Reply to Bishop Schneider on Traditionis Custodes

Bishop Athanasius Schneider is a schismatic and heretic

as proven by his most recent interview, on Traditionis Custodes.

Here is the interview at Rorate Caeli, which translates from the Latin as “the turning of the heavens” or, more literally, “the rotating of the sky”.

Schneider: “My initial impression was of a shepherd who instead of having the smell of his sheep, is angrily beating them with a stick.”

This malicious attack on the person of the Roman Pontiff is schismatic. It is also the grave sin of hatred, in opposition to the commandment of Christ to love one another. In addition, Schneider shows no confidence that the decisions of the Roman Pontiff are of Christ, since it is dogma that Christ and His Vicar constitute one only Head of the one Church. I will never follow the teachings of a Bishop who publicly expresses contempt and denigration for the holy Father. Such expressions are per se an act of schism.

Schneider goes on to accuse Pope Francis of hypocrisy, simply because the Supreme Pontiff decided to act against the heresies and impending schism found in TLM leaders like Schneider himself and in many but not all of the TLM adherents. But certainly anyone who believes what Bishop Athanasius Schneider teaches is a heretic and schismatic like himself. You cannot follow the teachings of Arius or Nestorius and be free from error yourself. Whoever attacks the Roman Pontiff, flee from them like Saint John the Evangelist fleeing the heretic Cerinthus.

“What a glaring contrast in attitude this Motu Proprio presents, compared to the guiding principle of Pope Francis’ pontificate, i.e., inclusiveness and a preferential love for minorities and those on the peripheries in the life of the Church.”

Note that Schneider rejects the teachings of Pope Francis throughout his Pontificate, so in chiding the Pope for not following those guiding principles, he is being facetious. He does not think the Moto Proprio should be like the rest of the Pope’s teachings, which Schneider rejects. It is simply an expression of derision directed at the holy Father.

Schneider claims that so many Catholics “have grown up in the traditional liturgy and experienced, with great spiritual benefit, the reality and mystery of the Church thanks to this liturgical form, which earlier generations held as sacred and which formed so many saints and outstanding Catholics throughout history.”

It is not true that the Saints derived their holiness from the points of exterior form of the TLM. They derived their holiness from grace from the Cross of Christ, from Sacred Tradition and Sacred Scripture, and from the Church. And so many Saints looked to Rome and to the Roman Pontiff for guidance in times of heresy and strife that it is contrary to their clear teachings and example to treat Pope Francis with the utter contempt and derision that Bishop Athanasius Schneider does. Then the spiritual benefits of the Mass also do not come from the fact that it is in Latin, nor the other points of form in the TLM. Every Mass has grace from God through Scripture and the Eucharist, through prayer, worship, and adoration. No spiritual benefits are found in the TLM that are not also found in the Novus Ordo Mass. Then it is idolatry to attribute sacredness to mere liturgical form, as Schneider does. Any form of the Mass is sacred because it contains the Word of God in Sacred Scripture and the Word of God in the Eucharist, because it is a sacrifice before God, because it is worship of God. We must not attribute sacredness to points of liturgical form.

“The Motu Proprio and accompanying letter commit an injustice against all Catholics who adhere to the traditional liturgical form, by accusing them of being divisive and of rejecting the Second Vatican Council. In fact, a considerable portion of these Catholics keep far away from doctrinal discussions regarding Vatican II, the new Order of Mass (Novus Ordo Missae), and other problems involving ecclesiastical politics. “

It is not faithful to ignore the Second Vatican Council. Those who reject Vatican II by disputing it, as Schneider does, are just as guilty as theological who reject Vatican II by ignoring it. The teachings of the Second Vatican Council on faith and morals are infallible. Those who reject it, as Pope Francis has said, go the same way as the Old Catholics who rejected Vatican I. And it must be pointed out that the papal accusers have widely rejected Vatican I’s teachings as well as those of Vatican II. Rejection of either Council is schism and heresy. Pope Saint Paul VI himself held that Vatican II contains infallible teachings on matters of faith that require the full assent of faith [letter to Lefebvre].

“They just want to worship God in the liturgical form through which God has touched and transformed their hearts and lives.”

They also want to ignore the Ecumenical Councils and the Roman Pontiffs and believe an entirely different set of dogmas and doctrines. They also exalt the TLM to the point of idolatry. Yes, there are many faithful Catholics who simply prefer the TLM. There is nothing wrong with the TLM. What Pope Francis is rejecting is not that form of the Mass, but the heresies and schism of its leaders. Schneider is just proving Pope Francis right by his malice toward the Pope and toward the Second Vatican Council.

