Maike Hickson

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Bishop Athanasius Schneider speaks at the Rome Life Forum in May 2018.

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Bishop Schneider: Pachamama idolatry during Amazon Synod has its roots in Vatican II Council

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November 8, 2019 (LifeSiteNews) – Bishop Athanasius Schneider, the auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan, has recently given an interview to Michael Matt, the editor of the Catholic newspaper The Remnant. Speaking about the idolatrous worship of Pachamama statues during the Amazon Synod in Rome, the prelate says: “We have to condemn this.” “Idolatry,” he adds, “is a violation of Divine Revelation” and of the First Commandment. “You cannot commit acts of idolatry in the Catholic Church.”

He further speaks about an “evil” in the Church that is reaching “its culmination” but has been developing “over the last decades.” The current situation shows how much this “evil has penetrated in the Church.” 

“Unfortunately,” Schneider comments, “Pope Francis defends the veneration of these Pachamama idols, in saying there were no idolatrous intentions in using them.” Here, Bishop Schneider objects that “we can only see the exterior acts,” not the “hearts of the people.” And these acts “were clearly acts of religious cult – bowing, revering, and even prayers towards a wooden statue” which is, “even the Pope said it, it is Pachamama.” And this is, according to Schneider, a “concept of a kind of a goddess” in the “entire culture of the indigenous South American people.”

The evil, Bishop Schneider explains, “wants to reach always its culmination.” The evil is to deny that there is “one truth,” he explains; and  relativism is therefore “like a virus.” “When you don't resist it, it will by time conquer the entire body,” Schneider explains more and then refers back to the Second Vatican Council. This “doctrinal relativism, doctrinal ambiguity” he states, can already be found “partly in some expressions of the Second Vatican Council.”

Here, Bishop Schneider refers to the Council's claim that “we adore, together with the Muslims, the one God.” 

In the Council's Dogmatic Constitution Lumen Gentium (16), the Council Fathers state: “But the plan of salvation also includes those who acknowledge the Creator.  In the first place amongst these there are the Muslims, who, professing to hold the faith of Abraham, along with us adore the one and merciful God, who on the last day will judge mankind.”

Bishop Schneider also refers to the attendant idea that “man is the center and the culmination of all that is on earth.”

Furthermore, Bishop Schneider also refers to the Council's teaching on the “freedom of religion,” the “natural right” implanted in human nature by God to choose one's own religion. While it is true, he adds, that one should not be “forced,” this new teaching also means that one “has the liberty to choose a religion.”

Here, Schneider points to the contradictions in the conciliar texts. At one place, in its document Dignitatis Humanae, the Council teaches “every person has the obligation to seek the truth, and this is the Catholic Church,” Schneider says, “but then further down it says that you have freedom of religion rooted in your nature.” This teaching is “not clear,” it is “ambiguous,” as the prelate explains, and the consequences after the Council were “that almost all Catholic seminaries and theological faculties, and the episcopate and even the Holy See” promoted “a right of every person to choose his own religion.” 

In Dignitatis Humanae, the Council Fathers first declare: “First, the council professes its belief that God Himself has made known to mankind the way in which men are to serve Him, and thus be saved in Christ and come to blessedness. We believe that this one true religion subsists in the Catholic and Apostolic Church, to which the Lord Jesus committed the duty of spreading it abroad among all men.” 

But then they go on to state: “This Vatican Council declares that the human person has a right to religious freedom. This freedom means that all men are to be immune from coercion on the part of individuals or of social groups and of any human power, in such wise that no one is to be forced to act in a manner contrary to his own beliefs, whether privately or publicly, whether alone or in association with others, within due limits. The council further declares that the right to religious freedom has its foundation in the very dignity of the human person as this dignity is known through the revealed word of God and by reason itself. [….] Therefore the right to religious freedom has its foundation not in the subjective disposition of the person, but in his very nature. In consequence, the right to this immunity continues to exist even in those who do not live up to their obligation of seeking the truth and adhering to it and the exercise of this right is not to be impeded, provided that just public order be observed.” 

However, Bishop Schneider comments in this November 2 interview on this conciliar teaching with these words: “you have no right to choose idolatry, you have no right to offend God,” through “idolatry or through blasphemy.” 

