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Bishop Athanasius SchneiderBoulevard Voltaire / YouTube

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PARIS, France, July 5, 2021 (LifeSiteNews) – During a recent trip to France, where he ordained two priests and two deacons for the traditional Latin Mass at the Institute of the Good Shepherd, Bishop Athanasius Schneider gave a large number of talks and interviews about his book of conversations with Diane Montagna, Christus Vincit, last year translated into French. Bishop Schneider, who is the auxiliary bishop of Nur Soltan, the capital of Kazakhstan, is known for his outspokenness and his steadfastness in defending the traditional beliefs and doctrines of the Church. Answering the questions of Gabrielle Cluzel of the French independent web media, “Boulevard Voltaire,” he stated very clearly that Islam is a false religion, saying: 

We are living in a spiritual battle between truth and lies. Between the true religion, which is only the Catholic faith, which was revealed by God and given to all men, and the other religions, and in a special way Islam, which is a very strong religion, politically tooalso. The clergy must be very honest, to say that there are intrinsic dangers in this religion: the element of physical violence, intolerance, discrimination against people considered as non-Muslims, second class citizens.

In contrast with the pro-migration narrative of so many French bishops, Schneider warned that the political trend in welcoming ever more Muslim migrants into France and Europe – a situation he called the “de facto islamization of France and now of Europe” –   means that this transformation is only a matter of time. 

Calling for the “true apostolic missionary zeal” in the face of Islam, Bishop Schneider said: “We have to offer our brothers and sisters who are Muslim citizens the happiness of hearing the truth of the Catholic faith too.” 

Gabrielle Cluzel asked Bishop Schneider about the religious state of France and the coronavirus crisis in particular. The bishop emphasized that France, despite its secularism derived from the French Revolution, still impressed him with its public mobilization for the right to public worship during the COVID lockdowns, when hundreds of faithful of all ages joined prayerful demonstrations to protest against “arbitrary measures” on the part of the secularist government. 

Referring to the COVID crisis, Bishop Schneider called it the manifestation of a “new religion”: “the religion of the body, or the religion of bodily health only, with all its forms of fear, intimidation, panic…” He added: “A large part of the population has allowed itself to be intimidated because it had already lived in the midst of a vision of the body only, not of spirituality, not of the vision that there is still an eternal life, that there is still the immortality of the soul. It was a demonstration of the state of our society, completely materialistic and living a new religion.” 

Here below is LifeSite’s full translation of Bishop Schneider’s interview with Gabrielle Cluzel on “Boulevard Voltaire.” 

Gabrielle Cluzel : I would like us to talk about France since your frequent travels allow you to make comparisons and put things in perspective. What would you say about French Catholics? 

Bishop Schneider : I was impressed during the lockdown by the example of French Catholics when they protested in a peaceful way against these arbitrary measures, the prohibition of worship. We saw many Catholics in various places in France praying the rosary in public, on the sidewalk, on their knees, with young people, children. I don't know of any other example in Europe of this very strong way of expressing fidelity to worship, to Sunday Mass during the lockdown. Even if [they did not turn out] in large numbers, it was still a very impressive example. I think that French Catholics have the heritage of the martyrs of the persecution of the Church that took place during the French Revolution, and then the example of the fidelity of the Catholics of the Vendée, and of the saints who are today known and best loved throughout the world, the French saints: the Curé d'Ars, St. Therese of the Child Jesus… The devotion to the Sacred Heart began in France with Saint Marguerite-Marie Alacoque at Paray-le-Monial, and then the Eucharistic devotion was promoted in a very strong way by Saint Pierre-Julien Eymard, a French saint.  There are also the missionary congregations, very meritorious, from France: the mission to Africa, in a particular way, was founded by French missionaries. I think that Catholic France has been a gift to the whole Church with its great treasure of spirituality, of saints. Now we can observe that there are communities in France, however small, that try to keep this faith, this fidelity of the Catholic faith, and to transmit this faith to the younger generations. This is a sign of hope. 

G. C. : It is true that we are lacking hope a little because, without being a catastrophist, if I do a brief review of the situation in France, there are dozens of churches that have burned down in the last few years, destroyed either by malice or by negligence. But the facts are there: there are desecrations, thefts of religious goods. There are more than a thousand anti-religious acts recorded per year in France, and Catholicism is the most attacked religion. You remember that Father Hamel had his throat cut in his church; there are faithful in Nice who were assassinated by Islamists in their basilica. In another vein, there are Catholic priests who were insulted and maltreated while processioning to Montmartre; the Mass was forbidden during the COVID lockdown, and priests and faithful were denounced as bad citizens because they did not observe the rules to the letter… You yourself experienced in your childhood what it means to be persecuted in your faith and not to be able to practice it. Do you think that this could happen in France in the short or medium term? Or should we not give in to pessimism? 

