(Front Royal, VA) His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider delivered a magnificent talk here at Christendom College today on the unchangeable truths of marriage and the family. He also offered the traditional Latin Mass in our chapel of Christ the King, and later answered questions from the student body.
Although I’d attended his Mass on Pentecost Sunday on this year’s Chartres Pilgrimage, I’d never actually met Bishop Schneider and all I can say is that here is a holy man and a great Catholic bishop.
As a student far from home, and with the recent events in the Church becoming truly frightening, it was such a wonderful consolation to sit and listen to and be inspired by the auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan and titular bishop of Celerina.
Not always knowing where to turn to for advice these days, His Excellency's visit was for me a wonderful grace and I’m so grateful to the faculty here at Christendom for inviting him to speak to us.
His talk, and the question and answer session afterwards, clarified what I need to concern myself with, made the situation in Rome clearer in my mind, and offered renewed urgency to the urgent call to prayer that many priests have been asking of the faithful. Someone asked His Excellency: “What must all laypeople do if the synod misinterprets or even changes Church doctrine?”
His answer: “We know Christ's true and unchangeable teachings. We know the truth, therefore we follow it, even if our priests, bishops, or pope should fall short. Pray. Pray very hard.”
The Bishop’s most comforting words came toward the end of his talk, when he said: “We, the little ones, will win in the end if we keep the faith.”
He reminded us that divorced people who remarry are sinning against the Sixth Commandment, and noted that a new group within the church is trying to undermine this. But even the pope himself cannot change the truth of Christ, he said, and we must follow the truth even if it seems we are so very alone.
He said we must stand witness, we must fight, as a group, encouraging your priests to stand strong, even if some bishops approve that which seems to deviate from the truth; always stay with truth and tradition. And always remember that the Holy Spirit will guide the Church. The Church is not the Pope’s. It is not ours. The Church is the Church of Jesus Christ and it must always remain faithful to His teachings.
“Even some cardinals seem now to promote sin in the church, and I often ask: ‘Don't they fear the judgement of God?’ It is a mystery, a great mystery.”
The Bishop compared the confusion of today with that of the Arian Heresy, and pointed out that the smoke of Satan has entered the Church and that we are living in a time of struggle, of battle, but Christus vincit, Christus regnat, Christus imperat!
I have never been more inspired by any churchman than I was by this amazing man. There is much more that he said, but for the purposes of this simple blog post, I’ll leave it at that and ask everyone to do exactly what Bishop Schneider asked of us—pray for the Church and keep the faith.