As last year's portion of the synod progressed, I think a lot of Catholics were gobsmacked by the lack of leadership from the bishops in defense of traditional Church teaching on marriage, family, and sexuality. Cardinal Burke pushed back, obviously. Bishop Tobin made some interesting observations. We heard some encouraging things from Cardinal Napier and the Bishops Conference of Poland.
But then the synod wrapped up and everyone went home. And suddenly came this voice from one of far corners of the earth – how many people in the Western world could find Kazakhstan on a map? – the voice of Bishop Athanasius Schneider. And it was a clear and courageous voice. He called the ideology found in the mid-synod relatio “heterodox” and “neo-pagan,” and “a black mark which has stained the honour of the Apostolic See.”
I was hearing from a lot of Catholics who were really upset about what was going on at the synod, and everyone was asking themselves and each other, “What do we do about this? What can we legitimately do?” I was prompted by a friend to reach out to Bishop Schneider, and was really gratified by his prompt and deeply thoughtful response. This man is a true shepherd of the Church, and cares deeply for souls, for the Eucharist, and for families.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider: Battling the New Gnosticism
It is a sad truth that we are in a time of great crisis in the Church. God is with us, however. You have asked me what the faithful can do to combat the errors spreading through the Church. I would like to answer with some suggestions:
We must create groups of true Catholics, scholars, families, and clergy who will spread courageously the full Catholic truth, especially on the Church’s teachings on the family, on nature, and the commandments of God.
As a means to this aim, we must make use of all the resources that the modern world offers to us. We are not confined to waiting for the media to spread these messages. We do not have to wait for each individual pastor to preach them from the pulpit. We should embrace the new media forms that allow us to spread the Gospel and the teachings of our Holy Mother, the Church. We should take our message to the Internet, publish it on websites, blogs, and social media.
But we must not forget to engage with our fellow Catholics in more traditional ways. We should organize conferences and symposiums on a scholarly level. We should use these to create publications, papers, and books that can be used as a reference and broaden our discussion.
We should also create a movement of Catholic families, of “domestic churches”, to witness, defend and spread the integral faith and the teaching on family, marriage, and the order of nature.
We must, at this dangerous time, be courageous in illuminating the truly Gnostic and revolutionary character of the “Kasper agenda,” demonstrating the continuity of the Divine doctrine on marriage and its practice throughout the two thousand years of the history of our Church. We should inspire the faithful with examples of holy husbands, families, children, and teenagers. We should demonstrate, on the one side, the real beauty of a marital, family, or single life in chastity and fidelity. On the other side, we must point to the demonstrated ugliness, unhappiness, and schizophrenia of a life against the divinely-established order.
To give hope to those who are struggling, it is important for us to give examples of repentant Catholics from the past and present time. Those who converted from their sinful life in adultery, divorce, or sodomy.
To address the errors currently being spread, true Catholic husbands, families and single persons must write to the pope, to the their bishops, and to the competent dicasteries of the Roman Curia, notifying them of heretical, semi-heretical, or Gnostic pronouncements of ecclesiastical persons or events with such an agenda which are being promoted though ecclesiastical persons or groups.
These are all means of education and formation. But the battle we are fighting is against more than ignorance. It is against principalities and powers. It cannot succeed unless we organize a great national and international net of prayer through Eucharistic adoration, pilgrimages, solemn Masses, intercessional and penitential processions with themes such as “The Holiness of Family and Marriage,” “The Call to Chastity,” “The Beauty and Happiness of a Chaste Life,” “The Imitation of Christ in Family Life,” and “Expiation for the Sins Against Family and Marriage.”
Perhaps most fundamental of all, we should pray fervently that God may give to His Church holy bishops and holy popes. Such a prayer should be prayed especially by children, because the prayer of the innocent ones penetrates heaven like no other.
Bishop Schneider's comments were originally featured at OnePeterFive, and are reprinted here with permission.