by Antonio Ghislieri
Despite not being an ordinary, the Auxiliary of Asana, Kazakstan, Bishop Athanasius Schneider, OSC has enjoyed no small influence within the Universal Church owing to his vast travel, his remarkable facility with many languages and a reputation for defending the Apostolic Tradition in both its content and praxis.
This article replies to the recent video by the Bishop, published here.
And yet, perhaps more for these reasons than any others, his recently video-posted reflections through the auspices of LifeSite News represent not simply a profound disappointment to those whose have been following very carefully the all-important details surrounding the papacy since Benedict XVI’s historical “Declaratio” of 2013, but a rupture in His Excellency’s reputation as a voice to be counted upon in the grave matter of sound theological leadership. In short, he has denounced the position that Pope Benedict has never left office, calling this a gateway to ‘Sedevacantism.”
In an oral presentation — calmly, but deceptively delivered — one comes to understand that Bishop Schneider’s position is not based at all upon facts, but upon a political discomfort, namely, that for Benedict as true pope not to have taken any act of governance for nine years would undermine the Church’s visibility, a necessary aspect of the indefectability of the Mystical Body. Moreover, he utterly refuses to consider the forensic evidence for the claim, condemning it as “legal positivism” and resorts to a terribly convoluted review of other instances of contested papal elections for a “sure guide” in how to deal with the contemporary papal crisis.
Problems with Schneider’s Historical “Approach”
Perhaps Bishop Schneider seeks to style himself a latter-day St. Bernard of Clairvaux; if so, he has failed quite blatantly. St Bernard successfully prevented an open schism in the Church; the same will not be said for Schneider’s intervention. Inasmuch as the Cistercian Doctor’s reputation for holy wisdom was so widespread whilst he lived, not only was he called upon to examine the validity of claimants of the papal throne in 1130, Bernard’s conclusion, based upon EXAMINATION OF THE CANONICAL EVIDENCE was respected. In wake of Bernard’s offering it, Antipope Anacletus renounced his claim. Curious, to say the least, that Bishop Schneider failed to include this applicable, historical precedent in his little review of ecclesiastical history.
Posterity’s “Looking Back” upon the purported simony of Gregory VI, by which he is said to have procured the papal throne for himself does not bestow upon posterity the authority to re-adjudicate the facts of that time. Do the annals of that era indicate there to have been a challenge on anyone’s part of the validity of Gregory’s election? Though the bishop does not tell us, one way or another, this historical moment might well — if simony was, in fact involved — constitute something of an embarrassment to students of Catholic history; it by no means serves to conclude that that moment in history serves as “precedent” for the present one: we are witnessing an open challenge to the election of Bergoglio based upon canonical facts. Schneider’s taking it upon himself to rely upon this 1045 “example” frighteningly recalls Justice SD O’Connor’s legal opinion that an abortion “option” ought not be withdrawn for the fact that people have come to rely upon its availability. “Let’s not look at the liceity of that action, but consider that others were able to live with it,” the Bishop seems to suggest.
The inference that the French Cardinals responsible for instigating the Western Schism at the close of the 14th century had any legitimacy to call for a “mulligan” owing to their votes’ having been forced by fear has ever been risible — and that is why their attempts to resurrect an Avignon Papacy were always counted as political scheming against the good of the Church. According to Schneider’s rendition, one is given to believe this was an instance where applicable law (governing conclave) was set aside by the Roman Church. Such rubbish ! — Urban VI’s legitimate election was never in question until the French cardinals discovered that he meant business about reform and went about it with a zeal which made life a tad too penitential for their collective scarlet bottoms.
Moreover, the Bishop’s belittling of contemporary, legal evidence concerning our present-day crisis is a disgraceful ruse, undermining, above all, our Lord’s own words: “What you bind on earth shall be bound in heaven.” In the end, Schneider’s assertions amount to little if anything more than a politically-fitted “Don’t rock the boat,” when the “rocking” has, in fact, been orchestrated by those who have set aside the authority of John Paul II, which yet governs the licit running of papal succession.
Gate to “Sedevacantism”
As to the bishop’s assertion that challengers to the Bergoglio’s regime pave a way to “sedevacantism,” this is no more than “chum thrown to sharks.” For, Benedict XVI, beyond the wildest expectations, continues to live and breathe (itself an indication of where God might be lending His support). To adjudicate a situation based upon circumstances that have not yet obtained is itself bad logic.
What is more bad logic is to disregard a priori what the law itself would require, in whatever event would trigger yet another illegitimate conclave. The fact remains that the major events of 2013, namely, the canonically null “abdication” and the conclave which ensued, must be revisited for the sake of healing both the papacy and the Church. To rely upon a papal secretary — as Bishop Schneider does — as sufficient witness to conclude that Bergoglio is pope is the gestalt of the fabled ostrich: it refuses to see facts in plain sight because the resulting obligations in justice are both enormous and frightening.
Without question, there must obtain at some future date the not only enormously painstaking task of sanatio for the acts of purported government by a putative papacy, but also the condemnation of its many criminal actions. Until that time, the gift of valid episcopal ordination provides sufficient continuation of the Sacraments, supported as that charism is by the principal of “ecclesia supplet.” (Oddly, not mentioned in Schneider’s list of “endangered” acts: phoney canonizations.)
The Good of the Church/ of Souls
What the Asana Auxiliary never takes into consideration — manifesting his trust to be more in men than in God — is heaven’s manifold demonstration that the Holy Spirit of God in no way illuminates, protects, nor makes fecund the work of him whom Schneider claims to be successor of Peter. Who can argue that the machinations of the Jesuit idolator are anything other than bereft of divine support? Only 5th Columnist Freemasons.
How heaven will intervene to address the situation created by Benedict’s Declaratio, the ramifications of which will perdure beyond his death, is not yet manifest. What we do know is that Christ has conquered, Christ reigns and that He commands from heaven as well as from the Tabernacle, where He appears to nap once more. Yet once more, He will arise to calm to storm. Faith in Him, not in the facile words of poorly-spoken pastors will avail His own who know His Voice and distinguish It from that of hirelings.
Divine Infant Jesus, have mercy on us.
Mary Guadalupe, Patroness of the Unborn, convert our country’s hearts and end the abortion holocaust.
St Joseph, Protector of the Holy Family, pray for us.