Against Pharisees [interview with Bishop Athanasius Schneider]

pch24.pl/against-pharisees,31907,i.html

November 4,2014

< In this extraordinarily difficult time Christ is purifying our Catholic faith so that through this trial the Church will shine brighter and be really light and salt for the insipid neo-pagan world thanks to the fidelity and the pure and simple faith firstly of the faithful, of the little ones in the Church, of the “ecclesia docta” (the learning church), which in our days will strengthen the “ecclesia docens” (the teaching Church, i.e. the Magisterium), in a similar way as it was in the great crisis of the faith in the IV century as Blessed John Henry Cardinal Newman stated: “This is a very remarkable fact: but there is a moral in it. Perhaps it was permitted, in order to impress upon the Church at that very time passing out of her state of persecution the great evangelical lesson, that, not the wise and powerful, but the obscure, the unlearned, and the weak constitute her real strength. It was mainly by the faithful people that Paganism was overthrown; it was by the faithful people, under the lead of Athanasius and the Egyptian bishops, and in some places supported by their Bishops or priests, that the worst of heresies was withstood and stamped out of the sacred territory. … In that time of immense confusion the divine dogma of our Lord’s divinity was proclaimed, enforced, maintained, and (humanly speaking) preserved, far more by the “Ecclesia docta” than by the “Ecclesia docens;” that the body of the Episcopate was unfaithful to its commission, while the body of the laity was faithful to its baptism; that at one time the pope, at other times a patriarchal, metropolitan, or other great see, at other times general councils, said what they should not have said, or did what obscured and compromised revealed truth; while, on the other hand, it was the Christian people, who, under Providence, were the ecclesiastical strength of Athanasius, Hilary, Eusebius of Vercellæ, and other great solitary confessors, who would have failed without them” (Arians of the Fourth Century, pp. 446, 466).

We have to encourage ordinary Catholics to be faithful to the Catechism they have learned, to be faithful to the clear words of Christ in the Gospel, to be faithful to the faith their fathers and forefathers handed over to them. We have to organize circles of studies and conferences about the perennial teaching of the Church on the issue of marriage and chastity, inviting especially young people and married couples. We have to show the very beauty of a life in chastity, the very beauty of the Christian marriage and family, the great value of the Cross and of the sacrifice in our lives. We have to present ever more the examples of the Saints and of exemplary persons who demonstrated that in spite of the fact that they suffered the same temptations of the flesh, the same hostility and derision of the pagan world, they nevertheless with the grace of Christ led a happy life in chastity, in a Christian marriage and in family. The faith, the pure and integral Catholic and Apostolic faith will overcome the world (cf. 1 John 5: 4).

We have to found and promote youth groups of pure hearts, family groups, groups of Catholic spouses, who will be committed to the fidelity of their marriage vows. We have to organize groups which will help morally and materially broken families, single mothers, groups who will assist with prayer and with good counsel separated couples, groups and persons who will help “divorced and remarried” people to start a process of serious conversion, i.e. recognizing with humility their sinful situation and abandoning with the grace of God the sins which violate the commandment of God and the sanctity of the sacrament of marriage. We have to create groups who will carefully help persons with homosexual tendencies to enter the path of Christian conversion, the happy and beautiful path of a chaste life and to offer them eventually in a discrete manner a psychological cure. We have to show and preach to our contemporaries in the neo-pagan world the liberating Good News of the teaching of Christ: that the commandment of God, and even the sixth commandment is wise, is beauty: “The law of the Lord is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the Lord is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the Lord are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the Lord is pure, enlightening the eyes” (Ps 19(18): 7-8). >

< That in the very bosom of the Church, there are people who undermine the teaching of Our Lord became an obvious fact and one for the whole world to see thanks to the internet and the work of some Catholic journalists who were not indifferent to what was happening to the Catholic faith which they consider to be the treasure of Christ. I was pleased to see that some Catholic journalists and internet bloggers behaved as good soldiers of Christ and drew attention to this clerical agenda of undermining the perennial teaching of Our Lord. Cardinals, bishops, priests, Catholic families, Catholic young people have to say to themselves: I refuse to conform to the neo-pagan spirit of this world, even when this spirit is spread by some bishops and cardinals; I will not accept their fallacious and perverse use of holy Divine mercy and of “new Pentecost”; I refuse to throw grains of incense before the statue of the idol of the gender ideology, before the idol of second marriages, of concubinage, even if my bishop would do so, I will not do so; with the grace of God I will choose to suffer rather than betray the whole truth of Christ on human sexuality and on marriage. >

Absolutely spot on. The Church needs more prelates who speak like this in the same way we need air to breath.

I love this bishop! He is a rarity and reminds me of Fulton J. Sheen, who used words that cut to the chase. This is a very strong exhortation to his ecclesial peers who are dabbling with novelty. I wonder who will listen.

His use of the word “Pharisee” is not in concert with what the actual sect of Judaism was actually about and why Jesus castigated them. That is, that they were legalistically orthodox to the point of abandoning mercy. I guess he could have called them Nazis. That would have been worse. I never like it when Bishops squabble publically with other bishops.

No one, bishop or lay, can judge the hearts of others to the point that they know who is faithful to Christ and who would be willing to die for Christ.

That’s it. The rest of the stuff he said (95% of the article) is excellent.

This is from last year and was discussed then

thread closed

What a great man! I’m going to try to do what he said and help out with the new youth group. It’s wonderful to have an inspired teacher of our faith!