Bishop Schneider: These phenomena that you have described are already signs [of persecution], but at the same time I think that Catholics in France must not let themselves be intimidated. You must have a spirit of courage and of public witness, and of defense of the rights of Catholics, of the faithful. You have to have associations, including with all people of good will, to protect the fundamental rights of Christians in the public space. Perhaps there will come a time when Catholics will be isolated, discriminated against. I don't think it will be a direct, bloody persecution, as was the case during the French Revolution. I think there is a possibility that Catholics will be isolated, discriminated against in public life and in their professional life, because of their fidelity to the faith. I have in mind the possibility of this subtle, cunning form of persecution. 

G.C.: I must point out that our readers are sometimes quite critical of the clergy because our readers are sometimes more cultural than worshiping CatholicsThey are not always practicing Catholics, but they are people who are attached to the Christian roots of France. And in their comments, they sometimes judge the Catholic Church to be not very comprehensible, or even to be ineffectual, in the face of the massive and visible rise of Islam in our country. It is as if a certain vision of charity and inter-religious dialogue paralyzed them. What do you think of this? Is there not a spiritual battle to be waged by the Church? 

Bishop Schneider: Of course, we must have a realistic vision because we are living in a spiritual battle between truth and lies, between the true religion, which is only the Catholic faith, which was revealed by God and given to all men, and the other religions – and in a special way Islam, which is a very strong religion: politically too. The clergy must be very honest, must say that there are intrinsic dangers in this religion: the element of physical violence, intolerance, discrimination against people considered non-Muslims, second class citizens. But this has always been the case in Muslim countries where we can observe the same thing. We must dialogue with Islam, of course, but with honesty, sincerity. And it must be said that our European culture, marked by Christianity or the very strong Catholic faith, should be preserved in our society. The de facto Islamization of France and now of Europe, we can observe it by the promotion of migrants through politics. Thus, the numerical presence of Islam is still increasing. It is only a question of time. At the same time, we can observe this phenomenon: a great part of the clergy, of the episcopate, does not possess missionary zeal, the true apostolic missionary zeal, to preach the Gospel, the Catholic faith, to our society and also to Islam. We have to offer our brothers and sisters who are Muslim citizens the happiness of hearing the truth of the Catholic faith too. 

G.C.: The French sometimes have the feeling that Catholicism and with it the civilization it has shaped are in the process of fading away, of tiptoeing away. Is this inexorable or do you think there is reason to hope? You have given us some signs, but what is your reply to those who say that ultimately this exit from Catholicism and Western civilization is just the unavoidable course of history? 

Bishop Schneider: We have been able to observe this process since the French Revolution. The beginning was there: the destruction of Christian civilization, and at all levels of society the appearance of the so-called secular or religion-free spirit. And now we have the fruits of this process of two centuries of secularization. Nevertheless, I think that we can join our efforts to re-establish, little by little, the values of Christian culture: the values of the family, of morality, of the defense of life and of the presence of God in the midst of society. 

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"No man can serve two masters. For either he will hate the one, and love the other: or he will sustain the one, and despise the other. You cannot serve God and mammon." - Matthew 6:24

In the lead-up to their meeting in mid-June, we call on the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops (USCCB) to exclude Joe Biden and other “Catholic” politicians (like, Nancy Pelosi) from Holy Communion over their public, obstinate, and scandalous promotion of abortion.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition which asks the USCCB to act to stop the abuse of the reception of the Holy Eucharist by politicians who promote the murder of innocent pre-born babies.

We know that making a decision to exclude public figures from Holy Communion is not easy. But, sometimes, this is the only way to make them understand the error of their ways, and to preserve the Church from serious scandal.

Indeed, Canon Law (Canon 915) declares that those who persist in manifest, grave sin should not be admitted to Holy Communion

Beyond that, at this point, public excommunication appears as the only suitable response for Biden's obstinate, public and grave sin of promoting abortion.

In doing so, we do not hold ourselves up as judges over Joe Biden's eternal soul, but we encourage the bishops to make known one of the consequences of public and obstinate support of abortion by our 'Catholic' politicians.

The fact is, in terms of the manifest, grave sin of abortion, Joe Biden is as bad as he said he would be before the election.

Therefore, it is cold comfort that the USCCB is only preparing to discuss this issue only now.

