ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - Bishop Athanasius Schneider is emphasizing the need for combative Christianity for the Church Militant.
Speaking at the Rome Life Forum on May 17, the prelate from Astana, Kazakhstan expounded on the term "Church Militant," a phrase in theology that refers to that portion of the Church alive in the world — as distinct from the Church Triumphant, which are the souls in Heaven, and the Church Suffering, made up of the souls in Purgatory.
"When there is no battle, there is no Christendom," the bishop said. "When there is no battle, there is no true Church of God, no true Catholic Church."
Throughout his speech, he mentioned various Scripture verses and quoted numerous Church Fathers and popes.
At one point, the prelate said, "As soldiers of Christ every Catholic should be always conscious of the fact that he belongs to the army of the winners, because Christus vincit, and as St. John Chrysostom concisely formulated: 'It is easier to delete the sun, than to destroy the Church.'"
The bishop emphasized, "The Christian duty to fight against the sin, the errors and the temptations of the world, includes also the fight against the errors inside the Church, i.e. the fight against heresy and ambiguity in doctrine."
Bishop Schneider cited a third century Church document known as Epistola Clementis ad Jacobem, Latin for "Clement's Epistle to Jacob":
Consider this fairly with me: When has Christ need of your aid? Now, when the wicked one has sworn war against His bride; or in the time to come, when He shall reign victorious, having no need of further help? Is it not evident to anyone who has even the least understanding, that it is now? Therefore, with all good will hasten in the time of the present necessity to do battle on the side of this good King, whose character it is to give great rewards after victory.
Elsewhere during the speech, Bp. Schneider said, "The Word of God teaches us: 'Fight the good fight of faith; lay hold on eternal life whereunto thou art called' (1 Tim. 6:12). The Christian life is indeed a warfare."
Church Militant has interviewed Bp. Schneider on two occasions, both during trips to Rome. He spoke about the decline of Western culture, attacks on sexual morality and the crisis in the Church, among other subjects.
In a recent interview for Catholic media, Bp. Schneider slammed the idea of Catholic priests "blessing" homosexual relationships.
"When clerics are promoting the blessing of homosexual relationships, they are promoting a sin, which cries out to Heaven, and they are promoting a logical absurdity," he said.
The bishop continued, "Such clerics are committing thereby a grave sin, and their sin is even more grievous than that of the homosexual partners whom they bless, because they are giving these people incentives to a life of continuous sins, and exposing them consequently to the real danger of eternal condemnation."
"The clerics who are blessing homosexual practices are reintroducing a kind of pagan temple prostitution," he added.