Tuesday 20th August 2019

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What Is A True Scandal?… No One Has A Right To The Holy Eucharist

August 7, 2019 Our Catholic Faith No Comments


Part 2

(Editor’s Note: Here is the second half of Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s commentary on the working document of the Amazon Synod. That synod is set to take place in Rome from October 6-27, with most of the synod fathers stemming from the Amazon region. Bishop Schneider is the auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan.
(The first half of the Schneider commentary appeared in last week’s issue.
(Bishop Schneider joins a growing list of episcopal critics of the working document, or Instrumentum Laboris, of the October synod.)

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St. Irenaeus is already a witness in the second century for the unity of the Faith and of discipline in the Church, and to be such among all peoples, even if the converted Catholics at the time came from very different and in part even contradictory cultures:
“The Church, although scattered throughout the whole world, yet — as if occupying but one house — carefully preserves the Faith of the Apostles. She also believes these truths just as if she had but one soul, and one and the same heart, and she proclaims them, and teaches them, and hands them down with perfect harmony, as if she possessed only one mouth. For, although the languages of the world are dissimilar, yet the import of the tradition is one and the same. For the churches which have been planted in Germany do not believe nor hand down anything different, nor do those in Spain, nor those in Gaul, nor those in the East, nor those in Egypt, nor those in Libya, nor those which have been established in the central regions of the world” (Adversus Haereses 1, 10, 2).
Many of the newly converted Catholic parishes among the Germanic tribes during the time of the Migration Age (fourth to sixth century) had perhaps also only a few times the possibility to participate at Holy Mass and to receive Holy Communion. After some generations, however, out of these Germanic parishes came generations of celibate and generally exemplary priests.
The truth of the matter is that those who defend a married Amazonian clergy with the help of the ruse of the elegantly formulated motto “proven men” (“viri probati”) consider the Amazonian peoples to be inferior, because they assume from the onset that they do not have the capacity to give to the Church, from out of their own midst, celibate priests.
In the course of 2,000 years, all peoples and even barbarians were capable to raise their own sons, with the help of Christ’s grace, to a celibate priesthood according to the example of Jesus Christ. The calls for married priests for the Amazonian peoples — which comes precisely from clergymen of European descent — contain in themselves a hidden racism. To put it to a point, one could say it this way: “We Europeans, i.e., we white men are indeed capable of a celibate priesthood. But for you Amazonians, this is a little bit too much!”
The defenders of a married Amazonian clergy who are really nearly all of European and not of indigenous descent, are finally not interested in the true spiritual good of the Amazonian faithful, but in the implementation of their own ideological agenda which aims at having a married clergy also in Europe and then throughout the entire Latin Church.
For, everybody knows that, after the introduction of the first regionally limited married clergy in the Amazon, there will be, with the help of the domino effect and within a relatively short period of time, a regular married clergy of the Roman Rite also in other parts of the world. Thereby, the apostolic heritage of a celibate priesthood according to the model of Jesus Christ and His Apostles would be effectively destroyed in the whole Church.
Some Catholics — those who certainly do not represent the majority of the true faithful, but, rather, who are functionaries of a wealthy Church bureaucracy and who have reached clerical positions of power in the Church — want to attract worldly people with the help of a married priesthood and with a priesthood without sacrifices, without self-giving, and without a supernatural burning love for God.
In order to have married candidates for priestly ordination, there is no need for any special prayer initiatives. The Lord Himself has told us what the Church should do so that the faithful may have priests: “therefore ask the Lord of the harvest to send out laborers into his harvest” (Matt. 9:38). There is no better and more effective remedy than this. And if there would be one, Our Lord would have told us.
There will always be, until the end of time, only few workers in the vineyard of the Lord. At a time where there were many priests, Pope St. Gregory the Great spoke these memorable words: “See, the world is filled with priests, but nevertheless only few workers are to be found in the harvest of the Lord” (In Ev. hom., 34) God always accomplishes His work of grace and of the salvation of souls for eternal life with the help of sacrifices and often only of a few people, and not with the help of large crowds. In this sense, St. Gregory of Nazianzen said that God is not delighted with numbers (see Or. 42, 7).
Bishop Erwin Krautler then asks in the interview: “What can we do as Church so that these people can celebrate the Eucharist?” The parish life, he adds, is beautiful, “but the center is missing.” The answer to this is the following: The center is Christ, the Truth as taught by Him, the Example given by Him. The tabernacle is the real center of the Church here on Earth and the center of each local parish. If a Catholic local community in the Amazon has the tabernacle — and most of them do — then they have the center, then nothing is missing ultimately, because they have God in their midst, God with Flesh and Blood present in their midst!
