Rorate Caeli: Interview With Bishop Athanasius Schneider and Dániel Fülep

About the Second Vatican Council

Mr. Fülep: At a theological conference in Rome in December2010 you proposed the need for “a new Syllabus” in which papal teaching authority should correct erroneous interpretations of the documents of the Second Vatican Council. What do you think nowadays?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: I think that, in our time of confusion, it is absolutely necessary to have such a Syllabus. Syllabus means a list, an enumeration of dangers, confused statements, misinterpretations and so on; an enumeration of the most wide-spread and common errors in every area such as dogma, morals and liturgy. On the other hand, one should also clarify and positively assess the same points. It will come surely because the Church has always issued very clear clarifications, especially after times of confusion.

Mr. Fülep: ”Aggiornamento” was the name given to the pontifical program of John XXIII in a speech on January 25, 1959, and it was one of the key words used during the Second Vatican Council. What is the correct interpretation of this phrase?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: For Pope John XXIII, “aggiornamento” was not changing the truth, but explaining it in a more profound and pedagogical manner so that people can better understand and accept it. The pope stressed that “aggiornamento” means keeping the faith in its entirety. It was after the Council that this word was radically misused to change the faith. It was not the intention of John XXIII.

Mr. Fülep: Another misunderstood term is “participatio actuosa”. Even according to clerics, it means that preferably everybody should receive a task during liturgy. It’s as if this term referred to hustle-bustle or activism. The idea of internal activity doesn’t even come up.

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: The first person to use the expression “participatio actuosa” was Pope Pius X in his famous motu proprio Tra le Sollecitudini concerning sacred music. The pope speaks about ”participatio actuosa” and explains that it means that the faithful must be conscious of the sacred words and rites during the Holy Mass, participating consciously rather than distractedly. Their heart and their mouth have to be in accord with each another. Practically, the same meaning can be found in the document “Sacrosantum Concilium” of the Second Vatican Council, we cannot find there any major reinterpretation of the term. And Sacrosanctum Concilium teaches that in practice participatio actuosa means listening, answering, singing, kneeling and also being silent. It was the first time that the Magisterium had spoken about silence as a form of participatio actuosa. So we have to destroy some myths about ”articipatio actuosa”.

About the crisis of the Church

Mr. Fülep: Nowadays we have to realise that there is a deep fault line within the Church. The picture is very complex, but simplistically we can say that there is a painful confrontation between modernism and tradition. How can Your Excellency explain this dichotomy of the life of the Church?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: We have already been living and experiencing this dichotomy for 50 years since the Council. On the one hand, there are positive signs in the Church. On the other hand, real errors are spread by some bishops and priests. Such a situation is contrary to the nature of the Church. Jesus Christ commanded the apostles and his successors to keep the treasure of the faith, i.e. the Catholic faith, intact, thus the apostles even died for this faith. Those who have authority in the Church must act against such a situation and correct it.

Mr. Fülep: If we analyse the life of the Church, we can realize that we are living in an extraordinary time. Apostasy is general maybe everywhere, and heresies run riot: modernism, conciliarism, archaism etc. Unfortunately, we see the signs of heresy among bishops, too. Historians say that this crisis reminds us of the time of Arianism. If this comparison is correct, what is the similarity between the time of the Arianism and our days?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: The Arian crisis in the 4th century did cause a general confusion in the entire Church. So the heresy or the half-truths and ambiguities concerning the divinity of Christ were widely spread at that time. There remained only very few bishops who opposed openly such a heresy and the ambiguity which was represented by the so-called Semi-Arians. In those days only politically correct clerics were promoted to higher ecclesiastical offices as bishops, because the government of those times supported and promoted the heresy. In a way it is similar to our time. In our time not only one specific doctrine of faith is denied, but there is a general confusion almost in all aspects of Catholic doctrine, morals and liturgy. In our days as well, most bishops are quite silent or fearful regarding the defence of the Catholic faith. Therefore my answer is ‘yes’, there are similarities.

