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ROME (ChurchMilitant.com) - Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan is denouncing what he calls gnostic clergy who erroneously believe doctrine and pastoral practice can be separated. To masque over their error, he added, they abuse sentimental expressions of mercy and compassion.
Bishop Schneider, in his address last Thursday at the Lepanto Foundation, likened this Gnostic group, comprised of priests, bishops and cardinals, to the Pharisees and Scribes. Even though the Jewish leaders knew the divine truth about marriage, he said, nevertheless they sought to have Jesus legitimize the practice of divorce that had been widely adopted out of "pastoral reasons."
Schneider called these Jewish leaders the first liars, teaching that pastoral practice could be in conflict with doctrine.
In contrast, he said, Jesus didn't use sophisms nor have "exemptions with reference to an alleged pastoral practice" as did the Scribes and Pharisees.
Schneider recalled how Jesus "condemned each deliberate mental sexual act and all the more each corporal sexual act outside of marriage." He added that Christ had commissioned the Magisterium for all time to "teach all nations to obey everything I have commanded you."
The bishop spoke of the recurring attempts over the past 2,000 years "to re-interpret the crystal-clear and uncompromising teaching of Christ on the indissolubility of marriage and on the iniquity of any sexual act outside marriage."
The bishop said this new gnostic clerical party wants Church approval of "sexual acts outside a valid marriage and even sexual acts against nature."
This emerging group of gnostic clerics seek a change in Church discipline regarding reception of Holy Communion by the divorced and civilly remarried. He proclaimed,
When clergy stand up for the admittance of divorced and civilly remarried Catholics to Holy Communion, they in fact solemnize their adultery and their sin against the Sixth Commandment. They give to such faithful the message that their divorce and the continuous violation of their sacramental bonds can become ultimately a positive reality. In other words, such clergy are liars.
Schneider said that in order to protect themselves, these false shepherds mask over their evident lies with sentimental expressions like "to open a door" or "to be pastorally creative."
Schneider quotes Pope St. Pius X, who taught that "charity does not lie in the toleration of false ideas however sincere they may be."
After his scheduled talk, Schneider spoke with the National Catholic Register on the need for the laity to defend the Faith because, as he said, the "clergy is very afraid and intimidated" to speak up for fear they could "lose their positions."
Schneider finished his talking by urging the faithful to stay strong in their faith:
No Catholic who still takes seriously his baptismal vows should allow himself to be intimidated by these new sophistic teachers of fornication and adultery, even though — sad to say — these teachers hold the office of a bishop or cardinal.
To learn more about the problems of false shepherds in the Church, watch Churchmilitant.com's interview of Bp. Schneider in Rome.