to whether a priest may refuse to give out Holy Communion into the hands of the faithful, Bishops Schneider quotes John Paul II’s Instruction Redemptoris Sacramentum (2004). According to this document, a priest has a right not to give Communion into the hands when he sees “a danger of profanation” (or worse!), explains Schneider. As an example, the prelate mentions that fragments of the Holy Eucharist can be lost on the ground or that there is a danger that the Host might be stolen. A priest, in such a case, “can refuse it [to give Communion in the hand].” [my emphasis] Schneider proposes that the priest should also then proceed to give a good Catechesis to his parish, explaining his decision. And he believes that the majority of the faithful would follow that priest’s instruction.

With regard to the question of the “remarried” divorcees and whether they may, after their own decision of conscience, go to Holy Communion, Schneider says:

No, this is against the constant teaching of the Church. It is the principle of subjectivism, ultimately of Luther, of Protestantism. […] No, the conscience is not the [ultimate] judge; one has to hear the voice of God: this is the real conscience. […] There is the Commandment of God, it is clear, and the teaching of the Church not to commit adultery and to be in the state of Grace – even objectively, not only subjectively – and in this manner to receive Holy Communion because the Sacraments are not a private action of everyone. The Sacraments are public, the most public action of the Church.

Schneider mentions that there are “objective criteria” with regard to the Sacraments, based on Holy Scripture (St. Paul) and the constant Sacred Tradition. When asked about the recent threats to be suspended a divinis addressed to priests on the Island of Malta if they were to refuse to give Communion to the “remarried,” Schneider has some clear words to say:

When a bishop does this [pressuring priests to give Communion to the “remarried”], he commits a grave abuse of power; he is ordering to sin. And when a bishop – or even a pope – commands me to sin, I have to refuse these [commands] because I have to obey God. And therefore, in this case, the priest has to say: “You Excellency, dear Bishop, you order me to commit a sin, and I cannot [do] this, I have to obey God. And I cannot obey you in this case.” [my emphasis]

With concern, Bishop Schneider adds that he hopes this [pressuring of priests] “will not spread in the Church […] such drastic and abusive norms.” The German prelate from Kazakhstan, who himself as a child had to live under Communism in the Soviet Union, then gives all of us some important advice and strength: “He [such a pressured priest] has to resist even to the extent that he will lose his office. Better to lose all, but not to commit sin against the Commandment of God in this case.” [My emphasis]

Here it might be helpful to remember Cardinal Gerhard Müller’s words as written in his new book The Pope – Mission and Mandate:

Even the highest ecclesial authority could not intervene into the “substance of a Sacrament.” [A quote from the Council of Trent] The Church has preferred, and still prefers, severe disadvantages rather than to dissolve only one single valid sacramental marriage – as in the case of the disputes with Christian rulers (e.g., the split of the Catholic Church of England from Rome through Henry VIII of England) or with the prevailing public opinion. The Church has to obey here God more than man and may not sacrifice the Truth of the Gospel – which surpasses mere natural reason – to a mere human calculation. [my emphasis]

Moreover, the German cardinal also said, as I recently recorded:

Müller then gives an illustration and says that a pope could not change the “inherent criteria of admission to the Sacraments” and “give sacramental absolution and allow Holy Communion for a Catholic who is in the state of mortal sin without repentance or firm resolve to henceforth avoid that sin without thereby himself sinning with regard to the Truth of the Gospel and the Salvation of those faithful who are thus being led astray into error.” [my emphasis]

The criteria of resistance against a bishop – or even a pope – are the Truth of the Gospel and the Salvation of Souls. Here, Cardinal Müller and Bishop Schneider are defending the same truths. Which is to say that, when it comes down to it, we, at such times, have to obey God more than man. St. Joan of Arc comes here to mind as a saintly example of this.

To return to the role of the SSPX in our current Church crisis. Bishop Schneider explicitly says in this new interview that “in the time of crisis, we have to join [together] all the good forces.” That means that “the work of Archbishop Lefebvre will be able to do their contribution to the edification of the Church, to the preservation of Faith, and to the education of priests, especially.” As we reported on 12 December 2016, Bishop Schneider regards the suppression of the work of the SSPX by the Holy See in the past as an act of injustice. He then also proceeded to say, with regard to the possibility of the SSPX becoming a canonical prelature: “This would only be an act of rendering justice – quite belatedly – to the unjust suppression of the Society in 1975 on the part of the Holy See.” [my emphasis]

Furthermore, we would like to remind our readers of another important initiative earlier taken by Archbishop Guido Pozzo, Secretary of the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei (PCED), in August of 2016. He then said in an interview, with regard to some of the Vatican II documents which are not dogmatic, but pastoral – Nostra Aetate about interreligious dialogue; the decree Unitatis Redintegratio on ecumenism; and the Declaration Dignitatis Humanae on religious liberty:

They are not about doctrines or definitive statements, but, rather, about instructions and orienting guides for pastoral practice. One can [thus legitimately] continue to discuss these pastoral aspects after the [proposed] canonical approval [of the SSPX], in order to lead us to further [and acceptable] clarifications.