Mr. Fülep: Some suggest that it would be important that a new dogma should define the term ‘tradition’ and clearly outline the connections of tradition with papacy, the councils, the Magisterium etc. This new dogma could defend the tradition against e.g. conciliarism or an incorrect interpretation of papal primacy. What is your opinion about this?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: We have a II Vatican Council document about divine revelation Dei Verbum and there are very beautiful statements in it. It says that the Magisterium, the pope is not above the word of God or the Tradition but, as a servant of the written and orally transmitted (= tradition) word of God, he is below it. One should also stress that the pope, the papacy is not the owner of tradition or liturgy but he must preserve them as a good gardener. The pope must preserve and defend the tradition as a faithful servant. I think it would be good to deepen the reflection about the relationship between the Magisterium and Tradition.

Mr. Fülep: Today, the Catholic faithful must experience the weakness and the dysfunctions of the Magisterium: without exaggeration I dare say that in the official Catholic media you can hear, read or see gross errors, ambiguities, what’s more, heresies from high-ranking priests, sad to say, bishops and higher church dignitaries, too, almost every day. A significant portion of official utterances – also the highest – is confusing, contradictory, deceiving many faithful. What should the Catholic faithful do in these difficult times? How can we remain true to the faith in this situation? What is our duty?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: In the history of the Church there have always been times of a profound crisis of the faith and morals. The deepest and most dangerous crisis was undoubtedly the Arian crisis in the 4th century. It was a mortal attack against the mystery of the Most Holy Trinity. In those times it was practically the simple faithful that saved the Catholic faith. In analysing that crisis, Blessed John Henry Newman said that it was the “ecclesia docta” (that means the faithful who receive instruction from the clergy) rather than the “ecclesia docens” (that means the holders of the ecclesiastical Magisterium) who saved the integrity of the Catholic faith in the 4th century. In times of profound crisis the Divine Providence likes to use the simple and humble ones to demonstrate the indestructibility of His Church. The following affirmation of Saint Paul can also be applied to the internal situation of the Church: “God chose that which the world considers foolish to shame the wise; God chose that which the world considers weak to shame the strong” (1 Cor 1,27). When the simple faithful observe that representatives of the clergy, and even of the high clergy, neglect the Catholic faith and proclaim errors, they should pray for their conversion, they should repair the faults of the clergy through a courageous witness of the faith. Sometimes, the faithful should also advise and correct the clergy, yet always with respect, that is, following the principle of the “sentire cum ecclesia”, as for example Saint Catharine of Siena and Saint Brigid of Sweden did it. In the Church we all constitute one body, the Mystical Body of Christ. When the head (the clergy) is weak, the rest of the members should try to strengthen the whole body. Ultimately, the Church is guided by the invisible Head, who is Christ and is animated by its invisible soul, who is the Holy Spirit. Therefore the Church is indestructible.

Confusing and ambiguous video message

Mr. Fülep: Pope Francis revealed his prayer intention of interreligious dialogue for January in a video message. The Holy Father states that he prays “that sincere dialogue between men and women of different religions may yield fruits of peace and justice.” In the video we see the Argentine Pope with believers of other religions, including Jews, Muslims and Buddhists, who each profess their faith and together declare that they believe in love. The Pope calls for interreligious dialogue, noting, “Most of the planet’s inhabitants declare themselves believers,” and therefore, “This should lead to dialogue among religions”. “Only through dialogue”, he underscores, “will we be able to eliminate intolerance and discrimination”. Noting that interreligious dialogue is “a necessary condition” for world peace,” the Pope says, “We must not cease praying for it or collaborating with those who think differently.” He also expresses his hope that his prayer request spreads to all people. “In this wide range of religions”, Pope Francis concludes, “there is only one certainty we have for all: we are all children of God”, and says he has confidence in our prayers. In the last picture we can see the Little Jesus among Buddha, the Menorah and a Muslim prayer chain. If we believe that Jesus Christ is the only Son of the God, and the Catholic Church, the acceptance of the faith and baptism are necessary to salvation, and we know that the divine filiation is the fruit of justification, seeing this video we get embarrassed…

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: Of course. Unfortunately, this statement of the pope is highly confusing and ambiguous. There is confusion because he is putting on the same plateau the natural level according to which all people are creatures of God and the supernatural level according to which only those who believe in Christ and receive baptism are children of God. Only those are children of God who believe in Christ, who are not born of the flesh or the blood, which is the natural level, but who are born from God through faith in Christ and baptism. This is declared by God Himself in the Gospel of John. The above mentioned statement of the pope contradicts in some way the word of God itself. And, as Saint Paul wrote, it is only in Christ and through the Holy Spirit who is poured out in our heart that we can say “Abba, Father”. Based on the word of God, it is absolutely clear. Of course, Christ has shed His blood to redeem everybody, every human being. This is objective redemption. And therefore every human being can become a child of God when he subjectively accepts Christ through faith and baptism. So we must make these differences absolutely clear.

