The Latin Mass Society of New Zealand

The interpretation of Vatican II and its connection with the current crisis of the Church


Wednesday, September 28, 2016

‘Declaration of fidelity to the Church’s unchangable teaching on marriage’

Cardinal Burke with the LMS last year. Photos: Daniel Blackman

You can join Cardinals Burke and Caffara, Bishop Athanasius Schneider and many others in signing a detailed declaration on the teaching of the Church on marriage, divorce, and related matters here. Although it makes for a long read, I do encourage people to sign it.

It is being promoted by the people who did the ‘filial appeal’ before the last Synod on the Family.

It is a magnificent piece of work. Each of 27 paragraphs about a particular issue is supported by several quotations from magisterial documents: Pope St John Paul II, Pius XI and XII, instructions from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, and so on. They provide irrefutable proof of the solidity of the traditional understanding of the teaching and practice of the Church, and the necessity of the practice in light of the teaching, with crystal clear condemnations of many of the proposals floating about today. It thus makes for a very informative teaching document in itself.

Not being a specialist in this material I didn’t know all of these documents before now. Particularly interesting to me were the quotations not only from Pope St John Paul II’s Veritatis splendor, but his 1984 Reconciliatio et paenitentia, and the extremely helpful Declaration from the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts, Communion of faithful who are divorced and remarried. This last is not exactly ancient history: it dates from the year 2000! You’ll find it on the Vatican website here.

See what that one says about Catholics whose lives give public scandal even after they have repented and had sacramental absolution: couples in illicit unions who have undertaken to live as ‘brother and sister’, since they cannot separate:

Those faithful who are divorced and remarried would not be considered to be within the situation of serious habitual sin who would not be able, for serious motives—such as, for example, the upbringing of the children—‘to satisfy the obligation of separation, assuming the task of living in full continence, that is, abstaining from the acts proper to spouses’ (Familiaris consortio, n. 84), and who on the basis of that intention have received the sacrament of Penance. Given that the fact that these faithful are not living more uxorio [as man and wife] is per se occult [i.e., since they are sharing a house so people will assume they are still living as man and wife], while their condition as persons who are divorced and remarried is per se manifest [i.e. it is a public fact that they are not married to each other], they will be able to receive Eucharistic Communion only remoto scandalo [in such a way as won’t cause scandal, e.g. privately]…. In those situations, however, in which these precautionary measures have not had their effect or in which they were not possible, the minister of Communion must refuse to distribute it to those who are publicly unworthy. They are to do this with extreme charity, and are to look for the opportune moment to explain the reasons that required the refusal. They must, however, do this with firmness, conscious of the value that such signs of strength have for the good of the Church and of souls…. Bearing in mind the nature of the above-cited norm (cfr. n. 1), no ecclesiastical authority may dispense the minister of Holy Communion from this obligation in any case, nor may he emanate directives that contradict it.

Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts (2000): Communion of faithful who are divorced and remarried, nn. 1-4.
I know from my work on the Position Papers that the doctrinal and policy confusion on the liturgy since the Council has led to official documents in tension with each other and with what actually happens on the ground. What is being proposed as a ‘pastoral solution’ to the problem of the divorced and remarried would, if officially endorsed, take us into new territory of self-contradiction and incoherence. If the hierarchy can perform a reverse ferret on this topic, no one is going to have any reason to believe them ever again about anything.
Some, of course, would see that as an advantage. Other people would see it as impossible. But it is not impossible: the hierarchy, even the Holy Father, are not miraculously prevented from putting their names to misleading, imprudent, or indeed erroneous documents. What is impossible is that error should be required of Catholics as a matter of belief: or rather, while it is perfectly possible that religious superiors should demand assent to error, and this has happened many, many times in the history of the Church, it is impossible that such assent be a genuine moral obligation.
Among other forms of preparation we need to undertake for the next stages of the current crisis, we all need to bone up, in accordance with our abilities, on what the constant teaching of the Church is. This document will help us do that.
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Juventutem attended World Youth Day in Krakow with 500 young adults from 12 different countries who were accompanied by six bishops and 20 clergy.  Bishop Athanasius Schneider accompanied Juventutem and led the catechesis.

Photos are available for viewing or for order from the International Juventutem site:

Order prints|See photo book

August 02, 2016
His Lordship, Most Rev Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan
and internationally recognised champion of Marriage.
St Aloysius’ Church, 233 Balaclava Rd, Caulfield North, Melbourne, Australia at 10:30am on Sunday, 28th June.

After Mass, His Lordship will speak on “The original Divine meaning of Marriage.”  There will also be a bookstall that day, operated by Freedom books.

This Sunday, 28th June at 10.30 am
Further information:

Please do your best to be present, and to invite others to this occasion.

Facebook Page for Latin Mass (Archdiocese of Melbourne)



EDSNZ notes: we will post Bishop Schneider’s sermon on “The original Divine meaning of Marriage” as soon as it becomes available.

Photos of the Pontifical Mass are now available on the Newman Parish, Melbourne website:


Bishop Schneider: You want to know how to combat the Gnostic errors flying through the Church? Here’s how.

Bishop Athanasius Schneider: Battling the New Gnosticism

It is a sad truth that we are in a time of great crisis in the Church. God is with us, however. You have asked me what the faithful can do to combat the errors spreading through the Church. I would like to answer with some suggestions:

We must create groups of true Catholics, scholars, families, and clergy who will spread courageously the full Catholic truth, especially on the Church’s teachings on the family, on nature, and the commandments of God.

As a means to this aim, we must make use of all the resources that the modern world offers to us. We are not confined to waiting for the media to spread these messages. We do not have to wait for each individual pastor to preach them from the pulpit. We should embrace the new media forms that allow us to spread the Gospel and the teachings of our Holy Mother, the Church. We should take our message to the Internet, publish it on websites, blogs, and social media.

But we must not forget to engage with our fellow Catholics in more traditional ways. We should organize conferences and symposiums on a scholarly level. We should use these to create publications, papers, and books that can be used as a reference and broaden our discussion.

We should also create a movement of Catholic families, of “domestic churches”, to witness, defend and spread the integral faith and the teaching on family, marriage, and the order of nature.

We must, at this dangerous time, be courageous in illuminating the truly Gnostic and revolutionary character of the “Kasper agenda,” demonstrating the continuity of the Divine doctrine on marriage and its practice throughout the two thousand years of the history of our Church. We should inspire the faithful with examples of holy husbands, families, children, and teenagers. We should demonstrate, on the one side, the real beauty of a marital, family, or single life in chastity and fidelity. On the other side, we must point to the demonstrated ugliness, unhappiness, and schizophrenia of a life against the divinely-established order.

To give hope to those who are struggling, it is important for us to give examples of repentant Catholics from the past and present time. Those who converted from their sinful life in adultery, divorce, or sodomy.