Thank God for this Orthodoxy bishop!! God bless him abundantly!!!:slight_smile:

This strange phenomenon of rewriting the sin of the Pharisees seems to be popping up around here these days. The sin of the Pharisees was the veneer of orthodoxy in their outward devotions and rituals, holding a strict legalistic position on Jewish law and being scandalised by the pagan behaviour of Jesus disciples… whilst being selfish, hard hearted, hypocrits in their attitude to others.

The Bishop quoted Matt 15 in a completely distorted way to avoid seeing that it really applies to the modern day legalists who reject any development in the understanding of faith for the sake of their man made traditions, since Tradition with a capital T does not mean what they thing it means.

We can sometimes judge if others are faithful to Christ. We can see for ourselves if someone is obedient to Christ or not,or if they are trying to remain obedient but still fall into sinful habits. Faithfullness is not just a matter of the heart. It is lived out and can be seen.

In Matthew 15,Jesus rebukes the pharisees for nullifying the commandment of God for the sake of their tradition. They told people that if say to their parents, “Any support you might have had from me is dedicated to God”,they need not honor their father and mother. The pharisees were not strict with regard to the commandment that children must honor their parents or with regard to a man’s marriage vow. Jesus did not condemn the pharisees simply for strict legalism but for not upholding the things of the Jewish law which are most important,the moral commandments and natural law.

There is the hypocrisy of pretending to be pious while really being hard-hearted and legalistic,which everyone knows about and which secularists assume against religious leaders,but there is also the hypocrisy of subtly nullifying the commandments and condoning laxity and sin,even through legality. Legalism does not always strictly enforce a moral standards. Sometimes it subverts morality and excuses sin,under the guise of mercy.

There’s probably at least a little Pharisee in all of us. After all, without rules we have a potential for chaos.

I love this bishop.

That is a very valid point. I know, as is said above, we all struggle with this. The challenge is not confusing the sin we see in someone’s life with differing opinions, especially those opinions of a theological nature, as this area deals with sin. Both the theological liberal and the theological conservative can be people of profound sanctity, an both are need for the development of doctrine, for meeting changing pastoral needs and for maintenance of orthodoxy.

There’s probably at least a little Pharisee in all of us. After all, without rules we have a potential for chaos.

Yes we do, yet in the reference there is no indication that the ones pushing for adherence to rules are the ones being addressed. I just do not understand the application of the word Pharisee in* this context. Does the AB really see those pushing for change in dealing with family issues as the stricter *part of Catholicism? I do not see this.

The “new law” to which the new Pharisees adhere is the law of “political correctness” (yes, that’s an American English phrase, not his own).

He is saying that they place the laws of the media and popular opinions above the laws of God.

I think it becomes clear in this sentence:
because they want an exteriorly “clean” solution and to appear “clean” as well in the eyes of those who have power (the social media, public opinion).

They disregard the laws of God and the Church and replace them with the laws of prevailing opinion in order to appear “clean” (ie politically correct and modern).

That’s how I am interpreting his comments.

Thoughts?

I see. The comparison is the Pharisee’s cup to public image. Thanks. I do not expect analogies to be exact by any means, but I was having a hard time even seeing an analogous correlation here. I suspect you have it correct, and if so, I have learned something today.

Ever since Pope Francis was chosen by the Holy Spirit to be the Vicar of Christ there have been those who don’t agree in their own minds with the way Pope Francis is taking the church…but at the same time they word their statements in such a way to appear that they are not criticizing him…just voicing their own concerns…yeah right…especially on certain ‘HOT’ topics…well…maybe these same people need to look at what they believe the Catholic Church is…what it is…is not a Democracy where everyone has a say in what should or should not be…the Magisterium of the church and the Pope as the final arbiter on church doctrine…chosen by the Holy Spirit… they are those who attest to the truth of the Catholic faith…instead of trying to pre-suppose what Pope Francis is doing maybe these people need to ask themselves whether they doubt that the Catholic Church is being guided by the Holy Spirit

It isn’t Church teaching that the Holy Ghost chooses the pope. I’m not referring to Pope Francis at all, just the election of popes in general. We can hope that the Holy Ghost guides or influences the Cardinals in their choice of pope, but it certainly isn’t guaranteed at all, so we can’t be assured of it. As far as the Holy Ghost guiding the Church, well, that’s a subject I’m not familiar with, so can’t really comment.

Nope.

there have been those who don’t agree in their own minds with the way Pope Francis is taking the church…but at the same time they word their statements in such a way to appear that they are not criticizing him…just voicing their own concerns…yeah right…especially on certain ‘HOT’ topics…well…maybe these same people need to look at what they believe the Catholic Church is…what it is…is not a Democracy where everyone has a say in what should or should not be…the Magisterium of the church and the Pope as the final arbiter on church doctrine…chosen by the Holy Spirit… they are those who attest to the truth of the Catholic faith…instead of trying to pre-suppose what Pope Francis is doing maybe these people need to ask themselves whether they doubt that the Catholic Church is being guided by the Holy Spirit

The Holy Spirit only stops the Church from teaching error, not that all it’s decisions are prudent or in any way beneficial. Even the Pope is bound by tradition in regards to Church Doctrine. He can’t infallibly contradict earlier doctrine.

It’s not even a Catholic belief that the Holy Spirit constantly “guides” doctrine, as if it were something He might re-work from time to time or age to age. Catholic belief is rather than we must hand down what was handed down to us–from Jesus to the Apostles, from the Apostles to the magisterium down through the ages.

That is why the bishop said this: "We have to encourage ordinary Catholics to be faithful to the Catechism they have learned, to be faithful to the clear words of Christ in the Gospel, to be faithful to the faith their fathers and forefathers handed over to them. "

Why are we required to have such a legalistic definition of what constitutes a “Pharisee,” such as what you have written above?

Thanks for the info. :slight_smile:

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