Neocathecumenal Way is a Protestant-Jewish community

Mr. Fülep: While the tradition is persecuted, there are some new modern movements which are highly supported. One of them is the community of Kiko. What is your opinion about the Neocatechumenal Way?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: This is a very complex and sad phenomenon. To speak openly: It is a Trojan horse in the Church. I know them very well because I was an episcopal delegate for them for several years in Kazakhstan in Karaganda. And I assisted their Masses and meetings and I read the writings of Kiko, their founder, so I know them well. When I speak openly without diplomacy, I have to state: The Neocathecumenate is a Protestant-Jewish community inside the Church with a Catholic decoration only. The most dangerous aspect is regarding the Eucharist, because the Eucharist is the heart of the Church. When the heart is in a bad way, the whole body is in a bad way. For the Neocatechumenate, the Eucharist is primarily a fraternal banquet. This is a Protestant, a typically Lutheran attitude. They reject the idea and the teaching of the Eucharist as a true sacrifice. They even hold that the traditional teaching of, and belief in, the Eucharist as a sacrifice is not Christian but pagan. This is completely absurd, this is typically Lutheran, Protestant. During their liturgies of the Eucharist they treat the Most Holy Sacrament in such a banal manner, that it sometimes becomes horrible. They sit while receiving Holy Communion, and then they lose the fragments because they do not take care of them, and after Communion they dance instead of praying and adoring Jesus in silence. This is really worldly and pagan, naturalistic.

Mr. Fülep: The problem may be not just practical…

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: The second danger is their ideology. The main idea of the Neocathecumenate according their founder Kiko Argüello is the following: the Church had an ideal life only until Constantine in the 4th century, only this was effectively the real Church. And with Constantine the Church started to degenerate: doctrinal degeneration, liturgical and moral degeneration. And the Church reached the rock bottom of this degeneration of doctrine and liturgy with the decrees of the Council of Trent. However, contrary to his opinion, the opposite is true: this was one of the highlights of the history of the Church because of the clarity of doctrine and discipline. According to Kiko, the dark age of the Church lasted from the 4th century until the Second Vatican Council. It was only with Vatican Council II that light came into the Church. This is heresy because this is to say that the Holy Spirit abandoned the Church. And this is really sectarian and very much in line with Martin Luther, who said that until him the Church had been in darkness and it was only through him that there was light in the Church. The position of Kiko is fundamentally the same only that Kiko postulates the dark time of the Church from Constantine to Vatican II. So they misinterpret the Second Vatican Council. They say that they are apostles of Vatican II. Thus they justify all their heretical practices and teachings with Vatican II. This is a grave abuse.

Mr. Fülep: How could this community be officially admitted by the Church?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: This is another tragedy. They established a powerful lobby in the Vatican at least thirty years ago. And there is another deception: at many events they present very many fruits of conversion and many vocations to the bishops. A lot of bishops are blinded by the fruits, and they don’t see the errors, and don’t examine them. They have large families, they have a lot of children, and they have a high moral standard in family life. This is, of course, a good result. However, there is also a kind of exaggerated behaviour to press the families to get a maximum number of children. This is not healthy. And they say, we are accepting Humanae Vitae, and this is, of course, good. But in the end this is an illusion, because there are also quite a lot of Protestant groups today in the world with a high moral standard, who also have a great number of children, and who also go and protest against the gender ideology, homosexuality, and who also accept Humanae Vitae. But, for me, this is not a decisive criterion of truth! There are also a lot of Protestant communities who convert a lot of sinners, people who lived with addictions such as alcoholism and drugs. So the fruit of conversions is not a decisive criterion for me and I will not invite this good Protestant group which converts sinners and has a lot of children to my diocese to engage in apostolate. This is the illusion of many bishops, who are blinded by the so-called fruits.