“This is already rooted here [in the Vatican Council],” Bishop Schneider states. “If you have a right by God given to you, by nature, also to be able to choose acts of idolatry – like the Pachamama – when it is rooted in your dignity of man even to choose a Pachamama religion: this is the last consequence of this expression of the Council text,” he explains. The expression of the text was “ambiguous” and needed to be “formulated in a different way” to “avoid these applications in the life of the Church, which we also had in the Assisi meeting of Pope John Paul II in 1986 and the other meetings, where even idolatrous religions were invited to pray in their own manner – that is to say in their idolatrous manner – for peace.”

On October 27, 1986, Pope John Paul II held a World Day of Prayer for Peace in Assisi, Italy, at which he prayed together with Orthodox Christians, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Buddhists and representatives of many other religions. He addressed the representatives of the different religions with the words: “Religions are many and varied, and they reflect the desire of men and women down through the ages to enter into a relationship with the Absolute Being.” 

Let us return to Bishop Schneider's words. He says that what we have now in Rome, the “formal performance of idolatrous acts in the Catholic Church, in the heart of the Catholic Church of St. Peter, is the triumph of the evil.”

Earlier on in this November 2 interview, Bishop Schneider spoke about the influence of Modernists in the Catholic Church and their effective denial of “immutable truths,” just as the Freemasons deny these truths and insist upon naturalism and anthropocentrism and try to undermine the “uniqueness of Jesus Christ.” The Kazakh bishop states that the Modernists' way of thinking is “similar” to the thoughts of Freemasonry – while insisting that “I would not say that Modernists are Freemasons.” They both have in common their professed “relativism.” “We human beings are the author of truth” is one of the main tenets of Freemasonry, and accordingly, man “can change these [truths] according to his desires.” “It is the core of Modernism,” Schneider continues, “relativism, naturalism, and complete anthropocentrism.” 

He also explains that Freemasonry is intrinsically “anti-supernaturalism,” “anti-Revelation.” The Modernists were “contaminated” by this “way of thinking.”

“Since then,” Bishop Schneider explains, “the Modernist movement in the Church penetrated ever more.” They “reached their peak at the Second Vatican Council, because they used this Church assembly as a tool to promote ever more their relativistic, anthropocentristic, naturalistic theories in the theology, in the liturgy, in the [pastoral] life of the Church.” 

After the Second Vatican Council, according to Bishop Schneider, in addition to the Modernists, there were also some “true members of Freemasonry” who got “high-ranking positions in the Church.” Asked by Mr. Matt about Annibale Bugnini – the architect of the Novus Ordo Mass – Schneider responds: “Yes, and others.” He mentions that some Freemasons might have been among the bishops, cardinals, “and even nuncios.” They “of course, helped the Modernist clergy,” even if these clergymen were not themselves Freemasonic, and they thus “promoted them to high positions of the Church.”

“It is evident that this is a strategy,” Bishop Schneider concludes.

And now, under Pope Francis, we witness how, “without shame, real evident heretics, deniers of the Catholic truth, are being promoted to high-ranking Church offices; but they are even given in some way a reward for their betrayal of Christ.”

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Maike Hickson

Dr. Maike Hickson was born and raised in Germany. She holds a PhD from the University of Hannover, Germany, after having written in Switzerland her doctoral dissertation on the history of Swiss intellectuals before and during World War II. She now lives in the U.S. and is married to Dr. Robert Hickson, and they have been blessed with two beautiful children. She is a happy housewife who likes to write articles when time permits.

Dr. Hickson published in 2014 a Festschrift, a collection of some thirty essays written by thoughtful authors in honor of her husband upon his 70th birthday, which is entitled A Catholic Witness in Our Time.

Hickson has closely followed the papacy of Pope Francis and the developments in the Catholic Church in Germany, and she has been writing articles on religion and politics for U.S. and European publications and websites such as LifeSiteNews, OnePeterFive, The Wanderer, Rorate Caeli, Catholicism.org, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Notizie Pro-Vita, Corrispondenza Romana, Katholisches.info, Der Dreizehnte,  Zeit-Fragen, and Westfalen-Blatt.