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Bishop Schneider: The Traditional Mass, Even at the Cost of “Liturgical Exile”

The Daily Knight

On the occasion of the Catholic Identity Conference organized by The Remnant newspaper on October 1 and 2, 2022, in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, Bishop Athanasius Schneider made several statements. We present here the most significant words of the Auxiliary Bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan on the traditional Latin Mass and the persecution to which it is subjected in Rome and in the dioceses.

On the LifeSiteNews web site on October 4, appeared these words taken from the bishop’s conference in Pittsburgh: “The powers that be hate what is holy, and therefore they persecute the traditional Mass,” strong words supplemented by this wise appeal: “Yet our answer should not be anger and faint-heartedness, but a deep sureness in the truth and inner peace and joy and trust in Divine Providence.”

The prelate also affirmed the following: “Now declaring that the reformed rite of Pope Paul VI as the sole unique expression of the lex orandi of the Roman rite as Pope Francis is doing, this violates the 2,000-year tradition of all the Roman pontiffs who have never shown such a rigid intolerance.”

He added: “One cannot suddenly create a new rite as Paul VI has done and declare it to be the exclusive voice of the Holy Spirit in our time, and at the same time portray the previous rite – which was almost unchanged in the span of at least 1,000 years – as deficient and harmful to the spiritual life of the faithful.” Such argumentation “inevitably leads to the conclusion that the Holy Spirit is contradicting Himself.”

On the merits, Bishop Schneider agrees with the criticisms made, as early as 1969, by Cardinals Alfredo Ottaviani and Antonio Bacci in their Brief Examination: “The Novus Ordo of Paul VI without doubt weakens the doctrinal clarity about the sacrificial character of the Mass and weakens considerably the character of sacredness and of the mystery of the worship itself.” Whereas the traditional Mass contains and radiates “an eminent doctrinal integrity and a ritual sublimity.”

This explains the hostility of those who persecute the traditional Mass: “The splendor of truth, sacredness and supernaturality of the traditional rite of Mass worries those clerics in high Church positions in the Vatican and others who have embraced a new revolutionary theological stance, which is closer to the Protestant view of the Eucharist and of worship, and which is characterized by anthropocentrism and naturalism.”

“Paul VI’s new Mass was an act of ‘true revolution,’ said Schneider, noting that he was ‘the first pope in 2,000 years who dared to make a revolution of the order of Mass, a true revolution.’” Such a declaration, at the time also when Bishop Schneider has published his book The Catholic Mass (Sophia Press), makes one wish that he would choose to exclusively celebrate the traditional Latin Mass. For the moment, he also celebrates the Mass of Paul VI in certain circumstances. In the rest of his remarks, he strongly invites priests and faithful attached to the traditional Mass not to fear “liturgical exile.”

He then establishes this historical parallel: “The current persecution against a rite, which the Roman Church jealously and unchangingly guarded during at least one millennium –therefore long before the Council of Trent – resembles now an analogue situation of the persecution of the integrity of the Catholic faith during the Arian crisis in the fourth century.”

“Those who, at that time, kept unchangingly the Catholic Faith were banned by the vast majority of the bishops from the churches, and they were the first to celebrate a kind of clandestine Mass.”

And he added, addressing the persecutors: “We can say to those spiritually blinded and arrogant churchmen of our day – who disdain the treasure of the traditional rite of the Mass and who persecute Catholics who are attached to it – we can say ‘you will not succeed in overcoming and extinguishing the traditional rite of the Mass.”

“Most Holy Father Pope Francis you will not succeed in extinguishing the traditional rite of the Mass. Why? Because you are fighting against the work which the Holy Spirit so carefully and artfully has woven throughout centuries and ages.”

True Obedience in the Church

Responding to questions from Michaël Matt, director of The Remnant newspaper, on October 13, Bishop Schneider clarified the nature of true obedience in the Church, with elements of explanation that are reminiscent of those developed by Archbishop Marcel Lefebvre more than 40 years ago.

“We must continue even if in some cases we say that we cannot obey the Pope at this time because he has issued these commandments or orders which obviously undermine the faith, or which take away from us the treasure of the liturgy; it is the liturgy of the whole Church, not his, but that of our fathers and our saints, so we have a right to it.”

“In these cases, even if we formally disobey, we will obey the whole Church of all time, and even, by such formal, apparent disobedience, we will do honor to the Holy See by guarding the treasures of the liturgy, which is a treasury of the Holy See, but which is temporarily restricted or discriminated against by those who currently occupy the high offices in the Holy See.”

In an interview with LifeSiteNews director John-Henry Westen on October 28, Bishop Schneider returned to the topic of persecution, referring to the time of the catacombs:

“An example of this – for the faithful and priests – to be in some way persecuted and marginalized by those who occupy the high ranking positions in the Church, by bishops – is this situation we had in the fourth century, with Arianism.”

“In those times, valid bishops, licit bishops, the majority, they persecuted true Catholics who kept the tradition of faith in the divinity of Jesus Christ, the Son of God. This was the question of life and death, the truth, the tradition of faith. And so they were expelled from the churches, they were forced to go to the roots, to open-air Masses.”

“In some way, we can also face these situations. And it’s already happened, happening after Traditionis custodes, especially. There are places where people are cast out literally from the parish churches where they had [held], for several years, the traditional Latin Mass approved by Pope Benedict XVI and local bishops.”

“And now with this new situation of Traditionis custodes, some bishops are, I repeat, literally expelling the best faithful, the best priests from the churches, from the parish churches, but the parish church is called the mother church. And so these faithful are forced to seek new places of worship, gyms, schools or halls and so on.”

“And this is a situation which is similar to a kind of catacomb situation. Not literally catacombs, as they can still celebrate publicly, but in a situation which is similar to catacombs because they cannot use their official structures and buildings of the Church.”

And he recalls again what true obedience is in the Church: “We have to clarify the true concept and meaning of obedience. St. Thomas Aquinas says that the we owe absolute and unconditional obedience only to God alone, and not to any creature, not even to a pope. And so the obedience towards the pope and the bishops in the Church is a limited obedience.”

“So when the Pope or the bishops are commanding something which will evidently undermine the fullness of the Catholic faith and the fullness of the Catholic liturgy – this treasure of the Church, the traditional Latin Mass – and harm by undermining the purity of faith, by undermining the purity of the sacredness of the liturgy, we are harming the entire Church.”

“We are decreasing the good of the Church, the spiritual good of the Church. We are decreasing the good of our souls. And here, we cannot collaborate. How can we collaborate, diminishing the purity of the faith, how can we collaborate, diminishing the sacredness, the sublimity of the liturgy of the Holy Mass, which is the millennial old traditional Mass of all the saints?”

“And in these cases, we are even obliged – not only can we in some occasions – but we must say to the Holy Father, to the bishops, ‘with all due respect and love for you, we cannot execute these orders which you are giving because they are harming the good of our Holy Mother Church.’”

“So we have to seek other places and nevertheless be in some way formally disobedient, but in fact we will be obedient to our Holy Mother Church, which is greater than a singular pope. The Holy Mother Church is greater than a singular pope. And so, we are obedient to our Holy Mother Church.”

“We are obedient to the popes of all ages who promoted, defended, protected the purity of the Catholic faith, unconditionally, uncompromisingly, and who defended also the sacredness and the unchanging liturgy of the Holy Mass through the centuries.”

In Christ Crucified and the Most Victorious Heart of Jesus.

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