Mr. Fülep: What is the quoin stone of doctrine?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: The doctrine of the Eucharist. This is the heart. It is an error to look first at the fruits and ignore or not take care of doctrine and liturgy. I am sure that there will come the time when the Church objectively examines this organisation in depth without the pressure of the lobbies of the Neocathecumenal Way, and their errors in doctrine and liturgy will truly come out.

Christ is the only Redeemer

Mr. Fülep: Fifty years ago, the declaration Nostra aetate of the Second Vatican Council was promulgated. Its fourth article presents the relationship between the Catholic Church and the Jewish people in a new theological framework. This writing is one of the most problematical and controversial council documents, among other things, because of statements about the Jews. And now for this semi-centenary a new document was written by Cardinal Kurt Koch on behalf of the Holy See, where we can read that “the Catholic Church neither conducts nor supports any specific institutional mission work directed towards Jews.” Is Jesus’ mission command no longer valid?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: It is impossible because it would be absolutely contrary to the word of Christ. Jesus Christ said: “I was sent only to the lost sheep of the house of Israel” (Mt 15,24). And his mission continues, he has not abolished it. He said that “go to all nations and make them my disciples” rather than “go to all nations with the exception of the Jews”. The above statement implies this. This is absurd. This is against the will of God and against the entire history of the life of the Church in two thousand years. The Church has always preached to everyone irrespective of his nation and religion. Christ is the only Redeemer. Today the Jews reject the covenant of God. There is only one covenant of God: the Old Covenant was only preparatory and achieved his aim in the New and Everlasting Covenant. That’s also the teaching of the Second Vatican Council: “The principal purpose to which the plan of the old covenant was directed was to prepare for the coming of Christ. God, the inspirer and author of both Testaments, wisely arranged that the New Testament be hidden in the Old and the Old be made manifest in the New” (Dei Verbum, 15–16). The Jewish rejected this Divine covenant, since Jesus told them: “Whoever hates me also hates my Father” (Jn 15,23). These words of Jesus are still valid for today’s Jews: “Heaven and earth will pass away, but my words will not pass away” (Mk 13,31). And Jesus said that if you do not accept me, you cannot go to the Father. When today’s Jews reject Christ, they reject the Father and his covenant, too. Because there is ultimately one covenant only, not two covenants: the Old went over to the New Covenant. Because there is one God, there aren’t two gods: a god of the Old Testament, and a god of the New Testament. This is gnostic heresy. This is the doctrine of the Pharisees and of the Talmud. Today the Jewish are the Talmudist disciples of the Pharisees, who rejected the Covenant of God in His new and eternal covenant. However, the just Jews in the Old Testament – the prophets, Abraham and Moses – accepted Christ. Jesus told this, so we have to point it out, too.

Mr. Fülep: While the Nostra aetate closely related to John Paul II called the Jews “elder brothers”, pope Benedict XVI used the “fathers in faith” form. But the Jews in the Old Testament and Talmudic Judaism are two quite different things, aren’t they?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: Yes, of course. Unfortunately, these expressions of these two popes are also in some degree ambiguous. They are not clear. So when these words are to mean that the Jews are our elder brothers, we have to point out that only the Jews of the Old Testament – the Prophets, Abraham and all the saints of the Old Testament – are our elder brothers. This is correct because they already accepted Christ, not explicitly but at the level of the prefigures and symbols, and Abraham even explicitly, as Christ Himself told: “Your father Abraham rejoiced at the thought of seeing my day; he saw it and was glad” (John 8,56). But how can we say it about today’s Jews of the Talmud who reject Christ and have no faith in Christ and the Holy Trinity? How can they be our elder brothers if they have no faith in Christ? What are they supposed to teach me? I have faith in Christ and the Holy Trinity. But they reject the Holy Trinity, so they have no faith. Therefore they can never be my elder brothers in faith.

