Bishop Schneider: A modest step in the right direction

Bishop Schneider - Christopher FerraraAs many of you likely already know, the Remnant recently published a letter from Bishop Athanasius Schneider (with his permission) addressed to Mr. Christopher Ferrara, on the topic of Amoris Laetitia.

Bishop Schneider’s letter was written in response to an Open Letter that Mr. Ferrara had previously addressed to him wherein he asked, among other things:

“Is it enough to call, as you do, for ‘an authentic interpretation of AL by the Apostolic See’ that would reaffirm Familiaris consortio 84 and the bi-millennial sacramental discipline it defends?”

Like every good lawyer, Mr. Ferrara is not in the habit of posing questions to which he knows not the answer!

As you may recall, His Excellency’s initial response to Amoris Laetitia [to which I responded HERE] was rather carefully worded.

In it, he placed a great deal of emphasis on ambiguities and opinions relative to the poisonous text, but ultimately he offered little of substance in the way of direct criticism of the odious screed; much less its humble author.

In his response to Mr. Ferrara, however, Bishop Schneider publicly admitted that Amoris Laetitia contains “objectively erroneous expressions.”

This is a step in the right direction, but let’s not get carried away, folks – it’s a very modest step indeed, and hardly the historical act of heroism that so many of our shepherd-starved brethren are making it out to be.

Look, I get it… Against the dark backdrop of the pathetic episcopal lot, Bishop Schneider appears as a shining star, and his letter, an intrepid defense of the flock.

Then again, if (God forbid) I measure my own sanctity against the miserable condition of the culture in which we presently live, I almost appear rather holy. (For the record, I and everyone who knows me well knows better.)

The point is we have a name for such manner of appraisal; it’s called relativism. Bear this in mind as we move on…

At the conclusion of his Open Letter, Mr. Ferrara implored Bishop Schneider:

…to do everything in his power to persuade his brethren in the episcopacy … to mount concerted and decisive public opposition to the destructive novelties of Amoris laetitia, explicitly identifying them as such, warning the faithful against them, and respectfully petitioning the Pope for their immediate correction or the total withdrawal of the catastrophic text.

So, what does Bishop Schneider’s response indicate with respect to his willingness to take up this heartfelt plea from Mr. Ferrara?

As far as persuading his brethren in the episcopacy to act, it naturally tells us very little as this is the sort of activity that is carried out in private. That said, I have little doubt that he is doing something along these lines.

As for explicitly identifying the destructive novelties of Amoris Laetitia as such, and warning the faithful against them, we must admit that His Excellency’s response leaves much more to be desired than it actually offers.

Bishop Schneider speaks of “a real spiritual danger, which will cause doctrinal confusion, a fast and easy spreading of heterodox doctrines concerning marriage and moral law … the praxis of admitting divorced and remarried to Holy Communion, a praxis which will trivialize and profane … the sacrament of Marriage, of Penance, and of the Most Holy Eucharist.”

Indeed, this is the case, but to what does His Excellency attribute this danger? The same old bogyman; namely, “the ambiguous expressions of AL.”


“Ambiguities” is a proper description for text that intends one thing (e.g., to convey the truth), and yet risks leading one to assume that it represents the other (e.g., an attack against, or deviation from, the truth).

This is hardly the case with Amoris Laetitia.

Be that as it may, His Excellency is calling for “competent scholars of dogmatic and moral theology” to undertake “a solid analysis of all ambiguous and objectively erroneous expressions in AL.”

To which I must ask, to what end should “objectively erroneous expressions” be analyzed?

In other words, for what exactly will the expert analysts be searching?

“Objectively erroneous expressions” in this case – the same that Bishop Schneider plainly acknowledges as present – represent an attack against Christ! For what, then, must the true Christian soldier (or bishop) await before mounting an authentic defense?

Has anyone else noticed that the post-conciliar bishops are always getting ready to get ready, and preparing in preparation, in advance of some meaningful act that in the end never actually happens; unless, of course, it involves something destructive?

I, for one, am getting sick and tired of this routine.

Now, let me be very clear: I am confident, based upon my own private correspondence with Bishop Schneider, that his suggestion for some ill-defined “scientific analysis” is well-intended, but I am also certain that no more evaluation of Amoris Laetitia is necessary beyond that which has already taken place.

On this blog alone it has been well-demonstrated that certain of the statements made in Amoris Laetitia have been anathematized and condemned by the Council of Trent, no less.

Much more highly-qualified commentators, experts in the fields of moral theology and philosophy, have all-the-more credibly demonstrated just how severely the text of Amoris Laetitia deviates from immutable truth.

With this being the case, can we please stop beating around the bush?

Bishop Schneider, in a good faith attempt to encourage the flock, wrote:

In these our dark times, in which Our Beloved Lord seems to sleep in the boat of His Holy Church, all Catholics, beginning from the bishops up to the simplest faithful, who still take seriously their baptismal vows, should with one voice (“una voce”) make a profession of fidelity, enunciating concretely and clearly all those Catholic truths, which are in some expressions of AL undermined or ambiguously disfigured. It would be a kind of a “Credo” of the people of God.

God love, protect, and strengthen Bishop Schneider for trying! I’m sorry to say, however, this exhortation tells us far more about the problem than it represents a solution.

Specifically, it tells us that His Excellency has adopted the fatally flawed conciliar mindset wherein it is imagined that the Church best “meets the needs of the present day by demonstrating the validity of her teaching rather than by condemnations” (Pope John XXIII, Opening Address to the Second Vatican Council, 11 October 1962).

Every responsible parent (and bishop) knows very well that this is a recipe for disaster.

Should we openly profess our fidelity to immutable Catholic truth, as opposed to following the diabolical lies contained in Amoris Laetitia?

Of course, but don’t kid yourself, the heresy and blasphemy contained in this historically dangerous text calls for much more than that.

The first thing we (and if I dare say so, Bishop Schneider) need to recognize is that there really is no such thing in the Church as constituted by the will of Christ as “up to the simplest faithful.”

In truth:

The Church is essentially an unequal society, that is, a society comprising two categories of persons, the Pastors and the flock … the one duty of the multitude is to allow themselves to be led, and, like a docile flock, to follow the Pastors. (cf Pope St. Pius X, Vehementer Nos)

With this in mind, it should be clear that while a Credo of the people of God is a nice idea, that’s not the answer.

It is high time for every truly faithful bishop to get down to the task at hand; namely, the wholesale condemnation of this disgusting document, Amoris Laetitia, and the public calling to account of its perfidious author.

This is what the present situation demands, and nothing less.

Let us pray and make sacrifice for the grace that Bishop Schneider and his brethren in the episcopacy need to meet the challenge.

aka Donate 12-2015

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