It is to be hoped that statements such as these recorded again now in this article may give more spiritual and intellectual scope for the Catholic Church’s discussions on matters of Faith and Morals, which seem to be so much under siege at the moment, and which, at the same time, are demanding from us our own loyalty to Christ’s Own Words and Teaching, not only on marriage, but also on the nature of the Church and its relations to other religions which seem to have been conflated and confused in the recent past. Encouraged by Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s strong truth and charitable witness, let us be faithful, persevering witnesses of the Faith ourselves, and, if possible, everywhere.

Watch the full interview with Bishop Schneider here:

77 thoughts on “Bishop Schneider: If a Bishop or Pope Commands Me to Sin, “I Have to Refuse””

  1. And I say Bishop Schneider for pope! Pius XIII. If not him then Cardinal Robert Sarah also as Pius XIII. Lastly, if not those two, then Cardinal Burke as Leo XIV

    The points about the cotroversal documentsof Vatican II being mere pastoral guides and not definitive statements of faith needs to be stressed more! Many people see Vatican II not just as the infallible 21st ecumenical council of the church… But rather as the ONLY ecumenical council of the church which trumps all others and is the new infallible truth.

    Despite previous popes and cardinals persistently saying it was mere a pastoral council that did not invoke the infallible teaching authority of the church.

    In actual fact, it is the least authoritative ecumenical council in the history of the church.

    A future pope (named Pius 🙂 ) will correct, infallibly, the errors in some of the pastoral guides in the documents of Vatcan II.

    • In the book written by Fr. Hug Benson “The Lord of The World” had told that Bishop Franklin at the most critical moment of the underground Catholic Church was elected as Pope, jumped over Cardinal ranking. God works so mysterious that always gives us a big surprise as He did on Nov. 8, 2016 – Donald Trump gets elected.

  2. This should be sent to every Bishop in every Diocese in the World. It is the antidote to the disease that first infected Luther’s and now infects Pope Francis – a faithful Bishop speaking the Truth which exposes the heretical lie. A Holy Priest, filled with the Holy Spirit, defending the Holy Church.

      • Bishop Schneider is wrong about SSPX. They are all likely in mortal sin due to their schism and other gravely erroneous beliefs.

        One example of their mortal sin is their firm belief that the English language Mass “offends God”, and that daily Mass is unnecessary. This is mortally sinful scrupulosity and/or demonism.

        Sorry folks, SSPX is just as dangerous as Pope Francis and Cardinal Kasper.

        • According to Benedict XVI, they are not in schism. According to Cardinal Mueller, they are. What is the ordinary Catholic to do, when a Pope in 2009 and the Prefect of the SCDF in the succeeding pontificate do not agree ? They cannot both be correct.

        • They aren’t in schism. The church has cleared that up under the reign of Pope Benedict. They are in irregular canonical status

          They are right about the preference of God’s favour to Latin. Not because vernacular is evil but becaue its susceptible to errors from translation.

          In an exorcism that I read, the priest detailed his conversation with a legion of demons (Judas, beelzabub and a few others) who were each under the command of Our Lady and God to testify the truth of the errors of our time. They angrily divulged the truths of :

          – The Tridentine mass was almost perfect and only needed one or two small changes
          – Demons hate the mass of St Pius V as they call it
          – The new mass is valid but has less graces due to so many things (such as crossing yourself 33 times) and specific prayers of the old mass that warded off demons and conferred Grace
          – God’s displeasure of versus populum and how ad orientem is correct
          – God’s displeasure at communion in the hand and Eucharist ministers as it confuses the role of the clergy and further that only sacred hands should touch the body and blood of our Lord
          – women having any place in the sanctuary whether as altar servers or readers. St paul explitly stated in scripture that women have no place in the mass except as to remain silent in the congregation
          – Vatican II though valid and ecumenical had demons working hard in it and is a council that displeased God due to it not being necessary and the reforms it made have scandalised the faith and only confused many. The holy spirit kept Vatican II from teaching full on heresy as the lineral bishops wanted. However the demons went on to clarify that God let this happen so that prophecy may be fulfilled.
          – That the SSPX (or Econe as the demons called them) are doing good work. The demons despised the work being done by the SSPX for the preservation of the catholic faith.
          – Even if the tridentine mass is not available, a catholic must attend the novus Ordo or any eastern catholic liturgy as staying home and praying is a mortal sin (not fulfilling uour Sunday obligation) as there are valid masses around you.

          Again I say they were speaking under the command of God and Our Lady. Take this as you wish

          • All this fuss about daily Mass! Our obligation is to go to Mass on Sunday. Other Masses are wonderful, and we should strive to attend as many as we can: but they are not a matter of salvation, nor are they a badge of holiness. How many saints were not able to attend daily Mass!

          • So it is wrong for a woman in the congregation to say the responses and sing the songs? They must remain absolutely silent?

          • This is very interesting. Could you please provide the source for this information? I’d be interested to read the full thing. Thanks.

        • Sorry, guest, but you are wrong. The Catholic Church went leftward; and is dashed upon the rocks. SSPX stayed the course.