Dialog with the Islam

Mr. Fülep: Islam is the most commonly practiced religion in Kazakhstan. Traditionally, ethnic Kazakhs are Sunni Muslims. What is your experience about the dialogue with them? Islam is said to be similar to Christianity or Judaism because they believe in one God, thus monotheism is supposed to be the basis of conversation. But is that really so? Is it possible to engage in deep theological dialogue with them? Is Allah the same as the Holy Trinity? Is there any basis of theological dialogue if Islam hates the faith of the Incarnation?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: There is also some confusion when one says that the Jews, the Muslims, and the Christians follow monotheistic religions. This is quite confusing. Why? Because we, Christians always believe not only in one God, but in the Triune God, in God, the Most Holy Trinity. We do not believe only in one God as every human person can by the light of natural reason. The Jews and the Muslims believe in one God who is one person only. This is heresy, this is not true. God is not one person, God is three persons. And what’s more, they have no faith because they only believe that God is one but this doesn’t require faith, only natural reason. There is the dogma of faith which states that by the natural light of natural reason every person can recognise that God is one. We have a supernatural faith, and this is a substantial difference.

Objectively, God, who is known through reason, is, of course, the Holy Trinity. But the Jews and the Muslims do not accept the Holy Trinity. So we cannot pray together because their worship manifests their conviction that there is only one God, one person. But we, Christians always adore God in three persons. Always. So we cannot perform the same worship. It wouldn’t be true. It would be a contradiction and a lie.

Mr. Fülep: Does that mean that the two World Days of Prayer for Peace in Assisi represented a scandalous contradiction?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: Unfortunately, the World Days of Prayer which were held in Assisi contained and manifested a confusion regarding the substantial difference between the prayer of Christians, which is always directed to the Most Holy Trinity and the prayer of people who recognize God as the Creator and one Person by the light of natural reason and worship Him according to natural reason. The most grievous aspect at the interreligious prayer meetings in Assisi was, however, the fact that there participated also representatives of polytheistic religions, who performed their cult directed towards idols, hence practiced a real idolatry, which is the greatest sin according to the Holy Scripture.

“Migration is artificially planned and programmed”

Mr. Fülep: What is your own view about the migration crisis in Europe? What is the good Catholic attitude to it?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: This is more or less a political issue. It is not the first task of bishops to make political statements. But as a private person, not as a bishop, I would say that the so-called “migration” is artificially planned and programmed, one can even speak of a kind of invasion. Some global political powers already prepared it years ago, creating confusion and wars in the Middle East by “helping” these terrorists or not opposing them officially, thus – in a way – they contributed to this crisis. Transferring such a mass of people, who are predominantly Muslims and belong to a very different culture, to the heart of Europe is problematic. Thus there is a programmed conflict in Europe and the civil and political life is destabilized. This must be evident for everyone.

The Church and Russia

Mr. Fülep: I would like to ask you about Russian Orthodoxy and Russia. You know the Russian Orthodox church, their life and mentality very well. Next year will be the 100th anniversary of Fatima. Russia was beyond doubt not consecrated forthrightly to the Immaculate Heart of Mary and is known not to have converted to God.

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: Well, we know the text which John Paul II published. So it was in some way a consecration of Russia, which was definitely not an explicit one. In the text he spoke of the countries and nations which do need this consecration and which Maria wanted to be consecrated to her. In was an allusion to Fatima, of course. So I would say it was an indirect consecration of Russia. But I think it should also be done in an explicit manner specifically mentioning Russia. So I hope that would be done in the future.

Mr. Fülep: The Catholic Tradition and the holy Catholic liturgy in usus antiquior could help real ecumenism with Orthodoxy. But unfortunately they are appalled at the sight of the modern Latin usus. They say that we are like Protestants. This is tragic if we think about the common Apostolic Tradition which is to be found at the root of the Latin and Greek liturgies. Does that promote efficient dialogue with the Eastern churches without Catholic tradition?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: Of course, that’s true. I often I have contact with Orthodox clergy and they say it to me. This manner of the celebration towards people, using women as lectors for example is more similar to Protestant worship. The priest and the faithful form a closed circle, the celebration is like a meeting and a conference, and also the informal aspects during Mass are against the Catholic and Apostolic tradition which we have in common with the Orthodox church. So it is true and I am convinced that when we return to the traditional liturgy or at least celebrate the new order of Mass in a traditional manner, we will come closer to our Orthodox brothers, too, at least at the liturgical level. In 2001 John Paul II wrote a letter to the Congregation of Divine Worship, in which he included a very interesting phrase. He spoke about the traditional Roman liturgy, which is highly venerable and has similarities to the venerable Eastern liturgies.

