This is the first part of a three-part series on LifeSite's exclusive interview with Bishop Schneider.
Bishop Schneider on how the laity should address concerns about Pope Francis
ROME, May 13, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Kazakhstan is without doubt one of the most outspoken bishops in the world regarding internal struggles the Catholic Church is facing in the wake of controversial statements and interviews by Pope Francis. LifeSiteNews asked him if faithful Catholics, who love the Pope and do not wish to harm the papacy should express themselves, or if they should remain silent regarding their concerns about Pope Francis.
Speaking to LifeSiteNews at the Rome Life Forum Bishop Schneider replied:
In the Church, we are not living in a dictatorship. In a dictatorship, we do not have the courage to contradict the dictator. But when, in the Church, we arrive at a situation where faithful priests and bishops are fearful to say anything, like in a dictatorship, this is not Church. This is not the Church of dialogue, of collegiality, of family. No. In a family, there has to be the possibility of exchange your views.
And sometimes, good parents even allow their children, when they are growing, express themselves. Why not? A good father will accept when his elder son says, ‘Father, this is not so correct.’ Sometimes it happens.
And so, the Holy Father is our father. And when he says to these groups, ‘You must not speak all the time about these [things]’ you can say with all reverence, ‘Holy Father, this is an unjust accusation to us. We are unjustly accused. It is not the case that we speak every time, and all the time, about this. We don't speak on this all the time. We speak on the Gospel, we speak about family life, we speak about prayer. So, your judgment, it is unjust to us. Your accusation is unjust. And permit us, in some way, to defend ourselves, and hear our voice.’
Bishop Schneider ended the interview offering LifeSiteNews and its supporters his blessing. “God bless you and continue your holy and very precious work for family and marriage and for the Gospel and the Church,” he said.