One has to assemble the Catholics in the Amazon around the tabernacle so that they have their own priests, and if possible numerous priests. There, Catholic mothers and children should send their intimate prayers to God, the giver of all gifts, for the sake of good and celibate indigenous priests with an apostolic spirit. One should start a chain of Eucharistic adoration throughout the whole Amazon. Such a Eucharistic chain of adorations on the part of the simple faithful, together with their bishops and with their priests — and be they even few — will bring without doubt — at the time chosen by God — to the peoples of the Amazon those priests who are according to Jesus’ own heart. One should not abuse the Amazonian peoples for the sake of one’s own decadent ideologies and theological heresies which have been fabricated in Europe.
Large parts of the working document (Instrumentum Laboris) of the Amazon Synod and the demands of these clergymen decorate the image of Christ the King with precious gems, with mottos such as the “proven men,” “Eucharistic hunger,” “female empathy.” They thereby wish to implement, in an easier fashion, priestly marriage and female ordination. The true Catholics of the Amazon and of other parts in the world, however, will recognize in it the picture of the fox, and they will not consider it to be the picture of Jesus Christ the King.
Large parts of the Instrumentum Laboris and of the revolutionary demands of Bishop Erwin Krautler and of his clerical fellow-travelers represent indeed an intellectual attitude which is very similar to the Gnosis and Naturalism which wanted to enter into the Church already from early on, as St. Irenaeus of Lyon himself attests to be so in the second century:
“Such, then, is their system, which neither the prophets announced, nor the Lord taught, nor the Apostles delivered, but of which they boast, that beyond all others they have a perfect knowledge. They gather their views from other sources than from the Scriptures; and, to use a common proverb, they strive to weave ropes of sand, while they endeavor to adapt, with an air of probability, to their own peculiar assertions the parables of the Lord, the sayings of the prophets, and the words of the Apostles, in order that their scheme may not seem altogether without support.
“In doing so, however, they disregard the order and the connection of the Scriptures, and, so far as in them lies, dismember and destroy the truth. By transferring passages, and dressing them up anew, and making one thing out of another, they succeed in deluding many through their wicked art in adapting the oracles of the Lord to their opinions.
“Their manner of acting is just as if one — after a beautiful image of a king has been constructed by some skillful artist out of precious jewels — should then take this likeness of the man all to pieces, should rearrange the gems, and so fit them together as to make them into the form of a dog or of a fox, and even that but poorly executed; and should then maintain and declare that this was the beautiful image of the king which the skillful artist constructed, pointing to the jewels which had been admirably fitted together by the first artist to form the image of the king, but they have been, with bad effect, transferred by the latter one to the shape of a dog, and by thus exhibiting the jewels, should deceive the ignorant who had no conception of what a king’s form was like, and persuade them that that miserable likeness of the fox was, in fact, the beautiful image of the king.
“In like manner do these persons patch together old wives’ fables, and then they endeavor — by violently drawing away from their proper connection, words, expressions, and parables whenever found — to adapt the oracles of God to their baseless fictions” (Adversus Haereses 1, 8, 1).
It is obvious that the content of large parts of the Instrumentum Laboris, the demands of Bishop Erwin Krautler, and of his clerical fellow-travelers, really want a new Christian confession, which then perhaps is to be called “Amazonian-Catholic Church,” but which finally becomes a sect in comparison to the true One, Holy, Catholic, and Apostolic Church. The latter has gone, and still goes, securely through all times, always the same in the unconditional loyalty to the purity of the Faith and of the unchangeable inheritance of the Apostles in the liturgy and in the discipline of the Church.
The Catholics of our time will vividly respond to such an “Amazonian-Catholic” sect — which practices the adoration of nature and which will have a female priesthood — with the words once spoken by St. Augustine to the members of the sect of the Donatists: “The Church in the whole world is secure in her assessments of truth!” (securus iudicat orbis terrarum: Contra epistolam Parmeniani 3, 3).
The Successor of Peter, the Pope, has a strict duty, as given to him by God, as the holder of the Seat of Truth (cathedra veritatis), to preserve, in its purity and integrity, the truth of the Catholic Faith, the Divine Constitution of the Church, the sacramental order as instituted by Christ, and the apostolic inheritance of priestly celibacy; and to pass them on to his own Successor and to the next generation. He may not support in the slightest way — by silence or by an ambiguous conduct — the obviously Gnostic and naturalistic contents of parts of the Instrumentum Laboris, as well as the abolishment of the apostolic duty of priestly celibacy (which first would be regional, and then naturally, and step by step, then becomes universal).
Even if the Pope would do this at the upcoming Amazon Synod, then he would gravely violate his duty as the Successor of Peter and the Representative of Christ, and he would then cause an intermittent spiritual eclipse in the Church. But Christ, the invincible Sun of Truth, will re-illuminate this brief eclipse by again sending His Church holy, courageous, and faithful Popes, because the gates of Hell are not able to overcome the rock of Peter (see Matt. 16:18). The prayer of Christ for Peter and his Successors is infallible. That is to say, that, after their conversion, they will again strengthen their brothers in the Faith (see Luke 22:32).
The truth, as St. Irenaeus formulated it, will remain standing also in a time of an intermittent spiritual eclipse in the Church — as it is the case with our time, by God’s unfathomable permission: “For, in the Roman Church, the Apostolic Tradition is always preserved on the part of the faithful who are everywhere” (Adversus Haereses 3, 3, 2).

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+ Athanasius Schneider
Auxiliary Bishop of the
Archdiocese of St. Mary in Astana

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