ROME, Italy, May 17, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Catholics should respectfully “answer to a heretic pastor with the constant, unchanging teaching of the Church,” Bishop Athanasius Schneider said at the Rome Life Forum today, noting that during the fourth century “almost the entire episcopacy” accepted heresy but still the Church herself did not fall into error.
This was during the Arian crisis, the bishop explained to pro-life and pro-family leaders gathered at the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (the Angelicum). Pastors were promoting heresy in a “very widespread manner” then and “almost the entire episcopacy failed and yielded to heresy because of several reasons [and] motivations.”
Referencing Blessed John Henry Newman’s analysis of the Arian heresy, Bishop Schneider said the faithful laity, not their shepherds, preserved the purity of the Catholic faith even though “the bishop is, according to the rite of his ordination…called doctor fide…This is his task. And [even] more, the Pope is a doctor of the faith.”
So if Church leaders are promoting error, “the faithful have not to [listen] to the heresy and to answer to a heretic pastor with the constant, unchanging teaching of the Church.”
He suggested: “Say, with respect, ‘I know my faith. I know. I have the Catechism of all times. This cannot change. And for this faith, I am ready to die. Your Excellency, you are ready to die? Please, join me.’”