Bishop Athanasius Schneider is, without question, the most vocal defender of Catholic orthodoxy in the Church hierarchy today. So it’s a very good thing that despite being the Auxiliary bishop of a diocese (Astana) in a country (Kazakhstan) few Westerners have ever heard of, he has been a very high-profile presence in Western media over the past year.
And as October rapidly approaches, he continues where he left off last fall: hammering the agenda of the bishops who are manipulating the Synod.
He made waves earlier this week talking about the Synod, the old Mass, and the SSPX. Today, he’s given another Interview, this time with Catholic Voice, self-described as “Europe’s latest and fastest growing Catholic newspaper, published every two weeks in Ireland and the U.K.” Some highlights:
On the Instrumentum Laboris:
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.
On whether divorced and remarried Catholics can be catechists, extraordinary ministers of the eucharist, or godparents – as Archbishop Forte has suggested:
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 the Eucharist. 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.
On whether Catholics can accept long-term relationships between same-sex couples or their civil partnerships:
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.
On language such as “homosexual tendencies” and “intrinsically disordered” which some consider offensive:
We have to call things by their real names; otherwise, we will deceive the others and ourselves. … 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.
On the duty of bishops to stop Catholic medical institutions from offering abortions, even if they are provided for in civil law:
The duty of a Catholic bishop in such a case is to deprive the hospital the title “Catholic” and remind his faithful that accomplices of the horrible crime of abortion commit a grave sin and are threatened with excommunication. The punishment of excommunication is a medicinal measure in order to prevent the guilty person from committing further crimes and so to ensure his eternal salvation.
On bishops who have told the faithful they can support same-sex marriage legislation:
Those clerics who encouraged the faithful to vote for same sex marriage revealed themselves by this same fact as false prophets, as those who pervert the Word of God. They revealed themselves as public liars, to whom are fully applicable these words of Holy Scripture: “Woe to those who call evil good and good evil, who put darkness for light and light for darkness, who put bitter for sweet and sweet for bitter” (Is 5:20) and: “Your prophets have seen for you false and deceptive visions; they have not exposed your iniquity to restore your fortunes, but have seen for you oracles that are false and misleading” (Lam 2: 14). To such priests and bishops the Apostle Paul without any doubt would say today these words: “Such men are false apostles, deceitful workmen, disguising themselves as apostles of Christ” (2 Cor 11:13). In order to remedy this situation it is firstly necessary that faithful Bishops teach clearly and unambiguously the truth of Christ and correct explicitly the teaching of these false prophets.
On the ongoing manipulations leading up to the 2015 Synod:
[W]e have to expose and defend the Divine truth about marriage and family in written and oral forms, exercising hereby the service of the truth as an important gesture of our love for our neighbour. When there exists sure elements of proof one should try to unmask the machinations of the false prophets inside the Church. Saint Peter, the first Pope, wrote in his second Encyclical Letter the following words, which are applicable to those priests and bishops who teach in our days the goodness of the homosexual lifestyle and the legitimacy of receiving Holy Communion by those who live publicly in an adulterous partnership: “There will be false teachers among you, who will secretly bring in destructive heresies, even denying the Lord who redeemed them, bringing upon themselves swift destruction. And many will follow their sensuality, and because of them the way of truth will be blasphemed. And in their greed they will exploit you with false words. Their condemnation from long ago is not idle, and their destruction is not asleep.” (2 Peter 2: 1-3).
As always, there’s a tremendous amount of great wisdom and spiritual insight from the aptly-named Bishop Athanasius Schneider. I’ve given you the Cliff’s notes version. Do yourself a favor and read the rest here.
Steve Skojec is the Founding Publisher and Executive Director of OnePeterFive.com. He received his BA in Communications and Theology from Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2001. His commentary has appeared in The New York Times, USA Today, The Washington Post, The Washington Times, Crisis Magazine, EWTN, Huffington Post Live, The Fox News Channel, Foreign Policy, and the BBC. Steve and his wife Jamie have seven children.