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Bishop Schneider distributing Holy Communion at the Institute of Christ the King Sovereign Priest's parish in Pittsburgh Screenshot/Twitter

(LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Athanasius Schneider – the auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan – has encouraged priests and Catholics to continue their devotion to the traditional Mass despite any restrictions, since to comply with restricting the Mass would be “a false obedience” that would harm souls.

Bishop Schneider made his comments during the question-and-answer session, which forms part of the monthly meeting held by the Confraternity of Our Lady of Fatima. He fielded a number of questions on the state of the traditional Mass after the regular release of fresh restrictions placed on it by Pope Francis since July 2021.

“The Pope has not the power to abolish the traditional Mass,” said Schneider, explaining that this is “because it is a property, a treasure of the entire Church, from all the saints, the Church of all ages.”

Highlighting how the traditional Mass was not born out of the Council of Trent, as is often argued, but rather predates it, Schneider pointed to the history of the Church’s traditional liturgy.

Because of the very venerable age and constant perennial use of this order of Mass by so many saints and generations of Catholics, and of almost all Catholic nations, the Pope has no power to simply abolish this. [Just as] as the Pope would not have the power to abolish the Apostolic creed and to substitute the apostolic creed with a new formula, and to prohibit at the same time the use of the apostolic creed. The same can apply to the order of Mass: this is a formula of venerable old use.

In response to whether a priest has the power to continue to offer the traditional Mass despite the issuing of the numerous restrictions on it, Bishop Schneider answered that a priest can in fact do so in “good conscience.”

“Because here he will be obeying Holy Mother Church – this is a greater obedience than to do a wrong obedience,” he stated. “The order of a Pope which evidently is damaging the spiritual good of the church – we cannot obey. It would be a false obedience to cooperate with something which is evidently damaging the spiritual good of souls and of the entire church.”

He also called Catholics to view the current pontificate in the view of the Church’s long history, noting that “Pope Francis is not eternal: his pontificate is also limited by time.”

Secret Masses to preserve the traditional liturgy

With fresh decrees from the Vatican having been issued only weeks ago and new ones rumored to be forthcoming around Easter, Bishop Schneider suggested that the traditional Mass might have to experience a period of being an underground church. He spoke of the possibility of priests celebrating the ancient liturgy “secretly or clandestinely, in a prudent way, praying for the Pope, loving the pope even though he can’t obey him in this concrete case.”

The priest must also pray for his bishop, noted Schneider, suggesting that such a cleric would be wise to “submit[] to another priest in good standing or another emeritus bishop.” He added that such a circumstance “would be only a temporary measure, very short.”

We have not to make polemics against the Pope, against the bishop, but we have to pray for them that God may illuminate them, that they may come back and they will [then] treasure the traditional Mass.

‘Abusing their powers for the harm of the Church’

Doubling down on his support for priests to continue to offer the traditional Mass, Schneider described the restrictions on the liturgy by Pope Francis and other prelates as harming the Church: “The bishop is here, and the pope, abusing their powers, for the harm of the church.”

READ: Bp. Schneider: Bishops who push ‘heresy’ know Pope Francis won’t punish them

Consequently, he encouraged priests who continued to offer the ancient liturgy, saying that “these priests can say ‘I cannot obey here because if I will obey I will be cooperating to bring harm, spiritual harm for the church and the souls.’”  

Such an “apparent disobedience is basically an obedience to the constant, perpetual sense of the Church of the popes and of the saints of the ages,” Schneider stated.

He had similar advice for members of the traditional communities who have found themselves facing unexplained moves from the Vatican. Bishop Schneider warned that Pope Francis was attempting to “change the charism of the cloistered nuns… this is a destruction of this precious treasure which the Church has in the strict, cloistered life.”

Calling the Holy See’s moves a “persecution,” Schneider noted how such actions would formerly have been made “by the political regimes, [but] is now made by the Holy See with beautiful expressions.” 

“The sisters must resist,” he said, “and keep this treasure for the sake of the entire Church, for the souls… and therefore this would be a wrong obedience to obey such orders from Rome to change the cloistered life.”

READ: EXCLUSIVE: Bp. Schneider warns ‘ecological conversion,’ ecumenism ‘undermine’ Catholic teaching

The Astana-based prelate also responded to comments Pope Francis made recently in regard to homosexuality and laws against it. He decried the papal statements, saying that they foment “confusion.” 

While he agreed that a homosexual tendency “in itself is not a sin or a crime, it is only a tendency,” Schneider added that “homosexual acts – this is a crime, because it is against nature. It is against the creator.”

It is a blasphemy against the creator. Homosexual acts are deeply blasphemous acts against the order of God… we are dishonoring our body with such acts. It is serious and therefore it is a crime before God, and on the civil level it can also be a crime. Of course, with a punishment with moderation, not extreme punishments, but with some moderation of punishments for homosexual acts in public. 

While Pope Francis has a history of welcoming homosexual and “transgender” individuals at the Vatican, Bishop Schneider warned against public actions that would imply approval of such a lifestyle.

To invite so-called homosexual couples to bring their children to church is a big confusion because this is a promotion of their lifestyle this way. I think the Pope cannot do this. We have to tell them they have to separate because it is a scandal, their union, they are living in sin in public sin. and giving a scandal against the order of God. 

Instead, he urged the Pope to issue a public call for same-sex couples to separate and to live a “chaste life”:

This should be what the Pope says: I ask you with all seriousness and love to separate and live a chaste life with the grace of God and do good works and give the children to a married couple, man and woman, who will raise them according to the laws of God and the Church.