Mr. Fülep: Pope Francis and the Russian Orthodox Patriarch Kirill of Moscow and All Russia met in Havana, Cuba on 12 February 2001 to sign a historic joint declaration. This document includes 30 points, with only 3 referring to theological questions, the rest to world peace, social issues, life protection, marriage, environmental protection and religious freedom. What is the significance of this meeting?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: The very fact that a Roman Pontiff and a Russian Patriarch met for the first time in history is of special significance. At the human and psychological level such a meeting removed centuries-old mutual mistrust and alienation. So in this sense it was an important meeting. The theological questions, however, were almost totally excluded. The circumstances of the meeting had also a clearly political dimension. We hope that Divine Providence will use this meeting for a future unity in the entirety of the Catholic faith.

We have to repent our sins

Mr. Fülep: Pope Francis opened the Iubilaeum Extraordinarium Misericordiae, which is a period of prayer held from the Feast of the Immaculate Conception(December 8), 2015 to the Feast of Christ the King (November 20), 2016. We can hear a lot of teachings and meditations about mercy. How do you interpret the mercy of God?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: The mercy of God is his love for us. And the mercy of God was revealed to us when he came to us and became one of us. It is the ineffable mercy of God that he decided to become man and redeemed us on the cross. The mercy of God lies in the fact that he is always ready to forgive us when we repent our sin sincerely. Jesus himself told Peter when he asked him, “when my brother sins against me, shall I forgive him seven times”, and Jesus said, “not seven times but seventy-seven times”, that is, every time your brother sincerely asks you for forgiveness. Whenever we ask God to forgive our sins no matter how great and horrible they are, he will forgive us provided that we repent them sincerely, i.e. we are ready to avoid them in the future. But, unfortunately, the group of Cardinal Kasper and those clerics who support his theory, misinterpret and abuse the concept of mercy, introducing the possibility that God forgives even when we do not have the firm intention to repent and avoid the sin in the future. Ultimately, this means a complete destruction of the true concept of divine mercy. Such a theory says: you can continue to sin, God is merciful. This is a lie and in a way also a spiritual crime because you are pushing the sinners to continue to sin, and to be consequently lost and condemned for all eternity.

Mr. Fülep: What is the connection between the mercy of the God and the Holy Eucharist? Is the Holy Sacrament the main sign of God’s mercy as he gave himself vere, realiter et substantialiter?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: Of course, it is. It is so because the Holy Eucharist is the sacrament of the Cross of Christ, the sacrament of his sacrifice, which is made present in every Holy Mass. The act of our redemption becomes present, which is the greatest act of God’s mercy. So the Eucharist is a demonstration and proclamation of the living mercy of God for us. But the Eucharist contains not only the sacrifice of Christ but also the person of Christ himself. His body and soul are really present and this is the most sacred and holy reality which we have here on earth. We can only approach the Holy One as a public sinner who said: “O, my Lord, I’m not worthy, but heal me, purify me!” So the Eucharist is also the demonstration of the mercy of God, who demands that we should be previously purified and washed from our sins. The main and proper sacrament of mercy is, however, the sacrament of penance. The Eucharist is the demonstration of the mercy of God, and it demands necessarily the specific sacrament of mercy, which is the sacrament of penance, so that the soul should be purified. The gate to mercy is the sacrament of penance: this is the opened gate of the Heart of Jesus, when during the sacramental absolution there flows from the Heart of Jesus His blood, which purifies the sinner. The Holy Mass contains in itself the source of all other sacraments and this source is the sacrifice of the Cross.

The Holy Spirit is stronger

Mr. Fülep: The Summorum Pontificum motu proprio will be ten years old next year. Your Excellency has followed how this papal law is observed worldwide. How do you assess the situation?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: Of course, as a result of the motu proprio, the traditional liturgy started to spread slowly but very strongly. Such a movement cannot be stopped anymore. It is already so strong, especially in the young generations: the youth, seminarians, young families. They want to experience the beauty of the Catholic faith through this liturgy, and this is for me a real sign of the work of the Holy Spirit, because this is spreading so naturally and slowly, without the help of the official structures of the Church, without the help of the nomenclature. Often, this movement has to face even opposition from the official representatives of the Church. Regardless the obstruction on the part of the ecclesiastical bureaucracy, it is growing and spreading, and this is for me the work of the Holy Spirit. And the Holy Spirit is stronger than some bishops and cardinals and some well-established ecclesiastical structures.

