Bishop Athanasius Schneider, originally from Germany but now a Bishop of Astana in Kazakhstan, has made himself known to Traditionalists in recent years for his many statements at least apparently sympathetic to Catholic Tradition. For instance last year he associated himself publicly with the four Cardinals’ questioning of Pope Francis’ doctrine in the papal document, Amoris Laetitia. When he himself does so much to criticize the Church swinging “left,” he may not understand or appreciate coming under attack from the “right,” but it is the Truth which is at stake, not our little personalities. Your Excellency, thank you for much truth that you have had the courage openly to defend, but do understand that the full Truth is much stronger, and more demanding, than you think. You gave recently an interview to Adelante la Fe. Please do not take it personally if I quote (in italics) a few of your answers and criticize them:—
I am convinced that in the present circumstances, Msgr. Lefebvre would accept Rome’s canonical proposal of a Personal Prelature without hesitation. Your Excellency, that is impossible. Archbishop Lefebvre believed, and proved by argument from Church theology and history, that Vatican II was an unprecedented betrayal, by the highest authorities in the Church, of 1900 years of unchangeable Church doctrine. But official Rome is still following that objectively treacherous Council. Therefore to put the SSPX under this Rome will be to put the fox in charge of the hen-coop. The Archbishop always hoped Rome would come right. It has still not done so.
Msgr. Lefebvre was a man with a deep”sensus ecclesiae,” or sense of the Church. That is true, because above all he had a deep and clear grasp of Catholic doctrine, or teaching, which is at the heart of the Church. “Going, TEACH all nations,” was Jesus’ last instruction to his Apostles (Mt.XXVIII, 20). Vatican II betrayed Catholic doctrine, so the Archbishop’s very sense of the Church made him repudiate that Council. Today’s Conciliarists in Rome can never rebuild the Church.
He consecrated four bishops in 1988 because he was convinced that there was a real state of necessity. It was the objective crisis that gave rise to the subjective conviction, and not the other way round. Our modern world is mentally sick with subjectivism. The Archbishop was an objectivist.
If the SSPX remains canonically independent for too long, its members and followers will lose their sense of the need to be subject to the Pope, and they will end up ceasing to be Catholic. The Pope is Pope in order to “confirm his brethren” in the Faith. See Luke XXII, 32. If he is a Conciliar Pope with his faith corrupted by Vatican II, he can no longer give what he has not got. It is by being subject to Conciliar Popes that countless Catholics since the Council have lost the true Faith.
No Catholic can pick and choose which Popes he will or will not be subject to. God guides His Church. The present crisis in the Church is unprecedented because never before in Church history has there been a series of Popes out of line with the true Faith as we have seen since Vatican II. This means that Catholics must – exceptionally – judge their Popes, bishops and priests. By this crisis God is purifying His Church, and when the purification is complete, He will grant to His Church a great and truly Catholic Pope.
I have told Bishop Fellay, we in Rome need the SSPX in today’s great battle for the purity of the Faith. Your Excellency, do believe that Conciliar Rome will do its best to complete the SSPX’s corruption of the Faith. Already the official SSPX has slidden far from the Archbishop’s objective Faith.