“Furthermore, the disparaging tone taken in these documents against the traditional liturgical form would lead any impartial observer to conclude that such arguments are merely a pretext and a ruse, and that something else is at play here.”

“Disparaging tone?” Are you #$%$@## kidding me? Bishop Athanasius Schneider has poured out extreme verbal abuse at the Roman Pontiff for many years now, and has encouraged the faithful to hate the Vicar of Christ, and to despise the recent Ecumenical Councils. What a severe hypocrisy to complain about “tone”. He should correct his own tone first. Board. Splinter.

Schneider: “The time of Second Vatican Council and the so-called “conciliar” Church has been characterized by…”

Bishop Athanasius Schneider does not accept the teachings of Vatican II. So it is hypocrisy for him to cite that Council as a way to support the TLM. The intellectual dishonesty of this schismatic Bishop is severe.

“Pope Francis’ new Motu Proprio is also deeply concerning in that it manifests an attitude of discrimination against an almost one thousand-year-old liturgical form of the Catholic Church.”

Wrong. The Pope is not rejecting the TLM. He is correcting the leaders of the TLM communities, like Schneider who have accused the Roman Pontiff of heresy and have rejected Vatican II and the Popes since that time. The TLM is a jewel in the crown of the Catholic Faith, and it is being taken away from those who have misused it — by idolatry, by using it to gather a following who are then led into heresy and schism.

” that which, over the span of many centuries, has expressed sacredness, doctrinal precision and spiritual richness”

The exterior form of the TLM cannot be sacred, does not express doctrinal precision (so says an heretical and schismatic Bishop), and then the spiritual richness is not found in exterior form, but in the core elements of the Mass that are also found in the Novus Ordo Mass.

” these peoples found in that rite their spiritual and liturgical home. “

No. They found their spiritual home in the Church. Exterior points of liturgical form are not home. Stop idolizing what is exterior. Stop this Pharisaism.

“It would go against the true spirit of the Church of all ages to now express contempt for this liturgical form, to label it as “divisive” and as something dangerous for the unity of the Church,”

The Pope is responding to the divisiveness of Schneider and other schismatic leaders, not to the TLM itself. They are the ones who are divisive and who are dangerous to the unity of the Church.

“Catholics who today have been spiritually nourished and formed by the traditional liturgy of Holy Mother Church”

No one is formed in the faith by exterior points of liturgical form. We are spiritually nourished and formed by the teachings of the Church, which Schneider and many other conservative and traditionalist leaders have rejected. To attribute the spiritual goods which flow from the Church and from the sacrifice of the Mass, the Eucharist, and the teachings of Sacred Scripture at Mass, to attribute all of this to one exterior form of the Mass is idolatry and heresy. These spiritual goods come from the Church.

Schneider quotes Cardinal Ratzinger on the Mass. But this is cafeteria Catholicism. He does not accept the teachings of Popes and Councils. He and other traditionalist and conservative leaders have their own views, which have replaced the true teachings of the Faith.

In my view, the suppression of the TLM will not last long. If you like the TLM, it will be available to you after not too long. But if you refuse to accept the Novus Ordo Mass, that is schismatic and heretical. The dogma is that the Apostolic See is unblemished by any grave error, and so the decision of the Church to use the Novus Ordo Mass as the ordinary and most common form of the Mass cannot be said to be a grave error. Attend the TLM if you like, but be careful that your love of the TLM does not become an idolatry that leads you away from the true Faith.

“In time, a worldwide chain of catacomb-Masses will surely arise, as happens in times of emergency and persecution. We may in fact witness an era of clandestine traditional Masses”

This comment by Schneider is schismatic. The faithful absolutely must not attend illicit celebrations of the TLM. Pope Francis has the full authority of Christ. Those who reject that authority, reject Christ.

“The admirable, harmonious and quite spontaneous spread and continuous growth of the traditional form of the Mass, in almost every country of the world, even in the most remote lands, is undoubtedly the work of the Holy Spirit, and a true sign of our time. “

Arianism also spread quickly throughout the known world at that time. Success is not necessarily of the Spirit. But even if the growth of the TLM is of the Spirit, the heresies and schism that accompany it, that have grown up around it, like weeds around a beautiful memorial, are not of the Spirit.

“You might even be found opposing God!”

Those who oppose any Pope or Council oppose Christ, who is God.