    • So the SSPX gets hitched …regularized…with Francis. Subsequently, when the honeymoon is over, who will be awarded the house, the little Maltese puppy, and bank accounts when it all moves into court, ecclesiastical or otherwise? .

      • Hi bosco – When the SSPX rejected the offers of Pope JPII and Pope Benedict for return to the One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church, it now seems as though a door closed on the SSPX. The door Francis opens is definitely not the one that remains closed to them while Francis is in Charge. In the future there might be two very different churches, one headed by the Successor of Peter, one headed by the successor of Francis, if that occurs it will be interesting if the SSPX will once again miss the opportunity to repent and reconcile themselves to the True Church of Christ, align themselves with the false church of Francis, or remain committed to the successor of Archbishop Lefebvre, to their own doom, as is the case for all who try to reform the Church from outside its walls. I pray they have the opportunity to rejoin the One True Church, but, to imagine they will be guided by the Holy Spirit after rejecting JPII and Benedict might just be wishful thinking.

        • Very thoughtful observations fniper. God is worshipped in Spirit and in Truth and may it please Him that, with our prayers and supplications that His Will be done, the SSPX will find and choose the Way no matter how difficult it might prove humanly speaking.

        • Successor of Francis is speculative at this point because Cardinal Burke has started the process of potentially having Pope Francis removed. We shall see what happens in the future. There is already an informal schism in the Catholic Church in my opinion.

          • Hi i4t4a – There will definitely be a successor to Francis, as long as the agenda he promotes exists, there will be a successor to him one day. Hopefully not in the Catholic Church, but his cause will be carried forward as long as the humanism warps the minds of men.

          • Hi Winslow – Maybe you could point out three of the most relevant remarks you believe I missed. I would appreciate you doing so. And then we can discuss those remarks.

          • “it would be on them [the SSPX] to resist and to preserve their identity […] they have to say “this is unjust, it is against our intentions to accept the prelature and it will destroy our charism,” and so then they have to resist and then, in my opinion, they have to say with all respect to the Holy See: “You can take away from us the prelature. We do not need this prelature, the most important [thing] is to preserve our identity for the benefit of the Church – for the benefit of the Church, not of us [ourselves], but of the Church.” And so, in this hypothetical case, they have to renounce again the prelature and continue [to be] as they are; and so they will lose nothing. It is upon them to preserve their identity.”

            That’s one. It seems he doesn’t consider the SSPX schismatic as you do.

            “That Bishop Schneider defends the idea of a morally justified disobedience toward Church authorities can be seen in his discussion of two important cases: the case of Communion in the hand itself, and the case of handing such a Communion to the “remarried” divorcees. In both of these situations, Bishop Schneider explicitly proposes that priests may resist the orders of their superiors, for the sake of preserving the Catholic Faith.”

            There’s another. Though he doesn’t mention the SSPX, the principle he states applies to them. “priests may resist the orders of their superiors, for the sake of preserving the Catholic Faith.”

            That’s exactly what Abp. Lefebvre did and what the SSPX continues to do. If you’re looking for heresy, look at VII’s document on religious freedom. It is pure heresy and a departure from settled doctrine and the magisterial teaching of several popes.

            There is more, but that should make the point. (Sorry I’m late with this. I lost your message.)

          • Hi Winslow – I agree, I am not as tactful as Bishop Schneider, he is a master of using language that does not offend. I on the other hand, believe that the first step to reunion with the Church is a recognition that the SSPX is separated from the Church, not as heretics, not as apostates but as schismatics. But in the end separation is separation, and the consequence is exactly the same in eternity. And if being tactful results in eternal damnation of the souls subjected to that tact, I say better truthful than tactful.

            As to the second point, he makes the case for those within the Church, not those outside the Church. It is a well worn tactic – make a statement which can be interpreted as supporting the SSPX and thus legitimizing it, without actually doing so. I suppose it is meant to offer a bridge back to the Church by creating a common cause, when in fact it is more likely to mistakenly cause the members of the SSPX to claim that they have no need to cross that bridge since they share a common foe.

            I think you know that when Abp. Lefebvre crossed the Rubicon when “In 1988, Archbishop Lefebvre, now fearing that he would die and leave no one to ordain priests for the SSPX, sought an agreement with the Holy See for the lawful continuation of the Society. After reaching an agreement with Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, acting for Pope St. John Paul II, Archbishop Lefebvre broke the agreement and, in an act which was ipso facto schismatic, ordained 4 bishops without a papal mandate. This action incurred an automatic excommunication under canon 1387,”

          • Hello, fniper. I’m finally getting back to you. I’m sorry you find Bishop Schneifer to be a schemer. That’s what I read in this remark:

