Bishop Schneider Interview: Catholics must not “become victims of an insane pope-centrism

Bishop Schneider Interview: Catholics must not “become victims of an insane pope-centrism”

Steve Jalsevac

January 4, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) — Soon after the three bishops of Kazakhstan released their statement critical of Pope Francis’ reading of Amoris Laetitia, Rorate Caeli interviewed Bishop Athanasius Schneider for further explanations as to why the three bishops undertook their bold, public action.

Bishop Schneider began by noting that for Catholics, “the expression ‘divorced and remarried’ is deceptive and misleading.” That is, once validly married, one is always married as long as one’s spouse is alive.

Schneider stated “a certain peak has reached in this process of implicit recognition of divorce in the life of the Church” when Pope Francis ordered formal Church publication and therefore approval of unacceptable norms on marriage similar to those issued by the bishops of Buenos Aires.

“Divine Revelation,” explained Schneider, “with its absolute disapproval of divorce” and the contradiction of “the teaching and sacramental practice of the infallible Ordinary and Universal Magisterium of the Church” in the pope’s now formalized interpretation, gave the three Kazakhstan bishops no choice in their view.

Schneider states, “We were forced by our conscience, as successors of the Apostles, to raise our voice and to reiterate the immutable doctrine and practice of the Church regarding the indissolubility of the sacramental marriage.”

The norms of the papal interpretation, said Schneider, “would be for our people — and even for the so-called ‘divorced and remarried’ among them — a kind of blasphemy to demand access to Holy Communion while continuing to cohabitate with a person who is not their legitimate spouse.”

“The confusion” that Amoris Laetitia “has caused cannot be questioned,” he pronounced.

Bishop Schneider also addressed the question of the “necessary attitude” toward the pope by bishops when there is such serious disagreement with the Vicar of Christ.

The outspoken Kazakhstan defender of the true faith stated the attitude “has to be collegial, fraternal, not servile and always supernaturally respectful.”

“One has to continue to profess the immutable faith and pray still more for the Pope and, then, only God can intervene and He will do this unquestionably.”

However, the Bishop was also frank about the limits of obedience to all that a pope says and does. Many faithful Catholics are known to be struggling with the issue during this very controversial papacy.

Schneider pronounced that Catholics “have to bear in mind that the Pope is not the creator of the truth, of the faith and of the sacramental discipline of the Church. The Pope and the entire Magisterium “is not above the Word of God, but serves it, teaching only what has been handed on” (Second Vatican Council, Dei Verbum, 10). “

“Third”, he emphasized, “the Pope cannot be the focal point of the daily life of the faith of a Catholic faithful. The focal point must instead be Christ.”

“Otherwise, we become victims of an insane pope-centrism or of a kind of popalatry, an attitude which is alien to the tradition of the Apostles, of the Church Fathers and of the greater tradition of the Church.”

Bishop Schneider concluded with the “hope that after the current crisis the Church will reach a more balanced and sane attitude towards the person of the Pope and toward his sacred and indispensable ministry in the Church.”

Full Text of Interview

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