"Non possumus!" to the Synod: Bp. Schneider

November 04, 2015
Source: District of the USA

Bishop Athanasius Schneider made a clear and firm statement against the Final Report of the Synod on the Family.

After the publication of the Synod of the Family Final Report and the shock that it brought to Catholics, we published the comments of Cardinal Burke and the Declaration of Bishop Fellay. Now another episcopal voice has spoken the truth in a piece entitled: The Synod's backdoor to a Neo-Mosaic practice. We thank Bishop Schneider and pray for him.

Everyone in the Church—from the simple faithful to the holders of the Magisterium—should say:

Non possumus!’ I will not accept an obfuscated speech nor a skillfully masked back door to a profanation of the Sacrament of Marriage and Eucharist. Likewise, I will not accept a mockery of the Sixth Commandment of God. I prefer to be ridiculed and persecuted rather than to accept ambiguous texts and insincere methods. I prefer the crystalline 'image of Christ the Truth, rather than the image of the fox ornamented with gemstones’ (St. Irenaeus), for ‘I know whom I have believed’, ‘Scio, Cui credidi!’ (2 Tim 1:12).

With precision, Bishop Schneider analyzes the words and quotes used in the controversial paragraphs (84-86) of this Final Report. He shows the consequences of it and the Catholic doctrines at stake: “a practical denial of the indissolubility of marriage”; “a back door and pending time bombs”.

Shepherds in the Church should exhort: “divorce is divorce,” “adultery is adultery” and “who commits consciously and freely grave sins against the Commandments of God—and in this case against the Sixth Commandment—and dies unrepentant will receive eternal condemnation being excluded forever from the kingdom of God.”

Omission, ambiguity, dishonesty, and cacophony


The text of the Final Report of the Synod not only omits to convince unambiguously divorced and civilly remarried persons concerning the adulterous and thus gravely sinful character of their life style. It justifies indirectly such a lifestyle by means of assigning this question ultimately to the area of the individual conscience...

...Public violators of the Sixth Commandment, such as divorced and remarried, cannot be admitted to the office of lectors, godparents or catechists... The advocacy for the admission of divorced and remarried to the task of godparents and catechists… turns out to be an instrumentalization of a specific ideological agenda. This is a dishonesty and a mockery of the institution of godparents or catechists... Such a proposal represents an indirect support to the culture of divorce and a practical denial of an objectively sinful lifestyle...

...The Final Report seems to inaugurate a doctrinal and disciplinary cacophony in the Catholic Church, which contradicts the very essence of being Catholic… [It] caused a situation of obscuration, confusion, subjectivity… and an un-Catholic doctrinal and disciplinary particularism in a matter which is essentially connected to the deposit of faith transmitted by the Apostles."

Skillful and new Pharisees

Bishop Schneider reminds us of the pastoral and loving approach of the Church to those who live in difficult situations but he does not mince his words about the duplicity of the redactors of the Final Report, pointing out these churchmen with severity.

They “skillfully and, in a cunning manner, avoided any direct change of the doctrine of the Church” but they “masked their practical denial of the indissolubility of marriage” and “under the pretext of mercy and a false pastorality, … tried to cover up the spiritually dangerous state of the divorced and remarried”, and “one has the impression of a highly skillful, elaborated ambiguity.”

Bishop Schneider calls them: “real new disciples of Moses” and “new Pharisees” “for in order to reconcile a life in adultery with the reception of Holy Communion, they skillfully invented new letters, a new law of ‘discernment and integration,’ introducing new human traditions against the crystalline commandment of God.”

He also denounces their “intentional censorship of the teaching of Familiaris Consortio”, noting that the text even avoids the expression "Holy Communion" or "sacraments". “Instead," he said,

the text by means of obfuscating tactics, uses ambiguous expressions like ‘a more full participation in the life of the Church’ and ‘discernment and integration’… causing by this a profanation of the two great sacraments of Marriage and Eucharist."

He compares the “deliberate avoidance of mentioning and reaffirming… the unchangeable principle of the entire Catholic tradition” about the denial of Communion for divorced and remarried “with the systematic avoidance of the expression 'homoousios' on behalf of the opponents of the dogma of the Council of Nicea in the 4th century.”

Augustine, Irenaeus, and Basil

Bishop Schneider uses refreshing and strong quotes from the Church Fathers to say today what we should hear from the pastors.

About the sacraments for those who are in an immoral marital union, he quotes St. Augustine:

Who dismisses his adulterous wife and marries another woman, whereas his first wife still lives, remains perpetually in the state of adultery. Such a man does not any efficacious penance while he refuses to abandon the new wife. If he is a catechumen, he cannot be admitted to baptism, because his will remains rooted in the evil. If he is a (baptized) penitent, he cannot receive the (ecclesiastical) reconciliation as long as he does not break with his bad attitude."

Against the ambiguity of the Final Report he quotes St. Irenaeus:

He who retains unchangeable in his heart the rule of the truth which he received by means of baptism, will doubtless recognize the names, the expressions, and the parables taken from the Scriptures, but will by no means acknowledge the blasphemous use which these men make of them…"

And to describe the confusion and scandal provoked by these synods, he recalls Pope Damasus quoting St. Basil:

The laws of the Church are in confusion.  The ambition of men, who have no fear of God, rushes into high posts, and exalted office is now publicly known as the prize of impiety. The result is, that the worse a man blasphemes, the fitter the people think him to be a bishop. Clerical dignity is a thing of the past. There is no precise knowledge of canons. There is complete immunity in sinning; for when men have been placed in office by the favor of men, they are obliged to return the favor by continually showing indulgence to offenders. Just judgment is a thing of the past; and everyone walks according to his heart’s desire. Men in authority are afraid to speak, for those who have reached power by human interest are the slaves of those to whom they owe their advancement…"

May God bless Bishop Schneider!