            “he is a master of using language that does not offend.”
            There’s a lot in that line. I’m sure you don’t think offending is admirable, but you seem to think not offending is somehow deceitful. Bishop Schneider is one of the only prelates in the world who is willing to stand up against the Bergoglio machine. That he does so tactfully and respectfully is laudable, IMO.
            There is no question the SSPX is separated from the Church. The question is who is responsible for the separation. You did not reply to my description of the VII document on religious liberty, but there’s where the problem begins. Archbishop Lefebvre saw at once the statements in that document were heretic. That paper is prominent in a book I’m writing. I’ve done a lot of research on the subject and there’s no doubt Vatican II was the poison that led us to Bergoglio. Abp. Lefebvre saw that and acted accordingly. He stated clearly he would not accept a heretical paper from a council of the Catholic Church. Is there something wrong with that? They did all they could to get him to bend to their will. His refusal shows the kind of courage that is sorely lacking in the Church today. For him it was either join the heretics or remain in the Faith. You fault him for remaining faithful to Christ.
            He had no choice but to ordain four priests as bishops. He saw his end coming and did not want to see his fidelity to the Church reduced to nothing. He was technically wrong in the matter and that’s the only thing I can fault him for, but he had no choice. By the time he ‘crossed the Rubicon,” as you put it, the die had been cast and he was not at fault for that.
            The rotten fruit of Vatican II has cost the Church dearly and I can find nothing to defend in that disaster. My admiration for Bishop Schneider has no bounds. He has no personal agenda here. His only concern is for Holy Mother Church. I wish more bishops would join him and those few fighting alone.

          • Hi Winslow – Thank You for responding to my post. I respect Bishop Schneider, and believe he is dealing with all issues regarding the SSPX with the amount of tact necessary to keep lines of communication open with the SSPX. One way of measuring the virtue of Abp. Lefebvre actions is to observe the fruits of his actions, with the benefit of the passage of time. The first of these fruits would be the position the SSPX is in currently, with respect to those who did not follow his path away from the Church, in offering correction to Francis. It appears that the Cardinals who remained in the Church post Vatican II are now able to challenge Francis, in a credible and effective way, because they have recourse to the mechanisms in place within the Church to do so. The SSPX can only stand outside, with as much legitimacy to challenge Francis as any other heretical, apostate or schismatic group has, since they have alienated themselves from the functioning of the Church. They have delegitimized themselves, a very painful truth, but one which should bring one of the most consequential to the surface. The SSPX is unable to defend the Church, now, when it is crucial, for all who are faithful to the Church to do so in opposition to Francis, because they have already betrayed the Bride of Christ. Another way to assess the virtue of Abp. Lefebvre’s choice to separate from the Church, is to measure the state of the SSPX. Has the tree he planted remained healthy, holy and undivided? No it has not, if the cause was to preserve the Truth, the SSPX has failed quite spectacularly, as division riddles its body, this is not the sign of God’s Blessing. In fact it appears to be splintering into factions as rapidly as those who justified similar actions did 500 years ago. Once you open the door to disobedience to the legitimate teaching authority of the Church, apparently it doesn’t take too long until cults of personality overwhelm the unity which is the hallmark of the presence and of the Holy Spirit. The fact that no other Bishop joined Abp. Lefebvre’s cause should have caused him to reconsider his position, which he did not. The fact that you claim he had no other choice than to ordain four priests to be bishops, was not a mere technical error, it was the final and unfortunately for him, since he never repented of this action and recanted this diabolical action, the reason he is separated from Christ for eternity. Something not unique in the history of Salvation, how many persons have used their claim to love Jesus to justify acts which alienated them from the Church and Her Sacraments meant to lead them to Salvation. The list is very long, it includes every single heretic, apostate and schismatic, whether we know their names or not, God knew the reality that they attempted to find Salvation outside the Church, in other words they trusted that which the demons tempted them to believe rather than that which the Advocate Jesus sent preserved within the One True Church. A Church divided can not stand, and will not stand, but that becomes a moot point when you have abandoned the Church, as the SSPX has done. To defend the SSPX is no different than to justify the scourging at the Pillar, the wounds created by each are exactly the same.

          • Hi amoeba – Benedict is the last person to be the Successor of Peter, the Vicar of Christ and the Holy Father. You can’t be one without being the others as well. Francis is the anti-Vicar of Christ(he contradicts the Words of Jesus), the unholy Father(he tends toward the profane and I have never witness an authentic holiness in this man of the world), and thus not someone whom Peter would recognize as his Successor. We live in a time where being more Catholic than this pope is a necessity for one’s salvation, if that requires bold words, so be it.

          • Do you believe, then, that there is an unbroken line prior to Benedict XVI, or that there were other anti-Vicars prior (thinking specifically of those such as Alexander VI, Pope as well as patriarch of the Borgia family line)?

          • Hi amoeba – It isn’t a matter of belief it is a matter of fact – there is an unbroken line of Popes from Peter to Benedict XVI. In that line which connects Peter to Francis there was never a Vicar of Christ who contradicted the Words of Christ. Were there bad popes? I will leave that to God and not to those who write there version of history. We both live in the time of Francis, we are witnesses, not historians.

          • You are being hypocritical here. You are saying that, factually, there is an unbroken line of Popes up until Benedict who never contradicted the Words of Christ. You then say it is up to God alone to know if there were bad Popes in that line. Those are incompatible lines of reasoning. Furthermore, by your lines of reasoning, future Catholics living after the time of Francis will necessarily conclude that he was a true Vicar of Christ- as, just like us, they will live in the time of their own Pope, and be witnesses, not historians.