But even now, if the USCCB publicly excommunicate Biden for his pro-abortion stance (as well as other pro-abortion politicians), the Conference could reclaim some of the moral authority which they lost by their largely silent assent to Biden's candidacy.

Please SIGN and SHARE this petition, now.

Since Joe Biden was sworn-in on the 20th of January, he has wasted no time in signing orders and bills which facilitate the destruction of unborn human life.

  • In one executive order, Biden rescinded the Mexico City Policy prohibiting the federal government from spending taxpayer monies on abortion and the promotion of abortion.
  • Biden also signed (instead of vetoing) the COVID relief bill, which, for the first time in 44 years, contained funding for abortions in America, using taxpayer dollars.
  • Biden said that he wouldn't defend Hyde, and he hasn't.

And, if he and the Democratic Party get their way, a lot more of the same regarding abortion is on the way.

Strong action must be taken lest anyone, especially young people, be confused by the scandal of a "Catholic" in Biden's position aggressively promoting abortion, enabling the killing of innocent human beings.

American rank-and-file Catholics don't want any more compromise and equivocation from the Bishops Conference on this "pre-eminent" life-and-death issue.

We want clear action, not twenty more years of dithering and "dialoguing."

50 million babies have been lost to abortion in the U.S. since Roe!

So, we will NOT accept any more lives lost as a result of dithering and "dialoguing." [**Please see "Notes" below about how it has been reported that some senior U.S. clerics are trying to prevent this discussion from even taking place.]

And, we will especially NOT accept one life lost to abortion by politicians who claim the Catholic Faith, but who promote grave evil. God forbid!

With all due respect to these bishops, they diminish the Holy Eucharist and their high office, as well as cause grave scandal to the faithful, by not imposing public canonical penalties on a man who is promoting mass murder of the unborn against the constant teaching of the Church.

The bishops are now at a crossroads and must choose either God or mammon.

We call on them to choose God and choose Life!

And we also continue to encourage those brave, true and good bishops who have done well to warn Amercian Catholics about the perils to the unborn and the Faith resulting from Biden's promotion of abortion!

SIGN and SHARE this petition, which asks the bishops of the United States to act in unison to exclude Joe Biden from Holy Communion for his scandalous promotion of abortion - the murder of the innocent.

After signing, please take a moment to CONTACT the offices of the USCCB to politely, but firmly, encourage the Conference to take the necessary steps to exclude from Holy Communion public officials who continue to show blatant disregard for innocent human life and the Church's teaching.

The USCCB's Office phone number is: 202.541.3000

FOR MORE INFORMATION:

Joe Biden: I support abortion ‘under any circumstance’ - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/joe-biden-i-support-abortion-under-any-circumstance

Biden administration has opened the way for ‘abortion by mail on a massive scale’ - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/biden-administration-unleashed-by

‘Catholic’ Biden marks Roe v. Wade anniversary with pledge to make abortion available for ‘everyone’ - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/catholic-biden-marks-roe-v-wade-anniversary-with-pledge-to-make-abortion-available-for-everyone

BREAKING: DC archbishop affirms he will give Holy Communion to pro-abortion Joe Biden - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/breaking-dc-archbishop-affirms-he-will-give-holy-communion-to-pro-abortion-joe-biden

Vatican puts brakes on US bishops confronting problem of pro-abortion Biden receiving Holy Communion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/vatican-puts-brakes-on-us-bishops-confronting-problem-of-pro-abortion-biden-receiving-holy-communion

Abp. Aquila backs call for pro-abortion ‘Catholic’ Joe Biden to be denied Holy Communion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/abp-aquila-backs-call-for-pro-abortion-catholic-joe-biden-to-be-denied-holy-communion

Cardinal Burke floats ‘excommunication’ for Biden over his ‘aggressive’ abortion promotion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/cardinal-burke-floats-excommunication-for-biden-over-his-aggressive-promotion-of-abortion

Biden’s HHS is lying about Title X to push abortion - https://www.lifesitenews.com/blogs/bidens-hhs-is-lying-about-title-x-to-push-abortion

List of US bishops for and against denying Communion to pro-abortion politicians like Biden, Pelosi - https://www.lifesitenews.com/news/list-of-us-bishops-for-and-against-denying-communion-to-pro-abortion-politicians-like-biden-pelosi

Notes about USCCB's June Meeting:

For nearly twenty years, the US bishops have been dithering about whether or not to excommunicate pro-abortion politicians by formally withholding Holy Communion from them.

Their indecision on this gravely scandalous matter is a scandal in itself, but one of the biggest obstacles has been internal opposition from senior U.S. bishops.

