Bishop Schneider explains the Kazakhstani profession of truths on marriage

Astana, Kazakhstan, Jan 11, 2018 / 04:28 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- Fidelity to the words of Christ makes it necessary to profess the truth about sacramental marriage, Bishop Athanasius Schneider told CNA in a recent interview.

Bishop Schneider, an auxiliary bishop of Maria Santissima in Astana, was a drafter of the “Profession of the immutable truths about sacramental marriage” issued by three Kazakhstani bishops Dec. 31, 2017.

The bishops stated it is not licit to admit to sacramental communion Catholics who are divorced-and-remarried, if they are not living according to the long-standing teachings of the Church.

The three bishops – Bishop Schneider, along with Archbishop Tomash Peta of Maria Santissima in Astana and Archbishop Jan Pawel Lenga, Bishop Emeritus of Karaganda – wrote that “an approval or legitimation of the violation of the sacredness of the marriage bond, even indirectly through the mentioned new sacramental discipline, seriously contradicts God’s express will and His commandment.”

Since the open letter was issued, several more bishops have reportedly added their names as signatories.

Archbishop Luigi Negri, Archbishop Emeritus of Ferrara-Comacchio, spoke to La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana about his decision to sign the text, and Cardinal Janis Pujats, Archbishop Emeritus of Riga, has also been confirmed as a signatory.

Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Apostolic Nuncio Emeritus to the US, and Bishop Andreas Laun, Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of Salzburg, have also reportedly to signed onto the Kazakhstani bishops’ profession. Bishop Laun was among the first to sign a declaration of fidelity to the Church’s unchangeable teaching and uninterrupted discipline on marriage.

Cardinal Pietro Parolin, Vatican Secretary of State, told Vatican News Jan. 10 that Amoris laetitia is the result of “a new paradigm” which he claimed Pope Francis promotes “with wisdom, prudence, and patience.” The cardinal added that difficulties around the apostolic exhortation “are due to this change of attitude the Pope is asking of us,” as well as “some aspects of content.”

Bishop Schneider recently corresponded with CNA about the profession, discussing the occasion of the letter, the importance of prayer, and the common understanding of Church teaching and its implications among the bishops of Kazakhstan.



Below is the conversation between CNA and Bishop Schneider:

CNA: Your excellency, would you speak to the need for the profession made by you, Archbishop Peta, and Archbishop Lenga? What occasioned its drafting?

Bishop Schneider: Already for a number of years there has existed in the Church the obvious and undeniable situation of a widespread confusion regarding the sacramental discipline of those Catholics who are called “divorced and remarried”. The relevant pastoral norms of several dioceses and regional and national bishops’ conferences ultimately give permission to these Catholics to receive Holy Communion in spite of the fact that they have not the intention to stop sexual relationships with a person who is not their legitimate spouse. Such norms in practice contradict divine revelation and the infallible universal and ordinary magisterium of the absolute indissolubility of a ratified and consummated marriage. Recently there was published even in the Acta Apostolicae Sedis, the official publishing organ of the Holy See, the approval which Pope Francis gave to the pastoral norms of the bishops of the Buenos Aires region, which foresee ultimately, even though in individual cases and after a so-called discernment process, such a new sacramental praxis. However, this praxis contradicts divine revelation, which prohibits always and in every circumstances sexual acts outside a valid marriage. Everyone who still believes in the divine words of Christ and takes them seriously, must acknowledge how detrimental such norms are for the faith and for the unmistakable witness of the Church against the “plague of divorce” and against the “hardheartedness” of men towards the command of God, who demands unequivocally “Thou shall not commit adultery.” To continue to be silent in such a situation or to pretend that the danger does not exist, would mean to deny reality or to eliminate one’s own thinking.

CNA: How does your recent profession relate to the appeal to prayer you issued nearly a year ago, Jan. 18, 2017? Is it right to read these two documents in light of one another?

Bishop Schneider: The appeal to prayer which was made a year ago had the aim to implore for the Holy Father Pope Francis the necessary gifts of God so that he may confirm in a most unambiguous way the immutable doctrine about the indissolubility of the marriage and the relevant sacramental praxis. Since the Pope has not yet done so, and has even approved the above mentioned pastoral norms of the bishops of the Buenos Aires region, it was necessary to make a public profession of the immutable doctrine and praxis of the Church. But one thing is certain: no sincere prayers will be in vain. When a large number of faithful, and especially children and sick people, pray fervently, the moment will come when the Apostolic See will confirm again with clarity – as has been handed down by the infallible ordinary and universal magisterium – the immutable doctrine and sacramental praxis regarding people living in non-marital sexual relationships, i.e. people living in adultery. We have to believe in these words of Our Lord: “Will not God give justice to his elect, who cry to him day and night? Will he delay long over them?” (Lk 18:7).

CNA: There are three more bishops in Kazakhstan, as well as an apostolic administrator, who have signed on to neither the profession nor the appeal to prayer. Were they invited to do so? Have they indicated a different understanding of Amoris laetitia?

Bishop Schneider: The bishops and ordinaries of Kazakhstan have substantially no different understanding of Amoris laetitia. As to the manner of expressing publicly one’s own convictions we respect mutually the freedom of each one according to the decision of his own conscience.