          • Hi amoeba – Here is my reasoning, any Pope that directly contradicts the Words of Christ is not HIs Vicar. Francis is the first to do so as Pope. I assure you if Francis does not recant his teachings, no future Catholic will claim that He was the Vicar of Christ. It will be a definitional understanding for all who are Truly Catholic. Of course, as now, there will be many making the false claim that they are Truly Catholic.

          • Hi nip. Your last sentence describes exactly what the SSPX is doing and has done since VII closed. You speak with forked tongue when you damn them. But I forgive you. Your heart is in the right place.

          • Hi Winslow – They have damned themselves, if they refuse to reconcile themselves to the Bride of Christ, with both humility and a firm resolve to defend Her from Her enemies, rather than being one themselves. Benign enemies suffer the same fate as the most obnoxious one’s do, because heaven will never open Her gates to either. Bishop Schneider will be judged on the advice he renders to these souls, and how clearly he makes his true disposition known. It is not the time for tact, it is time for the Truth.

          • It appears you are talking past me, my friend. There’s no indication in this latest message from you that you have read a word of what I posted about Vatican II and its role in this dispute with the faithful Catholics of the SSPX.
            As plainly as I can say it, the SSPX are not responsible for the problem. Their ultimatum was either do what we say or you’re excommunicated. As a matter of faith, they chose the latter. I support them for just that reason. Like them, I will not abandon what I know to be true just because someone tells me I must. That hasn’t happened to me, but it has happened to them.

          • Hi Winslow – I too, consider you a friend. I have read your posts. Most criminals make the argument that they are not responsible for their crimes. I think that has something to do with the age of psychobabble through which we pass. It does seem reasonable that the children of this age could cause Jesus to wonder if He would, when He returns, find Faith in Him on earth. Psychological Garbage has indeed replaced Faith in the vast majority of men, just as it was intended to do by the evil men who were its architects.

          • You are speaking in generalities. I am referencing facts. Abp. Lefebvre saw what is, in the religions freedom document, heresy and objected to it. It was heresy then and it’s still heresy. Nobody at the Council told him he was wrong. They just said obey us or else. If you like that kind of leadership, VII is for you.
            Read the document then read the Archbishop’s response and tell me why you think he was wrong. And, please don’t say he was wrong not to obey them. That won’t fly. An orthodox Catholic bishop is not obligated to obey an heretic bishop. Period.

          • Hi Winslow – Why was Abp. Alone? Was he the only holy Bishop of his day? No, but he did separate himself from them. As have you.

          • “Why was Abp. Alone? Was he the only holy Bishop of his day?”
            Why is Cardinal Burke alone? Your question is no defense of your argument. You have made truth subject to a popular vote. I’m sure you see the fallacy in that proposition.
            Instead of asking why was he alone you should be asking whether he was right or wrong about the conciliar documents he opposed. This entire subject is strictly about right and wrong, about what is true and what is false concerning the settled doctrines of the Faith. Obviously you are reluctant to discuss that issue. Why is that?
            Abp. Lefebvre did not separate himself from the Church, which is Jesus Christ Himself. The fathers of Vatican II separated themselves from the Church. They fooled and cheated the Faithful and cost millions their faith. The damage remains. Just look at the result in the Church today. Bergoglio is the exemplar of the rotten fruit of that Council. We have a de facto schism in the Church today which Abp. Lefebvre and others predicted. Are you prepared to say this Church of Bergoglio is the true Church. Are you all in with Bergoglio? If not, why not? Does the True Church exist today? If ‘Yes’ where?
            The SSPX celebrates the Catholic Mass. The Modern Church celebrates a Protestant Mass. the SSPX does not allow Communion in the hand. The modern Church let’s anyone handle it. The SSPX does not give Communion to non-Catholics. The modern Church does it routinely. The SSPX is faithful to Jesus Christ and His Gospel. The modern Church makes what it wishes of His Gospel. The only reason I don’t attend an SSPX Mass is because the institutional Church has marginalized them and I am a Catholic. Telling me I have separated myself from the Church is nothing but a cheap shot and not worthy of a follower of Christ.
            To put a period on my end of this discussion, you are wrong. You are basing your opinions on a fictitious interpretation of Vatican II and a refusal to look at the facts. Like Abp. Lefebvre, I will not invest my faith in a lie.
            You can have the last word.

          • Hi Winslow – Thank You for making my point, that unlike Abp. Lefebvre, Cardinal Burke doesn’t stand alone. In fact the last time an apostle or one of their successors stood alone, by their own actions, separated from their fellow bishop before Abp. Lefebvre, was Judas, and he, like Abp. Lefebvre betrayed Christ as well. Don’t follow the follower of Judas, Winslow, or you will be damned. And that is indeed an appropriate place to end this conversation.

          • You have posted a conundrum for them. It is impossible for them to reconcile with those who have told them they must obey their heretic masters and at the same defend Mother Church from her enemies who are those same people who issues the ultimatum. Please explain how that’s possible.