“Lex credendi – lex orandi – lex vivendi”

Mr. Fülep: There are many traditionalists who see only the beauty of the liturgy, and they do not care about the doctrine. Formalism, ritualism and perfectionism are very dangerous because these errors separate doctrinal truth, life and liturgy. How can we avoid these troubles?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: There is the basic Catholic principle which says: “Lex credendi est lex orandi”. That means, that the law of the faith, the Catholic truth has to be expressed in the law of the prayer, in the public worship of the Church. The texts and the rites of the liturgy have to reflect the integrity and beauty of the Catholic faith and divine truths. When we love the beauty of the liturgy, its traditional form, we should be touched in our soul and in our mind to love the Catholic truth more and live them in our daily Christian life. A true Catholic has to love first the integrity of the faith, and from this love comes the integrity of the liturgy and from this love comes the integrity of morals. So we could expand the traditional axiom saying: “Lex credendi – lex orandi – lex vivendi”. The care and the defence of the integrity of the Catholic faith has to be done, however, always according to the principle “sentire cum ecclesia”, that is, with respect and love.

“Non possumus!”

Mr. Fülep: During the time of John Paul II, the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments issued an instruction entitled “Redemptionis Sacramentum” on certain matters to be observed or to be avoided regarding the Most Holy Eucharist. This document prescribes, that “if any communicant should wish to receive the Sacrament in the hand, in areas where the Bishops’ Conference with the recognition of the Apostolic See has given permission, the sacred host is to be administered to him or her. However, special care should be taken to ensure that the host is consumed by the communicant in the presence of the minister, so that no one goes away carrying the Eucharistic species in his hand. If there is a risk of profanation, then Holy Communion should not be given in the hand to the faithful.” We believe in the doctrine of the Real Presence of the Lord Jesus Christ in the Holy Eucharist. To give the Holy Sacrament in the hand risks dropping small fragments of it and profanizing the Most Holy. From Your Excellency’s book we know that the ancient practice was absolutely different from the current protestant form. When asked to give the Holy Communion to the hand, is “Non possumus” the only adequate answer of priests, deacons or extraordinary ministers?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: Yes. I completely agree with this. I have nothing to add, because this is so evident. First and foremost, we have to defend our Lord. This is a matter of fact that almost during every distribution of Holy Communion in the hand there is a real danger of loss of fragments. So we cannot give Holy Communion in the hand. This is too dangerous. We have to decide to protect and defend our Lord. The law of the Church is subordinated to the good of the Church. And in this case the letter of the law – allowing giving Communion in the hand – is causing great spiritual damage to the Most Holy in the Church, that is, our Lord in the Eucharist. So giving Communion in the hand is dangerous and damaging the Church. Therefore we cannot follow this law. In practice it is, of course, difficult because in some places people are already accustomed to taking the Holy Communion in the hand. However, we should explain it to them previously with much conviction and love, and usually the majority will accept it. So we have to do our best to achieve this.

Mr. Fülep: What if the superiors don’t allow seminarians, acolytes or extraordinary ministers to do so?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: I would prefer not to give Communion in hand. And if the superior compelled me to do so, I would say: “I can’t”. I have to tell the superior that I have a conscience, too.

Regnum Eucharisticum

Mr. Fülep: Over the past few days Your Excellency has had the opportunity to meet the cream of Hungarian traditional Catholics and Hungarian traditional priests in your conferences and Holy Mass. We visited the Parliament and prayed in front of the Holy Hungarian Crown and the Holy Right Hand of King Saint Stephen. What is your impression of the Regnum Marianum?

His Excellency Bishop Schneider: It is such a nice country! I see such beautiful villages and churches everywhere! This trip shows to me that this is a Catholic country. And I hope that the Hungarians will be faithful to Regnum Marianum so that your country can really be ruled by Our Lady. And the reign of Christ is always realized through Mary. So when you are a Regnum Marianum, your should be a Regnum Eucharisticum, too. I wish the love, reverence and defense of our Eucharistic Lord also grew in Hungary.

Originally appeared in Rorate Caeli.