“These families, young people and priests could address to Pope Francis these or similar words: “Most Holy Father, give us back that great liturgical treasure of the Church. Do not treat us as your second-class children. Do not violate our consciences by forcing us into a single and exclusive liturgical form, you who always proclaimed to the entire world the necessity of diversity, pastoral accompaniment, and of respect for conscience. Do not listen to those representatives of a rigid clericalism who counseled you to carry out such an unmerciful action. Be a true family father, who “brings out of his treasure what is new and what is old” (Mt 13:52). If you will hear our voice, on the day of your judgment before God, we will be your best intercessors.””

And Pope Francis could reply to them in these or similar words: “This great liturgical treasure was taken from you because you idolized it and because you used it to draw the weak in faith away from the teachings of the Church and away from Her authority. You are treated like beloved first-class children who have done what was very wrong and sadly needed to be corrected. God disciplines those He loves, and so does His Vicar. Hypocrites! You reject the teaching of the Church that they can be saved who sin objectively, but are in good conscience, but now you appeal to your conscience to justify your objective sins! Have you not read what Christ taught, “if you love me, keep my commandments”? Show your love for Christ by attending the Novus Ordo Mass chosen for the Church by the Holy Spirit. Obedience to Christ is not a violation of conscience, not if you love the Lord. And what would you have the Church do with the Novus Ordo Mass? The supporters of the TLM speak with great malice toward that form. They clearly want to impose a single form of the Mass on the Church. So this again is hypocrisy. So, too, is the appeal to diversity and accompaniment, which the critics of Pope Francis on the right have always rejected.

The correction of Traditionis Custodes is not rigid clericalism. And the counselor of the Pope is the Holy Spirit. Do not blaspheme God by speaking as if the decisions of the holy Father are merely of men, and not of God. Correction of those who have committed heresy and schism is a type of mercy. As for the claim that “we will be your best intercessors”, the traditionalist and conservative Catholics have treated the Roman Pontiff with merciless hatred and denigration, with cruelty and derision, just as Bishop Athanasius Schneider has himself done. And the best intercessors before God are not heretics, schismatics, and those who treat the Vicar of Christ with open malice and derision. Follow your own advice, Athanasius, and stop treating the Pope violations of the law of charity, with expressions of heresy and schism, and in a merciless manner. Repent of your grave sins and return to unity with the Church. Stop leading souls away from the true Faith, by means of the traditional Latin Mass.

Ronald L. Conte Jr.

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2 Responses to Reply to Bishop Schneider on Traditionis Custodes

  1. Robert L Fastiggi says:

    Dear Ron,

    As you note, Bishop Schneider makes this claim:” Pope Francis’ new Motu Proprio is also deeply concerning in that it manifests an attitude of discrimination against an almost one thousand-year-old liturgical form of the Catholic Church.” The “almost one-thousand-year-old liturgical form of the Catholic Church,” though, is contained in the Roman Canon, which is now Eucharistic Prayer I in St. Paul VI’s Roman Missal. How can there be discrimination against the Roman Canon when it is preserved in the newer Roman Missal?

    • Ron Conte says:

      Exactly. Pope Francis is right to say “Whoever wishes to celebrate with devotion according to earlier forms of the liturgy can find in the reformed Roman Missal according to Vatican Council II all the elements of the Roman Rite, in particular the Roman Canon which constitutes one of its more distinctive elements.” [Letter on Traditionis Custodes]

      And by disdaining the Novus Ordo Mass, essentially just for being different from the TLM, they are inadvertently disdaining the one Mass said by Christ himself at the Last Supper. How can the critics of Traditionis Custodes appeal to tradition while having such a poor sense of the history of the Church? I recall during the reign of John Paul II, there was a controversy in a sui juris Church in full communion with Rome. Their words of consecration are nothing like ours, nothing remotely like “this is my body; this is the chalice (cup) of my blood”. And JP2 approved that ancient formula from their Church.

      In terms of exterior form, “Christ did not establish the Mass in immutable specifics”[1]. Rather, He gave authority to His Church to govern the form, as Dr. Fastiggi has pointed out in a previous comment, quoting Pius XII:
      “It follows from this that the Sovereign Pontiff alone enjoys the right to recognize and establish any practice touching the worship of God, to introduce and approve new rites, as also to modify those he judges to require modification.” [2]

      The Mass has essential elements found in every Mass from the Last Supper to the Eastern Catholic Churches’ divine liturgy, to the Novus Ordo and TLM. And then there are non-essential points of exterior form, to which some Catholic have gone from rightly appreciating the beauty of these elements to being willing to commit schism rather than accept change in those non-essentials. They risk the sin of idolatry who put exterior elements of the Mass above love for the Roman Pontiff and unity in the Church.

      1. Joep van Beeck
      2. Pius XII, Mediator Dei 58.

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