          • Hi Winslow – You make the same argument the divorced and remarried make who wish to partake in the Sacraments without repenting of the Sin Christ, Himself, clearly identified. The inability to conform to a teaching of the Church makes the Church wrong and not them. And since the Church is wrong, because I say they are, I can not only justify the actions which contradict the Church, I am free to set up my own form of the Church, even though it is an abomination to the Lord. The same spirit guides both the SSPX and the unrepentant adulterers, as both make the same appeal, let us be as we are, do not apply the teachings of the Church to us, and then we will consider reconciliation to the Church on our terms. Here is the true conundrum, Francis is guided by that spirit as well, and he will allow those who rebel against the Church to return without renouncing their demand that they “remain as they are”. And that will lead to the same damnation all who follow that spirit have always experienced. Wake up, Winslow, and realize that you are just as much an enemy of Christ as any heretic, apostate or schismatic has ever been.

          • “Hi Winslow – You make the same argument the divorced and remarried make who wish to partake in the Sacraments without repenting of the Sin”

            Nonsense. Please, if you want to have a serious conversation with me, reply to what I say, not to the inappropriate analogies you are prone to make.

            “The inability to conform to a teaching of the Church makes the Church wrong and not them.”

            You haven’t said anything. You merely posted another generality. It has holes in it. You haven’t alleged the teaching of the Church is an orthodox teaching. You simply say we are to obey the teaching whether it’s right or wrong. While you slam Bergoglio and his teachings.

            “The same spirit guides both the SSPX and the unrepentant adulterers, as both make the same appeal, let us be as we are, do not apply the teachings of the Church to us, and then we will consider reconciliation to the Church on our terms.”
            You appear to be very comfortable atop your perch on the Seat of Judgment. Your analogy is absurd. You have yet to address any of the particulars. By your law we should all be following Bergoglio into hell.
            What does the SSPX teach that the Church did not teach before Vatican II? Answer that before you make any more analogies. Then maybe we can discuss what Vatican II taught that the Church did not teach before that unfortunate gathering.
            Bottom line, you’re not making sense to me. You make serious accusations, pronounce draconian judgments and condemn with abandon. No facts, no relevant argument, no logic,, no sense. Just you being a Pope in the Bergoglio mold. Not convincing at all, I’m afraid.

          • Hi Winslow – Sin is sin, Winslow, and it will always have similarities which define them as a class. It is not what the SSPX teaches it is what it has done, I outlined that above, most pointedly the appointing of Bishops by Abp. Lefebvre, without the authority to do so. If the SSPX had a unified set of teachings why is there division among the bishops Abp. Lefebvre appointed? As I said, those trapped in heresy, apostasy and schism or not disposed to listening to any position but their own. And that has eternal consequences. Once again I assure you that anyone who is in a state of separation from the Church, whom begins their attempts at reconciliation with the Church with the words, I will return as long as I can stay as I am, repeats the cycle which leads to damnation not salvation. I have never attempted to convince you of anything, Winslow, that is the mission of the Holy Spirit, who insures Salvation to those inside the Church, not those who refuse to reconcile themselves to the Church He guides. For someone who rejects their sins and seeks holiness, the connection between unrepentant adulterers and those in the SSPX is actually very straightforward. It requires no seat of judgment to perch upon, only fidelity to Jesus Christ and the Advocate He sent, and which all sinners reject.

  3. Poor Bishop Schneider, so pious, so sincere, so cautious. Where does one get the impression from him that the church is damn near collapse from the betrayals of Vat ll, the conciliar popes, most bishops and priests. Bergoglio has implicitly or otherwise commanded him to sin, over and over again. Yet he persists in his delusion that he has not succumbed. Bah, Humbug!

    • If Bishop Schneider has persisted in some kind of “delusion that he has not succumbed” — I do not think that is the case at all — then he’s not alone in delusion. There are others who arrogate to themselves the ability to guess correctly what another man has done or failed to do, or even to read another man’s mind, to peer into his soul. Now, THAT is delusional thinking.

      • Very good,. I’m sure you feel justified in saying sarcastically that Healey must be a “mind reader”. But it’s nothing like that.

        Cardinal Burke and the other 3, plus Bishop Schneider, are the only bishops speaking out. Unfortunately, like it or not, they are Modernists, i. e., Material heretics,. They approve of much of the heresies and blasphemies that Bergoglio has inflicted on the church. Why? Because they are morally compromised by the heresy of Modernism. And they are blind to their own sins. And if you don’t know that or that Bergoglio is corrupt, then there is nothing I can say to convince you.

        The other thing about the Dubia and Bishop Schneider that p—es me off is that they are so half- —ed. So timid. So apologetic. Soooo boring. Schneider said ” If a bishop or pope commands me to sin…” This has nothing to do with theoretical questions concerning any bishop being coerced into sinning by any hypothetical pope. This is about Jorge Bergoglio and his intimidation of the bishops and cardinals. And Bishop Schneider should have mentioned PF by name. He didn’t because he is a moral coward. But by golly he sure is pious. Regarding these questions about AL, they the Fab 4 and Bishop Schneider have the truth on their side. But you would never know it from their behaviour. They are all pious talk. But no action. Just put it off into the indefinite future. Like I said some what amusingly in my comment above — Bah, Humbug!

