Athanasius Schneider judges the Roman Pontiff, Pope Francis, and his encyclical, Fratelli Tutti, in an interview published at LifeSiteNews.com here. Schneider speaks as if he has the role, above the Supreme Pontiff, to judge whether or not his teaching is true, and to correct him, before the entire Church on earth. Thus, Schneider is clearly in a state of schism. Across many public expressions regarding the Father and Teacher of all Christians, Athanasius Schneider rejects the authority, per se, of the Roman Pontiff over doctrine and discipline, rejects the authority of Pope Francis over himself (Schneider), and rejects any and all teachings of any Pope or Council with which he disagrees. There is no submission of Athanasius Schneider to the Roman Pontiff or to the body of Bishops in communion with him. Athanasius Schneider is in a state of public formal schism.
In addition, Schneider rejects the teaching of the Council of Trent on the supernatural adoption of human persons as children of God whenever they receive baptism by water or by desire. He speaks as if only Christians are children of God in this sense, contradicting the dogma of the Council of Trent that this spiritual adoption applies also to non-Christians who have the baptism of desire:
Schneider: “Hence, adherents of non-Christians religions do not have the gift of the supernatural virtue of faith and thus cannot be called “believers” in the proper sense of this word.”
Council of Trent: “By these words, a description of the justification of the impious is introduced, as being a translation from the state, in which a person is born a child of the first Adam, to the state of grace and of the adoption of the children of God, through the second Adam, Jesus Christ, our Savior. And certainly [this] translation, after the promulgation of the Gospel, is not able to occur without the washing of regeneration or its desire, just as it is written: ‘unless one has been reborn by water and the Holy Spirit, he is not able to enter into the kingdom of God.’ [John 3:5]”
The washing of regeneration is baptism by water. Then the expression “or its desire” refers to the baptism of desire. And of course we know from the teaching of the Church elsewhere that a third type of baptism also applies, the baptism of blood, such as is attained, certainly, by the catechumenate martyrs.
Athanasius Schneider has repeatedly rejected this teaching of the Council of Trent.
Bishop Athanasius Schneider: “It has to be clarified, because there is, there are two substantial different levels, substantial different levels, because we as Catholics we can adore, we do adore God always as Trinity, God Father, God Son and the Holy Spirit. Our adoration is an adoration of Faith, supernatural Faith, and to worship God as creator only or as one God only, you have not to, there is no need of Faith, it is sufficient the use of your reason.”
“This is a dogma of the first Vatican council, that every human person is able only by his reason, natural light of reason, natural, without the light of faith to recognize the existence of one God as creator and consequently to worship him according to his knowledge of natural reason, and these are the Muslims, they have no supernatural faith and therefore have no supernatural act of worship, and even the Jews, who rejected Jesus as God, as Trinity they rejected Him, have no faith and therefore their worship is also natural, not supernatural.”
The First Vatican Council did teach that human persons can know certain truths about God by the light of natural reason. But the Council NEVER taught that non-Christians necessarily lack supernatural love, faith, and hope. For, in fact, the Council of Trent before Vatican I taught that the baptism of desire ALSO gives a person supernatural justification, the state of grace, and therefore all three infused supernatural virtues: love, faith, and hope. Therefore, it is a dogma of the Catholic Faith, which must be believed under pain of heresy and automatic excommunication, that non-Christians certainly can have supernatural love, faith, and hope by that baptism of desire. And the Church, in order to make this teaching all the more clear, has taught for many centuries that this desire can be implicit. It need not be an explicit desire for formal Baptism into the Christian Church, but can be a desire held by non-Christians, especially non-Christian believers, in their love for God and neighbor. Here is an article with quotes and references to Church teaching on implicit baptism of desire.
Therefore, the claim by Athanasius Schneider that Muslims and Jews (and other persons) lack supernatural faith is a rejection of the teaching of the Council of Trent and other teachings of the Magisterium on the implicit baptism of desire. And after reading through Christus Vincit, the book by Athanasius Schneider, it is absolutely clear that he not only rejects these infallible teachings of the Church (infallible under Conciliar Infallibility and the ordinary and universal Magisterium), but that he adheres to a view on salvation which is nothing other than a mitigated form of Feeneyism. He thinks that only Christians can have supernatural faith, and this implies that only Christians can be saved, as one must die in the state of grace, with the virtues of love, faith, and hope, in order to have eternal life.
Since Athanasius Schneider is a manifest heretic and schismatic, it is laughable for him to “hold court” in the Catholic media and pass judgment against Pope Francis, the true successor of Peter, the Father and Teacher of all Christians, who has the charism of truth and of never-failing faith, the supreme teacher and supreme judge of the universal Church, in whom the charism of the infallibility of the Church is itself individually present.
Athanasius Schneider sins gravely, also, by violating that great law of the Church, “The First See is judged by no one.”
Those who follow the teaching of Athanasius Schneider follow a heretic and schismatic. Those who assist him in disseminating his errors are guilty of formal cooperation with heresy and schism. Those who imitate his example of judging and condemning the Roman Pontiff will be judged by God.
Ronald L. Conte Jr.