Monday, February 1, 2016

Bishop Schneider gives a lesson

Clarification on the Church's Real Problem

Bishop Athanasius Schneider

In a recent interview with the traditionalist Catholic blog, Rorate Caeli, Bishop Athanasius Schneider provides some useful insights from a traditionalist cleric who isn't scared to tell the truth while at the same time skirting that fine line into disobedience that so many faithful clerics would like to but can't.  But that is for another blog post - tomorrow.  I promise. 

Back to the interview linked HERE

Though I encourage you to read it, there is one part that I want to focus on:

Rorate CaeliIn the recent Synod, we will not know the legal impact it will have on the Church for some time, as it’s up to Pope Francis to move next. Regardless of the eventual outcome, for all intent and purposes, is there already a schism in the Church? And, if so, what does it mean practically speaking? How will it manifest itself for typical Catholics in the pews?

H.E. Schneider: Schism means according to the definition of the Code of Canon Law, can. 751: The refusal of submission to the Supreme Pontiff or of communion with those members of the Church who are submitted to the Supreme Pontiff. One has to distinguish the defect in belief or heresy from schism. The defect in belief or heresy is indeed a greater sin than schism, as Saint Thomas Aquinas said: “Unbelief is a sin committed against God Himself, according as He is Himself the First Truth, on which faith is founded; whereas schism is opposed to ecclesiastical unity, which is a lesser good than God Himself. Wherefore the sin of unbelief is generically more grievous than the sin of schism” (II-II, q. 39, a. 2 c). 

The very crisis of the Church in our days consists in the ever growing phenomenon that those who don’t fully believe and profess the integrity of the Catholic faith frequently occupy strategic positions in the life of the Church, such as professors of theology, educators in seminaries, religious superiors, parish priests and even bishops and cardinals. And these people with their defective faith profess themselves as being submitted to the Pope. 

The height of confusion and absurdity manifests itself when such semi-heretical clerics accuse those who defend the purity and integrity of the Catholic faith as being against the Pope – as being according to their opinion in some way schismatics. For simple Catholics in the pews, such a situation of confusion is a real challenge of their faith, in the indestructibility of the Church. They have to keep strong the integrity of their faith according to the immutable Catholic truths, which were handed over by our fore-fathers, and which we find in in the Traditional catechisms and in the works of the Fathers and of the Doctors of the Church.  

This answer provides a very clear examination of the problem that so many of us who serve Christ and His Church have felt for so many years at the local and diocesan level but only with the election of Jorge Bergoglio has manifested at the global level.

Since Pope John Paul II took the throne of St. Peter, many Catholics, with hope in him and in his successor, Pope Benedict XVI, felt like the Vicar of Christ was faithful, but the clergy underneath them were not.  In that sense, we felt very CATHOLIC.  The Vicar at least believed and we felt that we could follow him, even if our priests and bishops were horrendous.  

And we saw this division regularly, as those same priests and bishops had no problem not following Canon Law, the Magisterium, or the direction of these Popes in order to facilitate their version of "the Spirit of Vatican II" (that Spirit that currently has a television show on Fox right now, and which, by the way, is being completely mis-analyzed by many Catholics.  I see a future post coming.).  

But now, with the head of the Vatican showing no signs of an orthodox belief in Catholicism, is confounding us into figuring out where we stand.  What do we do when the Vicar of Christ doesn't believe?  

We can handle the priests, deacons, bishops and cardinals not believing because the captain of the ship is clear.  But when the captain is leading us to the reef, what do we do?  Jump ship?  Take the reigns ourselves and steer it away?  And if so, do we know the way around danger?

What I appreciate from Bishop Schneider are several things that ALL Catholics show follow:

1. Heresy is worse than Schism.  Holding to the correct, orthodox belief in Christ, the Sacraments, and the Magisterium is far more important than following the correct cleric.  This is the basic basis for why, if there is to be an ecumenical effort, it should be directed at the Eastern Orthodox and away from heretics.

2. Bishop Schneider recognizes that there are MANY clerics who don't believe, something that many of us have felt and stated for years.  He acknowledges that the apparatus for the creation of priests is deeply flawed with no effort made to correct.

3. When all else fails, trust in the Magisterium, the traditional catechisms of the Church, the Fathers of the Church and the Doctors of the Church.  If you want to know what to believe, trust in the Church Triumphant and the theological history of the Church, not in clever, political phrases of clerics who don't believe. 


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