        • Pious talk + reverent Mass + Prayer + Clear clarifications in writing (did you read his “Preferential Option for the Family”?) = ACTION!!

          What you describe as half—-ed, timid, apologetic and boring is what I call respectful. I much prefer his calm demeanour, no doubt a gift of the Holy Spirit, where I can absorb his very clear interpretations of Church teaching, and that calm permeates into me. Would you rather see him acting out like the ranting, raving, unrelenting anti-Trump lunatics?

          Honestly, we have nothing to worry about. God is still in heaven, still in charge, and He has allowed all of this to happen for our own good. Haven’t we all dug up our old dusty Catechism books to study our faith since Pope Francis got elected? THAT is the best thing that could ever happen within the Catholic Church.

        • You remind me of some people I know. I’m one of those gun-totters that leftist phonies are always decrying and seeking to disarm. I know a lot of others who also exercise their 2nd Amendment rights. Most of them are the most reasonable people one could ever hope to meet, responsible and ever mindful of the responsibility they assume when they holster a gun. But, lamentably, there are some — very few, fortunately — who go around half-cocked (no pun intended) and act temerariously while carrying a firearm. Rather than see their weapon as a tool for use in emergencies, they regard it as an indication they are a bit better than the average “wimp” who chooses not to carry. You remind me of the latter.

        • What would you have them do? Are you certain they are not doing something about the Bergoglio matter? Your comfortable perch from which you view the landscape is not theirs. It’s easy to throw stones. What else are you doing? Anything to get rid of Bergoglio?

  4. Bishop Schneider once again shows us the right example of what being a Catholic means e.g. Fidelity to Jesus Christ and the truth of the faith is above all things.

  5. By their very nature ALL Ecumenical councils [ & are doctrinal [they teach on faith or morals and do so without error] AND pastoral [concerned with the supreme law of the Church which is salvation of souls] cf. Pope St. John XXIII’s Opening Address to the Council []. An Ecumenical council which has supposedly taught error [an impossibility] can neither be doctrinal nor pastoral.
    On the Council of Florence –

    • A pastoral ecumenical council can teach error as it doesn’t invoke the infallible teaching authority of the church. It’s is ecumenical because it’s decisions are universally binding.

      If Vatican II were doctrinal (taught definitively) and invoked the infallible teaching authority of the church, THEN it would be impossible for the council to teach error. But only on matters pertaining to doctrinal statements on faith and morals.

      For example the 6th council taught monothelitism was an error correctly (dogmatic definition) but incorrectly excommunicated honorius for the charge of heresy (pastoral decision)… Honorius never taught monothelitism as the western church has always known. He spoke of one will of humanity solely as his scribe testified.. Not the monothelite error of one will of divinity and humanity together.

      Pastoral decisions of a council are not infallible unless the pastoral practice is based on doctrine.

      Did Vatican II teach anything wrong? I think so. But if it didn’t, it came awfully darn close to It! Yes we do need, at least, a syllabus of errors

      • It’s not that he taught monotheletism; Honorius was condemned because he did not oppose it:

        “And in addition to these we decide that Honorius also, who was Pope of Elder Rome, be with them cast out of the Holy Church of God, and be anathematized with them, because we have found by his letter to Sergius that he followed his opinion in all things and confirmed his wicked dogmas.”

        Decree of the Sixth Ecumenical Council

        • Yeah he didn’t teach monothelitism but the 6th council believed he did explicitly called him a heretic for believing the error of sergius of Constantinople..

          Your quote even proves this where it says:

          “Honorius also, who was Pope of Elder Rome…because we have found by his letter to Sergius THAT HE FOLLOWED HIS OPINION IN ALL THINGS and confirmed his wicked dogmas.”

          Look at Pope Adrian VI :

          ” “After his death Honorius was anathematized by the Eastern
          Church. We must remember that he was accused of heresy, a crime which
          legitimizes the resistance of inferiors to superiors, together with the
          rejection of their pernicious doctrines.”
          (Allocution III, Lect. In Conc. VIII, act. VII)

      • Cf. Catholic Encyclopedia > C > General Councils [] and Catholic Library > The 21 Ecumenical Councils [] and my comments on this matter elsewhere on 1P5.

    • A pastoral ecumenical council can teach error as it doesn’t invoke the infallible teaching authority of the church. It’s is ecumenical because it’s decisions are universally binding.

      If Vatican II were doctrinal (taught definitively) ans invoked the infallible teaching authority of the church, THEN it would be impossible for the council to teach error.

      Pastoral decisions of a council are not infallible unless the pastoral practice is based on doctrine.