And, although the faces have changed in the last 20 years, their morally-and-intellectually-challenged arguments against excommunication have not changed.

Liberal bishops of the USCCB say that excommunicating Biden (for example) would divide the Church, divide the bishops, and would politicize the reception of Holy Communion.

Indeed, in the name of “unity,” it is reported that some senior U.S. clerics, including Cardinal Blase Cupich (Chicago), Cardinal Wilton Gregory (Washington, DC) and Cardinal O’Malley (Boston), have been working overtime to prevent any substantial discussion of so-called “Eucharist coherence” (that is, what qualifies as worthy reception of Holy Communion).

It is also reported that at least 57 other American bishops allegedly joined these Cardinals in a recent letter to the Head of the Bishops Conference, Archbishop Gomez of Los Angeles, to try to pressure him to drop the planned discussion at the full meeting of bishops in June.

And now, even the Vatican is getting involved, with the head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith suggesting that even more “dialogue” is needed.

These same clerics may mistakenly believe that any attempt to suppress the objective connection between a politician’s promotion of abortion and his unworthy reception of Holy Communion will fool anyone.

But, it will not.

Rank-and-file Catholics are not stupid and can smell compromise a mile away, and we’ve had enough.

With all due respect to the Cardinal, bishops, and the Vatican…those who fail to act diminish the Holy Eucharist and their high office, as well as cause grave scandal to the faithful, by “dialoguing” with a man who is promoting mass murder of the unborn against the constant teaching of the Church.

Please SIGN and SHARE this urgent petition urging the bishops Conference to take action at their June meeting to exclude pro-abortion Joe Biden and other abortion-promoting “Catholic” politicians from Holy Communion.

***Photo Credit: Claire Chretien / LifeSiteNews

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G.C.: Should the reaction we have seen in this health crisis, this wind of fear, disproportionate to the seriousness of a crisis that no one denies but that is not comparable to the Black Death, be linked to the loss of spirituality? Will it leave its mark? 

Bishop Schneider: We live in a society, I would say, which has a new religion, and this new religion can be called the religion of the body, or the religion of bodily health only, with all its forms of fear, intimidation, panic… A large part of the population has allowed itself to be intimidated because it had already lived in the midst of a vision of the body only, not of spirituality, not of the vision that there is still an eternal life, that there is still the immortality of the soul. It was a demonstration of the state of our society, completely materialistic, and living a new religion. 

G.C.: We are witnessing in France a very strong rise of violence. There is a fragmentation of society. There is no more common destiny; moreover, people do not go out to vote any more. Isn't this ultimately a sign of the decline of the Church as a social moderator, and does not the Church also have a mission to rebuild all this? 

Bishop Schneider: I think that the Church has [as her] principal mission to preach the divine truths: the revelation, the salvation of the soul, eternal salvation. This is the first mission of the Church. We can observe this behavior towards the political election: people have no more interest for the common good, for society. It is an expression, a demonstration of selfishness that is the consequence of materialism. We have to re-establish the interest for the common good for all and also a spiritual vision of man, of human life that is not only material – and it is the task of the Church to proclaim that there is still another life. Not only the material, bodily life, health. There is another life, the life of the soul, the life with God, the supernatural life, the eternal life. And this is the task of the Church. I think that at present the clergy, the hierarchy, has failed in its duty to preach very clearly this vision of immortal life, of supernatural life, of eternal life. 

G.C.: Conservative Catholics are often criticized for always saying that it was better in the old days, as the Latin aphorism goes. Even Pope Francis recently warned Christians against preachers urging a return to past traditions in response to current crises. But, after all, wasn't it better in the old days? 

Bishop Schneider: I think that society despises the past, the wisdom, the experience of the past, of our ancestors, that we have all received at the outset: our life and our culture. And so it is our task to pass on whatever we have received that is good and valuable. This is the exact nature of the crisis: the fact that the spirit of this secularized, secularist society has despised the fundamental values of Christian culture, and it is because of this contempt for tradition, for the past, that we have to a great extent the present crisis, which is spiritual and cultural as well. That's why I think that this action that you mentioned doesn't work, on the contrary. You have seen it in your own family: every family transmits to the children the experience of all the good things that this family, or the mother, or the father, must transmit. But the main, fundamental, indispensable value that every family should transmit is the faith, the Catholic faith that we have received. Each generation cannot invent it anew, but must transmit it. It is the most precious treasure. And only on the basis of this Catholic faith can we re-establish, reconstruct a social life worthy of man with a worthy culture that brings us true happiness, also, possibly, here on earth – where it is always a limited, fragile happiness – but always to guide us towards eternal and perpetual happiness. 

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