Bp. Schneider: Discernment Can’t Lead to Sin

by Bradley Eli, M.Div., Ma.Th.  •  ChurchMilitant.com  •  August 28, 2017   

"The first discernment ... was the dialogue of the serpent with Eve"

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KRAKOW, Poland (ChurchMilitant.com) - Bishop Athanasius Schneider is warning against the abuse of so-called "discernment" as found in the papal exhortation Amoris Laetitia (AL) to justify remaining in a life of sin.

A recent conference organized by Tradition, Family and Property in Poland featured the auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan. The bishop was asked on Wednesday how a confessor should apply the principle of "discernment" in AL, regarding divorced and civilly remarried Catholics who want to receive the sacraments but remain sexually active.

In response, Bp. Schneider likened the abuse of discernment, which condones sin, to the dialogue between Eve and the devil in the Garden of Eden:

The first discernment ... was the dialogue of the serpent with Eve ... to seek a discernment to obey God or not to obey God. Eve said, "Ah, God said to us not to eat from this fruit." And then the devil said, "Oh, let us start a discernment. What did God say?" And Eve said, "Ah, He said when we will eat [of the fruit] we will die." "Oh no! This is not true," he said. "Let us discern. You will know what is good."

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The outspoken critic of Communion in the Hand and the ambiguities stemming from Vatican II is also calling for a clarification on the papal exhortation on marriage. He said the first discernment in the Garden of Eden resulted in a "catastrophe of all humanity." He noted man is now bearing in his soul and body the "consequences of the original sin," arising from this "bad discernment."

He's adamant that authentic discernment can "only be for the good," which would only lead one to "fulfill the will of God." The bishop said this can never be used to confirm one in a life of sin. "But to continue the practice adultery, it is not fulfilling the will of God. It is offending God," he said. Any process that "confirms a soul in sin," said the bishop, is an "anti-discernment."

The first discernment ... was the dialogue of the serpent with Eve.

An absurd discernment process, warns Bp. Schneider, that leads someone away from God's will thereby puts them on the dangerous road of losing their "soul for all eternity." He gives the sobering advice that "we cannot play with our eternity."

He stressed that "sexual acts are only permitted and willed by God inside a valid matrimony." He repeated that this moral law was "the clear will of God," which did not admit of any exceptions. He further stressed that a confessor couldn't approve of a penitent continuing to lie just like they couldn't approve of adulterers continuing to practice adultery.

Confessors and the pope have a "grave responsibility" to warn people of such a faulty discernment process, said Bp. Schneider. He also noted the Holy Father via AL "seems" to allow the confusion.

At the same conference, Bp. Schneider was asked why the Catholic Church doesn't do more to convert Muslims to the Catholic faith. He responded, "This is a consequence of already fifty years in the Church of relativism concerning the First Commandment, 'You shall not have other Gods besides Me.'"


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