      Did Vatican II teach anything wrong? I think so. But if it didn’t, it came awfully darn close to It! Yes we do need, at least, a syllabus of errors

    • No. You can look up good old ecclesiology manuals such as Berry’s “Church of Christ” which explains that ecumenical councils can, if they so choose, teach authentically but non infallibly. It is not as automatic as you think. The same basic conditions need to be satisfied as for when a Pope teaches infallibly. One of those conditions is that it needs to be “defined” or in other words proposed definitively. Not everything at every ecumenical council touching on doctrine is proposed definitively. Theologians such as Bellarmine did not even hold that the doctrinal chapters were infallible – only the solemn anathemas attached at the end.

      • So before the Council of Ephesus [] i.e., wherein the Church proclaimed & taught that Mary is truly the Mother of God, she wasn’t before that [or that that teaching was liable to error]?
        All the Church teaches in faith & morals [i.e., her doctrine] that was deposited with the LORD and her, and closing with the death of the last Apostle John [or connected with this deposit], is infallible [without error], just as before it is formally defined [becomes a dogma] as it is after such a formulation.

        • Infallibility is to do with our certainty of a truth. Of course the truth is just the same before as afterwards. But the point is not every declaration of the Church falls in the category of infallible – there is authoritative but non infallible teaching as well. And if you deny that such a category exists you are going to get yourself into a vicious circle as it’s taught by VII.

          My point is simply that ecumenical councils can sometimes teach at that authoritative level.

          • “Dogmas are just doctrines formally defined.”

            Not quite. You can formally define doctrines that are not dogmas. The differentiator between them is not formal definition but whether it is taught as revealed or only connected to revelation.

            And of course there are many infallible teachings that are not formally defined – those that are taught by the universal and ordinary magisterium. But whether taught by the extraordinary or ordinary magisterium any infallible teaching must met the general conditions. Amongst those conditions is that the teaching be proposed as definitive i.e as without doubt.

            OTHER teachings are taught authoritatively but not infallibly. For instance, a Pope may teach authoritatively but without engaging his charism of infallibility. The assent required for these teachings is “religious submission of mind and will”. For instance Lumen Gentium says: “This religious submission of mind and will must be shown in a special way to the authentic magisterium of the Roman Pontiff, even when he is not speaking ex cathedra.”

            Now my point is that whilst definitive conciliar teaching is infallible not everything at an ecumenical council is definitive teaching. In fact the CDF only required of Lefebrve with respect to the teaching in Dignitatis Humanae his “religious submission of mind and will” because the teaching was not proposed definitively within that document.

          • Not quite. You can formally define doctrines that are not dogmas. The differentiator between them is not formal definition but whether it is taught as revealed or only connected to revelation.

            1) Utter rubbish!!!
            2) Why appeal to Lumen Gentium when your acceptance of Vatican II is tentative?
            No point trying to have discussion with one who doesn’t even have their definitions right.
            Cf. Catholic Encyclopedia > D > Dogma –

          • Indeed. If you look at the article it says:

            “But according to a long-standing usage a dogma is now understood to be a truth appertaining to faith or morals, revealed by God, transmitted from the Apostles in the Scriptures or by tradition, and proposed by the Church for the acceptance of the faithful.”

            Doctrine is the wider term – it includes dogmas. But it also includes teachings that are have a connection either logical or historical to revelation. These can be taught infallibly by a Pope or ecumenical council even without being taught as revealed per se. See the CDF’s commentary on Ad Tuendam Fidem.

            Even so this point is different from the main one that I was making which is that there is a category of authoritative teachings.

  6. We just have to refuse when someone attempts to force what is not God’s down our throat, or into our mind or heart.

    Just say , “NO”, for I believe………….


  7. When Abp Lefebvre did and said as Bp Schneider recommends, it…did not go well for him. The proof of this statement is to be found, in great detail, in the 3 volumes of the late Michael Davies’ ‘Apologia pro Marcel Lefebvre’, as well as elsewhere.

    If the Abp’s attititudes and words were wrong between 1974 and 1988, how can they be right now ? And if they were right – what are we to make of those who regarded him as wrong ? Again, and again, and again, without ending, criticism of the HF now, and praise of the SSPX now, and agreement with Bp Schneider’s words about the SSPX and about the Abp, implies disagreement with the positions taken by Paul VI, and by those who followed him in rejecting the acts and words of the Abp as wrong. If they were wrong then – why can their successors not also be wrong ?

    This whole affair raises very thorny questions, and absolutely no good can come of tip-toeing around them, letting these sleeping dogs lie, or ignoring this herd of 64,000-pound elephants in the room.

  8. I agree with the point he is trying to make but I don’t think the example from Florence is a very apt one. Florence wasn’t laying down a *teaching* on the matter of the sacrament let alone a defective teaching. Pius XII points this out in Sacramentum Ordinis. It is possible for the Church to decree that the traditio instrumentorum is necessary in the Latin rite but that is because the Church has the authority to do so and then later reverse it. But it wasn’t taught this was part of the essential matter of the sacrament.

    “It follows that, even according to the mind of the Council of Florence itself, the traditio instrumentorum is not required for the substance and validity of this Sacrament by the will of Our Lord Jesus Christ Himself. If it was at one time necessary even for validity by the will and command of the Church, every one knows that the Church has the power to change and abrogate what she herself has established.” Pius XII


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