Bishop Athanasius Schneider: May many Domestic Churches flourish

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Image Courtesy of The Society of St. Hugh of Cluny

From the excellent blog onepeterfive:

The following is a translation by Ben Trovato (from the original French) of His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s homily on the Feast of Pentecost at Chartres, offered for those who were attending the annual pilgrimage there.

In the name of the Father, and of the Son, and of the Holy Ghost, Amen.

My dear brothers and sisters,

Today we celebrate the solemnity of Pentecost, commemorating the visible descent of the Holy Ghost on the Apostles, when 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 neighbour 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.

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 marginalised 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.

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 Saviour 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 civilised 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.

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 honour 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 centre 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)

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.

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8 Responses to Bishop Athanasius Schneider: May many Domestic Churches flourish

  1. In his homily, Bishop Schneider speaks of “the new worldwide anti-Christian ideology” that is presenting many ordinary individuals, in America and the UK, with two possible alternatives: either “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.”

    Forcing people to make such a choice would have been unthinkable a few years ago, just as it is now unthinkable that the government would ever force a priest either to “marry” a same-sex couple or suffer the consequences of “discriminating” against them.

    But it’s hard not to wonder how long it will be before something like that actually happens in the US, or in Ireland, the UK or elsewhere.

    An impossible and ridiculous idea? Really? Not long ago, Catholic adoption services in Washington, DC, closed down after the government ordered them to place adoptive children with same-sex couples (http://goo.gl/uoO1er). “Religious liberty” was no defense. Moreover, the US government is now forcing Catholic businessmen and Catholic institutions to pay for health insurance that covers abortion and contraception for their staff. Again, “religious liberty” is no defense.

    After the US Supreme Court this month decides, as expected, that same sex couples must be allowed to “marry” everywhere in the country, and not just in certain jurisdictions, how long will it be before priests are charged with breaking the law because they refuse to “marry” same-sex couples and are therefore “discriminating” against them?

    Just as religious liberty is no defense when charged for refusing to pay for insurance that covers abortion and contraception, it is unlikely that religious liberty will be a valid legal defense when a priest is brought to court and charged with something like “marriage discrimination.”

    The ideologues that Bishop Schneider speaks of are determined to force the Catholic Church to declare that the sin of homosexual activity is not a sin at all. One expects that these ideologues will receive a lot of help from some of the bishops at the synod in October.

  2. toadspittle says:

    “In his homily, Bishop Schneider speaks of “the new worldwide anti-Christian ideology” “
    I’d respectfully (Oh, shut up Toad – you have no respect for anything respectful!) suggest this is far too negative.
    Most people in my experience aren’t “anti-Christian” in the slightest – any more than they are
    anti-tap dancing, or anti-downhill skiing.
    They just aren’t interested in doing it themselves. They don’t mind at all if other people do. They are simply indifferent. This, of course is far worse than being hated.
    Oh, well.
    Does anyone else agree with this pitiless analysis?
    Regretfully, or otherwise? No? Oh, well. There we are.

  3. mkenny114 says:

    Most people in my experience aren’t “anti-Christian” in the slightest – any more than they are
    anti-tap dancing, or anti-downhill skiing.
    They just aren’t interested in doing it themselves. They don’t mind at all if other people do. They are simply indifferent.

    I agree that, in general, people are largely indifferent to Christianity, and most other beliefs…until that is one dares to claim that what Christianity says about the world is true. The reaction to the claim of there being one worldview which is substantively more true than others tends to generate a fair amount of ill-will in and of itself, given that it offends the sensibilities of those who would prefer there to be no truth whatsoever (as truths challenge us, require a response, and also tend to raise the questions of duty and responsibility in that response).

    What is even worse though is that Christianity (and, to be fair, most other world religions – the agreement on such points is one of the things that gave rise to and supports the natural law tradition) explicitly claims that there are certain ways of living which are flat-out incompatible with a.) God’s will, and b.) the most effective pattern for human happiness and well-being (both on the indivual and social level). The mere existence of such a belief is a very real challenge to people who want to do those very things that the Church (and, again, most other religions/cultures) has said is sinful – i.e.; in disobedience to our Creator and damaging to ourselves – and thus it becomes hateful to them. One does not even have to say anything remotely judgemental of persons – it is enough to simply state that certain principles exist and we are called to follow them in obedience, not just do what we will regardless of consequence.

    In preemption of your further questioning the existence of this hatred towards Christianity and the moral principles it promotes (as well as the more fundamental assertion that we are ultimately accountable to God, not ourselves), I have personally, on several occasions, very calmly made the case for various Church teachings (e.g.; on marriage, abortion, euthanasia), carefully seeking to avoid offense in any way or judge anyone personally, and have been met with dramatic changes in character – people who had previously acted civilly towards me then became filled with rage and treated me rather cooly afterwards. I have also experienced similarly angry reactions just for trying to make the case for God’s existence and the particular truth claims of Christianity.

  4. You’re absolutely right. What really angers people about the Catholic Church and its teachings is that the Church points out that many elements in their lives are bound to make them ultimately unhappy and, in a sense, wound the God Who loves them.

    Catholics – and others – call those elements “sins,” but that’s the last thing people want to here about.

    For them, it’s better to attack the Church than admit there is such a thing as sin – in their lives, in the world, anywhere.

  5. toadspittle says:

    Is God omnipotent,* RobertJohn? Yes? – Then how can He be wounded?

    *Wonderful word! All powerful, Indestructible, Impenetrable, implacable, invulnerable. Yet we puny humans, with our absurd, pitiful, irrational, antics, can hurt Him.
    Hmmm. OK.

  6. toadspittle says:

    “The reaction to the claim of there being one worldview which is substantively more true than others…”
    “More true”? Are there then gradations of truth? How about “less untrue,” Michael? Will that do?

  7. mkenny114 says:

    “More true”? Are there then gradations of truth?

    I’m very tired now and about to turn in early, so will reply properly tomorrow if need be. But for now, I direct you to the following section of the Catechism, particularly 816-19 and 843-848 in order to make clearer the part of my comment that you are referring to:

    http://www.vatican.va/archive/ENG0015/__P29.HTM

  8. mkenny114 says:

    For them, it’s better to attack the Church than admit there is such a thing as sin – in their lives, in the world, anywhere.

    Yep, that’s it in a nutshell! I am also often reminded, when considering this, of Sirach 32:17 – ‘A sinful man will shun reproof, and will find a decision according to his liking.’ True indeed.

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