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VATICAN CITY (ChurchMilitant.com) - Bishop Athanasius Schneider has joined a growing chorus of Catholic voices troubled over the upcoming Amazon Synod in Rome.
In an essay for Austrian website kath.net on Wednesday, the auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan slammed proponents of a married Amazonian clergy as tricksters attempting to deny the peoples of the South American interior "the ability to sacrifice priests to the Church from their midst."
"For two thousand years, all peoples, and even barbarians, were able to use the grace of Christ to educate their own sons to a conjugal priesthood modeled after Jesus Christ," he wrote, suggesting it is disingenuous to imply that indigenous Amazonians are incapable of doing the same.
Bishop Schneider noted that "supporters of a married Amazonian clergy, who are almost all of European and non-indigenous descent," are not concerned with "the true spiritual welfare of the Amazonian believers," but with "the implementation of their own ideological agenda, which is a married clergy in Europe, and then to have it in the whole Latin Church."
The introduction of "an initially regionally limited married clergy in the Amazon" will, in short order, touch off a domino effect giving rise to "a regular married clergy of the Roman rite in other parts of the world," Schneider warned. "This destroys the apostolic inheritance of a priesthood living in a priestly manner, according to the explicit model of the life of Jesus Christ and His apostles throughout the Church."
Schneider faulted Church leaders for failing for decades to foster vocations in the Amazon region "according to the proven two thousand years of experience of the Church, namely, through prayerful, spiritual sacrifices, sacred life model of missionaries," branding this dereliction "a scandal."
"One of the most effective means of awakening solid priestly vocations in the Amazon ... are missionaries who lead a life as true men of prayer, true apostles, that is, a life of loving and sacrificial devotion to Christ and the salvation of immortal souls," he said.
"There is no doubt that in the nineteenth and twentieth centuries Amazonia had heroic and saintly missionaries: bishops, priests, nuns," Schneider reflected.
He noted that in recent decades, missionaries have turned away from the spirit of Christ to "the spirit of this world," pointing to the impact of neo-Marxist liberation theology on the Church in Latin America.
The bishop noted that such clergy and religious "no longer preach with full conviction" the Gospel of Jesus Christ, and fail "to convey His supernatural life of grace to the people of Amazonia."
Preaching a counterfeit Christ, Schneider warned that liberation theologians abuse the holy ministry of the priesthood by promulgating "a gospel of earthly life; a gospel of the belly and not a gospel of the cross; a gospel of the worship of nature, the forest, the water, the sun ... a gospel of the worship of this so brief earthly material life ... ."
He described this as a false evangelization, "a betrayal of the true Gospel," and warned that Synod architects aim to "legitimize the betrayal of true supernatural evangelization in the spirit of Jesus and the apostles through a synod of bishops on a global scale."
To rebuild, Schneider said, a holy priesthood must be cultivated in and for the Amazon:
They must be men of faith, full of the Holy Spirit, ready to live in celibacy, men who put prayer and the proclamation of Christ's teachings first, men who are ready to be true shepherds, and give their lives for the salvation of the immortal souls, the people entrusted to them. Men who are true fathers of all believers, not a limited personal family dynasty. Men who are true Bridegrooms of the Bride of Christ, the Church, and therefore are as such Fathers and Bridegrooms unmarried.
Schneider added that the seeds of a holy Amazonian priesthood will be sown by eucharistic devotion: "Roman Catholics ... must be gathered around the Tabernacles ... to pray deep prayers to God, the giver of all gifts, for good, unmarried and apostolic native priests."
"One should start a chain of eucharistic adoration in all of Amazonia," he continued. "Such a eucharistic chain of worship of ordinary believers, with their bishops and priests, will undoubtedly yield, in the time appointed by God ... priests after the Heart of Jesus."
Schneider stressed that Pope Francis has "a duty, given to him by God," to maintain the "apostolic heritage of priestly celibacy" at the Amazon Synod and to pass this heritage on "to his successor and to the next generation."
"He may not support in any way — through silence or ambiguous behavior — the obviously Gnostic and naturalistic content of some parts of the Instrumentum Laboris [working document], as well as the abolition of the apostolic duty of priestly celibacy (which at first would be regional, and gradually become universal)," he added.
Bishop Schneider joins other faithful Catholic leaders in sounding the alarm over the October 6–27 synod.
Earlier this week, Cdl. Gerhard Müller, former prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, denounced the synod's working document as "false teaching," saying it represents "a radical U-turn in the hermeneutics of Catholic theology."
Earlier, in a July 11 interview with La Nuova Bussola Quotidiana, Müller warned that the synod "is a pretext to change the Church," asserting that Rome was selected as the site for the October gathering in order to "emphasize the beginning of a new Church."
Respected theologian Msgr. Nicola Bux, consulter to the Congregation for the Causes of Saints, told Italian blogger Sabino Paciolla late last month that the synod is an attempt to "create another church" and to fashion a "new dogma."
"What we are facing," Bux warned, "is an attempt to genetically modify the Church."
In a scathing June 27 critique published by Italian journalist Sandro Magister, Cdl. Walter Brandmüller wrote: "It is to be stated now with insistence that the Instrumentum Laboris contradicts the binding teaching of the Church in decisive points and thus has to be qualified as heretical."
"Inasmuch as even the fact of Divine Revelation is here being questioned, or misunderstood, one also now has to speak, additionally, of apostasy," Brandmüller added.
In a June 22 interview with LifeSiteNews, Peruvian-born liberation theology expert Julio Loredo, president of the Italian chapter of Tradition, Family and Property (TFP), denounced the synod as a "scheme" designed to alter the Church "according to the most radical versions of liberation theology — the so-called indigenist and ecological theology."
Loredo, editor of the new watchdog website Pan-Amazon Synod Watch, warned that synod architects have adopted the "neo-pagan agenda" of the radical environmentalist movement, an ideology reflected in international conferences like the 1992 United Nations Earth Summit in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.