  1. We must now acknowledge an unfortunate divide within the Church that is irreconcilable, without essential revision of what Cardinal Parolin acknowledges as Papal “policy” on communion for D&R, or like revision of the position outlined by the Kazakh Bishops which represents a growing segment of the Church. However we might argue the validity of the Papal position the Vatican Secretary of State’s admission of policy makes the Pontiff’s position known and answers the Dubia–even if as I contend the Pontiff’s policy is not validly proposed as sententia definitive intenda, definitively stated. Thus as Canon Lawyer E Peters has indicated what the “policy” is precisely is not clear and doesn’t suffice to eliminate canon 915. Theologically and legally the burden of proof remains with the Pope’s position because no effective argument has been made by him that what Christ taught as indissoluble can be refused. For example for the Pope to say that “concrete circumstances” can make an intrinsically evil act good is categorically false because the object of the act remain the same, adultery. Similarly this pertains to homosexuality now set for approval as a good by the German Bishops Conference when on January 10, 2018 “Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, the Vice President of the German Bishops’ Conference, called for a discussion about the possibility of blessing homosexual relationships. He believes there to be ‘much that is positive’ in such relationships” (LifeSiteNews). Conference President Cardinal Reinhard Marx agrees in principle. The Pope has no apparent objection. The position of the Pope can now said to be in error. He proposes a gospel other than what Christ revealed.

    • Vatican II proposes a different gospel: Ecumenism. JPII found a pastoral solution so that heretics and schismatics receive communion. Why do you have a problem that public adulterers receive? Its a new Gospel now ,my friend. The world is the church. Humanity is God.

      • A different gospel from this? “This Sacred Council wishes to turn its attention firstly to the Catholic faithful. Basing itself upon Sacred Scripture and Tradition, it teaches that the Church, now sojourning on earth as an exile, is necessary for salvation. Christ, present to us in His Body, which is the Church, is the one Mediator and the unique way of salvation. In explicit terms He Himself affirmed the necessity of faith and baptism and thereby affirmed also the necessity of the Church, for through baptism as through a door men enter the Church. Whosoever, therefore, knowing that the Catholic Church was made necessary by Christ, would refuse to enter or to remain in it, could not be saved.”

        And this? “In His goodness and wisdom God chose to reveal Himself and to make known to us the hidden purpose of His will (see Eph. 1:9) by which through Christ, the Word made flesh, man might in the Holy Spirit have access to the Father and come to share in the divine nature (see Eph. 2:18; 2 Peter 1:4). Through this revelation, therefore, the invisible God (see Col. 1;15, 1 Tim. 1:17) out of the abundance of His love speaks to men as friends (see Ex. 33:11; John 15:14-15) and lives among them (see Bar. 3:38), so that He may invite and take them into fellowship with Himself. This plan of revelation is realized by deeds and words having an inner unity: the deeds wrought by God in the history of salvation manifest and confirm the teaching and realities signified by the words, while the words proclaim the deeds and clarify the mystery contained in them. By this revelation then, the deepest truth about God and the salvation of man shines out for our sake in Christ, who is both the mediator and the fullness of all revelation.”

        Or this? “While helping the world and receiving many benefits from it, the Church has a single intention: that God’s kingdom may come, and that the salvation of the whole human race may come to pass. For every benefit which the People of God during its earthly pilgrimage can offer to the human family stems from the fact that the Church is “the universal sacrament of salvation”, simultaneously manifesting and exercising the mystery of God’s love. For God’s Word, by whom all things were made, was Himself made flesh so that as perfect man He might save all men and sum up all things in Himself. The Lord is the goal of human history, the focal point of the longings of history and of civilization, the center of the human race, the joy of every heart and the answer to all its yearnings. He it is Whom the Father raised from the dead, lifted on high and stationed at His right hand, making Him judge of the living and the dead. Enlivened and united in His Spirit, we journey toward the consummation of human history, one which fully accords with the counsel of God’s love: “To reestablish all things in Christ, both those in the heavens and those on the earth” (Eph. 11:10).”

        Just curious…

  2. Usually I prefer to not to respond to contradictory statements and Carl Olson did the service of accurate response to Vat II and the premise of a “new gospel” which isn’t contained in any of its documents. The “new gospel” I refer to is solely contained in Cardinal Parolin’s correct description of a “paradigm shift” in Pope Francis’ revision of Christ’s Gospel. “‘Difficulties” arising from the document and which ‘still exist in the Church, beyond certain aspects of its content, are due precisely to this change in attitude that the Pope is asking of us. ‘It’s a paradigm shift, and the text itself insists on this, that’s what is asked of us — this new spirit, this new approach!'” (Cardinal Parolin onf Vatican Radio Jan 11, 2018). A paradigm is a prototype meaning something entirely new. To emphasize his point Parolin calls this paradigm a “shift”. From where? From Christ’s Gospel. That is why I refer to a new gospel initiated by Pope Francis that is the first of its kind in Church history. The argument I allude to in my post is if we create a new gospel message we necessarily omit the original revelation of Christ to mankind. Such a paradigm shift is messianic presuming a new messiah Pope Francis. That is impossible if we pretend we are Christ’s disciples. Earlier I quoted then omitted The Apostle in Gal 1:8 thinking it was too strong. It now becomes apparent it is not, “But even if we or an angel from heaven should preach a gospel other than the one we preached to you, let them be under God’s curse!”.

    • In the Old Testament God gave Israel plenty of advanced notice about the coming of a new covenant, and a Messiah. I can see no similar positive mandate in the New Testament to legitimize a new paradigm. From what I recall the New Testament casts change agents in a negative light of disapproval.

  3. Say it ain’t so Jorge, a new p p paradigm for The Roman Catholic Church? ouch, this hurts. As a life long quite older Catholic pew dweller, I find it hard to even comprehend the possibility of this kind of end, and it will be the end unless we do a whole lot of prayer.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.

All comments posted at Catholic World Report are moderated. While vigorous debate is welcome and encouraged, please note that in the interest of maintaining a civilized and helpful level of discussion, comments containing obscene language or personal attacks—or those that are deemed by the editors to be needlessly combative or inflammatory—will not be published. Thank you.