From Rorate Caeli:
November 4/5, 2014
The Church and the world do urgently need intrepid and candid witnesses of the whole truth of the commandment and of the will of God, of the whole truth of Christ’s words on marriage. Modern clerical Pharisees and Scribes, those bishops and cardinals who throw grains of incense to the neo-pagan idols of gender ideology and concubinage, will not convince anyone to either believe in Christ or to be ready to offer their lives for Christ – said + Athanasius Schneider Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan in interview with Izabella Parowicz.
Your Excellency, what is Your Excellency’s opinion about the Synod? What is its message to families?
During the Synod there had been moments of obvious manipulation on the part of some clerics who held key positions in the editorial and governing structure of the Synod. The interim report (Relatio post disceptationem) was clearly a prefabricated text with no reference to the actual statements of the Synod fathers. In the sections on homosexuality, sexuality and “divorced and remarried” with their admittance to the sacraments the text represents a radical neo-pagan ideology. This is the first time in Church history that such a heterodox text was actually published as a document of an official meeting of Catholic bishops under the guidance of a pope, even though the text only had a preliminary character.
Thanks be to God and to the prayers of the faithful all over the world that a consistent number of Synod fathers resolutely rejected such an agenda; this agenda reflects the corrupt and pagan main stream morality of our time, which is being imposed globally by means of political pressure and through the almost all-powerful official mass media, which are loyal to the principles of the world gender ideology party. Such a synod document, even if only preliminary, is a real shame and an indication to the extent the spirit of the anti-Christian world has already penetrated such important levels of the life of the Church. This document will remain for the future generations and for the historians a black mark which has stained the honour of the Apostolic See. Fortunately the Message of the Synod Fathers is a real Catholic document which outlines the Divine truth on family without being silent about the deeper roots of the problems, i.e. about the reality of sin. It gives real courage and consolation to Catholic families. Some quotations: “We think of the burden imposed by life in the suffering that can arise with a child with special needs, with grave illness, in deterioration of old age, or in the death of a loved one. We admire the fidelity of so many families who endure these trials with courage, faith, and love. They see them not as a burden inflicted on them, but as something in which they themselves give, seeing the suffering Christ in the weakness of the flesh. … Conjugal love, which is unique and indissoluble, endures despite many difficulties. It is one of the most beautiful of all miracles and the most common. This love spreads through fertility and generativity, which involves not only the procreation of children but also the gift of divine life in baptism, their catechesis, and their education. … The presence of the family of Jesus, Mary, and Joseph in their modest home hovers over you”.
Those groups of people who had been expecting a change in the Church’s teaching with regard to the moral issues (e.g. allowing divorced and remarried people to receive Holy Communion or granting any form of approval for homosexual unions) were probably disappointed by the content of the final Relatio. Isn’t there, however, a danger that questioning and discussing issues that are fundamental for the Church’s teaching may itself open doors for serious abuses and for similar attempts to revise this teaching in the future?
In fact a Divine commandment, in our case the sixth commandment, the absolute indissolubility of the sacramental marriage, a Divinely established rule, means those in a state of grave sin cannot be admitted to Holy Communion. This is taught by Saint Paul in his letter inspired by the Holy Spirit in 1 Corinthians 11, 27-30, this cannot be put to the vote, just as the Divinity of Christ would never be put to a vote. A person who still has the indissoluble sacramental marriage bond and who in spite of this lives in a stable marital cohabitation with another person, by Divine law cannot be admitted to Holy Communion. To do so would be a public statement by the Church nefariously legitimizing a denial of the indissolubility of the Christian marriage and at the same time repealing the sixth commandment of God: “Thou shalt not commit adultery”. No human institution not even the Pope or an Ecumenical Council has the authority and the competency to invalidate even in the slightest or indirect manner one of the ten Divine commandments or the Divine words of Christ: “What therefore God has joined together, let man not separate (Math 19:6)”. Regardless of this lucid truth which was taught constantly and unchangingly – because unchangeable – through all the ages by the Magisterium of the Church up to our days as for instance in “Familiaris consortio” of Saint John Paul II, in the Catechism of the Catholic Church and by Pope Benedict XVI, the issue of the admissibility to Holy Communion of the so called “divorced and remarried” has been put to the vote in the Synod. This fact is in itself grievous and represents an attitude of clerical arrogance towards the Divine truth of the Word of God. The attempt to put the Divine truth and the Divine Word to a vote is unworthy of those who as representatives of the Magisterium have to hand over zealously as good and faithful rules (cf. Math 24, 45) the Divine deposit. By admitting the “divorced and remarried” to Holy Communion those bishops establish a new tradition on their own volition and transgressing thereby the commandment of God, as Christ once rebuked the Pharisees and Scribes (cf. Math 15: 3). And what is still aggravating, is the fact that such bishops try to legitimize their infidelity to Christ’s word by means of arguments such as “pastoral need”, “mercy”, “openness to the Holy Spirit”. Moreover they have no fear and no scruples to pervert in a Gnostic manner the real meaning of these words labeling at the same time those who oppose them and defend the immutable Divine commandment and the true non-human tradition as rigid, scrupulous or traditionalist. During the great Arian crisis in the IV century the defenders of the Divinity of the Son of God were labeled “intransigent” and “traditionalist” as well. Saint Athanasius was even excommunicated by Pope Liberius and the Pope justified this with the argument that Athanasius was not in communion with the Oriental bishops who were mostly heretics or semi-heretics. Saint Basil the Great stated in that situation the following: “Only one sin is nowadays severely punished: the attentive observance of the traditions of our Fathers. For that reason the good ones are thrown out of their places and brought to the desert” (Ep. 243).
“…the issue of the admissibility to Holy Communion of the so called “divorced and remarried” has been put to the vote in the Synod. This fact is in itself grievous and represents an attitude of clerical arrogance towards the Divine truth of the Word of God. The attempt to put the Divine truth and the Divine Word to a vote is unworthy of those who as representatives of the Magisterium have to hand over zealously as good and faithful rules…the Divine deposit.”
How come it takes an auxliary bishop in some backwater called Kazakhstan to speak truth to power? The phrase, speaking “truth to power”, is one I usually avoid, coming as it does from the liberal/feminist/left, but here, it is very apt.
As always, Bishop Schneider’s observations are very, very fine.
Good afternoon, RJB:
This is the first time I’ve read anything by Bishop Schneider as far as I know. His message is indeed very fine, and while my compliment to him was a backhanded one (referring as it does to his auxiliary status in a remote diocese), it was also a genuine one, the underlying allusion being that the orthodox centre of gravity is shifting to “backwaters” like Kazakhstan, Africa, India, etc. and away from older, more established Catholic countries where those in the uppermost echelons of the Church seem to be losing their grip on fundamental doctrines.
How long will it be before there’s another extraordinary synod to hold a vote, say, on the divinity of Christ and on the liklihood His resurrection? Something along those lines has already taken place in mainline Protestant denominations, which also started off by downgrading the importance of traditional marriage; and that’s the direction in which we’re headed, unless *someone* (not saying who) slams on the brakes. So, good on you, Bishop Schneider!