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Bishop Schneider in conversation with LifeSite, February 2023.LifeSiteNews

ROME (LifeSiteNews) — Bishop Athanasius Schneider has warned that current trends in the Catholic Church on ecumenism and “ecological conversion” present a threat to Catholic teaching and “undermine the truth that there is only one Church of God, and this is the Catholic Church.”

The auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan, made the comments during a recent interview he gave with LifeSiteNews in Rome, on which a second article is to published in these pages.

The bishop warned against the current trend of interreligious events, as well as against the rhetoric of “ecological conversion.” However, he also offered encouragement to Catholics wanting to preserve the fullness of the Catholic faith: “Study the Catholic faith.”

Modern ecumenism in the Catholic Church ‘undermines’ Divine teaching

Under Pope Francis, the Vatican has seen a flurry of ecumenical and interreligious events over the past few years. His infamous 2019 Abu Dhabi document denotes clearly the interreligious future which Francis desires for the Catholic Church. The document states: “The pluralism and the diversity of religions, colour, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings.”

READ: Pope-backed interreligious Abrahamic Family House opens in Abu Dhabi

Bishop Schneider warned that such interreligious events are promoting a concept that Catholicism is just one religion among equals. Such modern ecumenical efforts are proposing that “everyone can continue in his own way, but then this is very dangerous — there is no stable and unchanging truth,” he warned. 

Modern ecumenism “undermines the truth that there is only one Church of God and this is the Catholic Church, the Church of Peter, united with the Holy See, the chair of Peter — the Popes.” Furthermore, its proponents are “transmitting a message that multiplicity of religions is a good situation,” he said.

It’s not okay! It’s not the will of God. Because these non-Catholics communities contain objective errors which God condemns, which God does not accept.

Schneider added that “non-Catholic communities contain errors, either doctrinal or moral,” and such errors are “contrary to the revelation, and will of God. What is contrary to the will of God cannot bring blessings.”

READ: Official German Catholic news outlet publishes piece calling pro-life prayer rallies ‘un-Christian’

While the Vatican heavily promotes interreligious actions, Schneider stated that “such gestures, or inter-religious meetings, are undermining these truths, and therefore these actions have to change.” 

He added that Catholics must ensure that charity is always practiced with non-Catholics, but must also inform non-Catholics “that they are unfortunately in an objective error, and that they are called by God to join the Holy Mother Church which is the Catholic Church, which is the will of God.”

By helping non-Catholics “patiently” and with a “crystal clear dialogue” which assists them to “see their own errors,” a proper “love for neighbor” can take place, he stated.

This is the true love for neighbor — when we Catholics are saying to our separated brothers, showing them respectfully their errors, because they cannot continue to live in these errors which are contrary to the will of God.

The vocal prelate weighed in on the use of the term “subsists” — a term which has caused consternation for several decades since its emergence in the Second Vatican Council: “The Church of God is the Catholic Church, not only subsists it.”

Schneider noted it is “a very ambiguous expression because then it can suppose that there are other churches or communities which God established. No, there is only Catholic Church willed by God, and all the others abandoned the Holy Catholic Church.”

Ecological conversion

Heavily promoted by Pope Francis’ environmental encyclical Laudato Si, the Vatican has embarked on numerous calls for more “climate change” action, including the need for an “ecological conversion.” To that end, the Vatican even joined the pro-abortion Paris Climate Agreement last year.

READ: Catholic groups worldwide join fossil fuel ‘divestment’ to fight ‘climate change’

However, Schneider warned that the heavy push for “ecological conversion” — which often takes priority over calls for a moral conversion — is a “misuse” of the term and a way to distract from the Church’s mission.

This is a very sad phenomena because so called ecological conversion is an expression of pure naturalism…there is no supernatural vision, or a very vacant supernatural vision.

By focusing on “ecological conversion,” Schneider warned that “the concept of conversion is missed here for temporal, naturalistic aims, to restrict the vision of our Christian life only to materialism.”

“We are not created for this earth, God created us for heaven,” he stated.

He noted that Christ did not establish ecology as the Church’s first priority on earth, but rather “came to save souls and He Himself said.”

The Kazakhstan bishop stated that careful, ordered care of creation is a “ logical consequence” of the Church’s primary mission, in that “when we are cleansed in our soul and redeemed then we are more able to take care of God’s creation. This is a logical consequence, and so we see that the care of creation was expressed in a more beautiful manner by the saints of the Church.”

READ: Vatican’s official newspaper promotes call to ‘fast’ from fossil fuels during Lent

He also noted that St. Francis of Assisi, who is quoted today by clerical proponents of “climate change action,” is “often misused by the materialistic and naturalistic philosophy.” Yet the saint’s chief mission was to “live the Gospel,” noted Schneider, a mission which lead to a secondary love for the “creation of God.”

“Ecological conversion is an abuse of this concept of conversion itself,” he continued, since conversion “is firstly used by God in Revelation to convert from sin. To convert from being away from God.

This matter of ecological conversion is an an abuse of the concept of conversion itself and our vision input away from the essential, supernatural vision to a natural vision of the Church.

On the contrary, Schneider noted that “conversion” must be rooted in Christ’s call for “penance” which is required for moral sins.