Bishop Athanasius Schneider, the internationally renowned apologist of the fullness of the Catholic faith, admits that we are already witnessing a bizarre schism among some clergy who profess union with the pope but who have broken their ties with Christ, the Truth, and with Christ, the true Head of the Church. Bishop Schneider made these comments in his recent interview with the French internet TV station TV Libertes.
(Editor’s Note: the video with English transcription has been provided courtesy of Novus Ordo Watch (NOW); a word of caution – while NOW has provided a service with their translation, they are an outspokenly sedevacantist publication and we do not endorse their positions.)
Having responded to the question what might happen if the dubia presented by the four cardinals remains unanswered, Bishop Schneider was asked if the problem of the pope’s silence continues isn’t there the risk of schism. Bishop Schneider replied:
It is not only a risk of schism but a certain type of schism already exists in the Church. In greek, schism means to separate oneself from the totality of the Body. Christ is the totality of the Body of Divine Truth, and unity in His supernatural body is also visible. But we are witnessing today a bizarre form of schism. Externally, numerous ecclesiastics safeguard formal unity with the pope, at times for the good of their own careers or out of a kind of papolatry. And at the same time they have broken ties with Christ, the Truth, and with Christ, the true Head of the Church.
On the other hand there are ecclesiastics who are denounced as schismatics despite the fact that they live in canonical peace with the pope, and remain faithful to Christ, the Truth by assiduously promoting His Gospel of Truth.
It is evident that those who are internally the true schismatics, in relation to Christ, make use of calumnies for the sole purpose of silencing the voice of truth by absurdly projecting their own state of internal schism on those ecclesiastics who, regardless of praise or rebuke, defend the divine truths.
In fact, as sacred Scripture says, the word of Divine Truth is not bound. Even if a number of high ranking officials in the Church today temporarily obscure the truth of the doctrine of marriage and its perennial discipline this doctrine and discipline will always remain unchangeable in the Church because the Church is not a human foundation, but a divine one.
Earlier in the interview Bishop Schneider explained the nature of the schismatic beliefs being forced on the Church by certain ecclesiastics:
My questioning of Amoris Laetitia first of all concerns the very concrete question of admitting so-called “remarried” divorcés to Holy Communion. In fact, during the last two synods on the family, and after the publication of Amoris Laetitia there was, and continues to be to this day, an arduous and tumultuous fight about this concrete question.
All of these ecclesiastics who want another gospel, meaning a right-to-divorce gospel, a gospel of sexual liberty — in short a gospel without God’s sixth commandment. These ecclesiastics make use of all evil means, that is to say ruses, deceptions, masterful rhetoric and dialectics, and even the tactic of intimidation and moral violence in order to attain the goal of admitting so-called “remarried” divorcés to Holy Communion, without the latter fulfilling the condition of living in perfect continence, a condition required by divine law.
Once the objective is attained, even if limited to so called exceptional cases of discernment, the door is opened to introducing the gospel of divorce, the gospel without the sixth commandment. And this will no longer be the Gospel of Jesus, but an anti-gospel, a gospel according to this world, even if such a gospel be cosmetically embellished with terms such as “mercy”, “maternal solicitude” or “accompaniment”.
In this context we must remember an apostolic exhortation of St Paul who said, “But even if we, or an angel from heaven, should preach to you a gospel contrary to that which we preached to you, let him be anathema”. (Galatians 1:8).
In response to the question, has an event of this kind ever happened in the Church, Bishop Schneider replied:
On the subject of doctrine and practice concerning the sacrament of marriage and of the perennial validity of the moral law we are witnessing in our times an ambiguity of such scope only comparable to the general confusion of the Arian crisis in the 4th century.
Asked what might happen if the dubia submitted remains unanswered by Pope Francis Bishop Schneider replied:
The essential task of the pope is divinely established by Our Lord, which is to confirm all the brethren in the faith. To confirm in the faith means to dispel doubts and to bring clarity. Only the service of clarifying the faith creates the unity of the Church and is the first and unavoidable task of the pope.
If the pope does not fulfil his task in the current circumstances, the bishops have to indefectibly preach the unchanging Gospel concerning the divine doctrine of the morality and perennial discipline of marriage. Coming fraternally in this way to help the pope even, because the pope is not a dictator. And in fact, Christ said, “You know that the rulers of the Gentiles lord it over them, and their great men exercise authority over them. It shall not be so among you; but whoever would be great among you must be your servant, and whoever would be first among you must be your slave.” (Matthew 20:25-27).
Moreover, the entire Church must pray for the pope, so that he finds the knowledge and the courage to fulfil his primary task. When St Peter, the first pope, was imprisoned the entire Church prayed continually for him and God freed him from his chains.
At the beginning of the interview Bishop Schneider pointed out that Pope Francis has made it clear that Amoris Laetitia is not part of the Magisterium:
The magisterial value of the apostolic exhortation Amoris Laetitia is determined by the intention of its author, Pope Francis, who expressed it with clear statements, as for example in the following, which I will quote:”I would make it clear that not all discussions of doctrinal, moral or pastoral issues need to be settled by interventions of the magisterium.” (AL 3). These are the words of the pope.
The proper function of a magisterial act, according to Vatican II, consists in, I will quote, “The Magisterium is not above the word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on, listening to it devoutly, guarding it scrupulously and explaining it faithfully in accord with a divine commission and with the help of the Holy Spirit, it draws from this one deposit of faith everything which it presents for belief as divinely revealed.(Dei Verbum, 9).
In Pope Francis’s words, he made clear he did not have the intention of putting forward his own magisterial teaching. According to Pope Francis, Amoris Laetitia’s goal was to create a situation for doctrinal, moral and pastoral discussions and that these discussions need not be settled by interventions of the Magisterium.
Schism is a mortal sin against the faith of the Church which the Catechism of the Catholic Church describes as breaking the first of the Ten Commandments, “You shall worship the Lord your God and him only shall you serve.” We are required to nourish and protect, with prudence and vigilance, the faith handed to us by the apostles and the individual gift of faith given us as a grace by God. We must do everything in our power, with assistance of the Holy Spirit, to reject all that is opposed to the Faith.
As Bishop Schneider warns, an unspecified number of clergy are in a state of internal schism against the divine truth of Christ, and they are employing evil means to hide the reality of their schism including the tactic of intimidation and moral violence. To justify their schism these ecclesiastics are also attempting to project the accusation of schism against clergy, such as the Four Cardinals, who are prudently and earnestly seeking to protect the faith. The personal insults and attacks directed at the cardinals who submitted the dubia indicates the truth about who are the real schismatics, for schism is a sin against charity.
As St Thomas Aquinas comments, “schism is essentially opposed to the unity of ecclesiastical charity.”
Originally published at EWTN GB. Reprinted with permission.
Deacon Nick Donnelly is an author based in the diocese of Lancaster, England. He is the online news editor for EWTN Great Britain. You can follow him on Twitter at @protectthepope.