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Bishop Schneider says ‘schism already exists’ following dispute on Amoris Laetitia

December 07, 2016

Because of the heated debate on the interpretation of Amoris Laetitia, “we are witnessing today a bizzare form of schism,” Bishop Athanasius Schneider said in a French television interview.

Bishop Schneider—an auxiliary in the Archdiocese of Astana, Kazakhstan, who has been an outspoken supporter of traditional Catholicism—said that the Church today faces a crisis of faith that is “only comparable to the general confusion of the Arian crisis in the 4th century.”

He charged that some influential clerics have broken away from the Catholic tradition to promote a “gospel of sexual liberty.” He added that these clerics have sought to suppress open discussion of their aims, and “make use of calumnies for the sake of silencing the voice of truth.” Without naming specific people, he said:

These ecclesiastics want to make use of evil means—that is to say ruses, deceptions, masteriful rhetoric and dialectic, and even the tactic of intimidation and moral violence, in order to attain their goal of admitting the so-called “remarried” divorcés to Holy Communion without the latter fulfilling the condition of living in perfect continence, a condition required by divine law.

Although he expressed concerns about Amoris Laetitia itself, the bishop made it clear that he was not including Pope Francis among those who had broken with the Church’s tradition. He observed that the Pope had “made clear that he did not have the intention of putting forward his own magisterial teaching.” However, he added that it is the duty of the Roman Pontiff to “confirm the brethren in the faith,” and he called upon all Catholics to pray that the Holy Father would intervene to end the current confusion.

When asked whether the dispute over Church teaching on marriage and the Eucharist could lead to schism, Bishop Schneider answered: “It is not only a risk of schism, but a certain kind of schism already exists within the Church.”

 
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  • Posted by: - Jan. 08, 2017 10:48 PM ET USA

    He speaks truthfully.

  • Posted by: susana8577 - Dec. 10, 2016 2:40 PM ET USA

    How true: “It is not only a risk of schism, but a certain kind of schism already exists within the Church.” "[...]he called upon all Catholics to pray that the Holy Father would intervene to end the current confusion." Yes, it is good to see someone admitting the problem and the need for prayer as the solution.

  • Posted by: koinonia - Dec. 08, 2016 5:51 PM ET USA

    On the feast of Our Lady, the feast of her Immaculate Conception it's reassuring that there is hope. In solving problems it's important first to recognize there is a problem. Reality has been so elusive for so long. Now manifestly less elusive, it has turned brutal. If Bishop Athanasius is correct in his historical comparison- itself a reality check- we might find schism a word in our lexicon demanding of us a new-found reverence. Perhaps an epiphany, it's rather fitting to be this Advent.