Catholic World News

Bishop Schneider discusses Vatican II and religious liberty

January 16, 2013

A Kazakh prelate best known for his support for the Church’s liturgical tradition said in an interview that Dignitatis Humanae, the Second Vatican Council’s Declaration on Religious Freedom, has been misinterpreted as a “rupture” with preconciliar teaching.

“Even human societies have to serve the Creator,” said Auxiliary Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana. “It is not always possible because of the consequences of original sin and the activity of the devil, but in theory we have to say this, and this is not a contradiction with Dignitatis Humanae.

“In Latin America, the aggressive Protestant proselytisms (are) destroying large Catholic populations,” he continued. “We cannot as Catholics be content with this and cannot say this is an application of religious liberty … In these cases we must defend Catholics.”

“When there is (a Catholic majority) then false religions and sects have not the right to make propaganda there,” he added. Though governments should not “suppress them” – “they can live” – governments “cannot give them the same right to make propaganda to the detriment of Catholics.”

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  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Jan. 17, 2013 12:13 PM ET USA

    The good bishop's comments here do not contradict at all what John Henry Newman thought about this matter. Although his ideas have been high-jacked by those who favor "toleration", the English cardinal in fact would have congratulated Bishop Schneider for seeing through the syncretic nonsense favored by the modern liberal state. And John Henry Newman is up for canonization, rightly so.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 17, 2013 10:09 AM ET USA

    Bishop Schneider clearly has it wrong. He's back in the 19th century with a sort of "confessional state" perspective - i.e., no religious freedom for Protestants when Catholics have the majority. Vatican II changed that. And CNS publicizes this erroneous view?

  • Posted by: koinonia - Jan. 17, 2013 7:52 AM ET USA

    The bishop's explanation differs from the prevalent understanding, particularly in the US. In fact the statement in general involves language and concepts considered unacceptable to most contemporary proponents of democracy. The situation in Latin America however involves something more than "aggressive Protestant prosletysms." The faith is tenuous; throughout the West there is evidence of this. His Excellency's words and this reality must be considered as this discussion moves forward.

  • Posted by: marttywinston6762 - Jan. 16, 2013 12:26 PM ET USA

    It seems to me that this is a two-edged sword. A Catholic-majority state that enacts laws against the free speech and action of other religions will have no basis to convince other states with Catholic minorities to respect their free speech and action.