Working Document for the Synod on the Amazon: In the Critics’ Spotlight (2)

August 14, 2019

After the denunciation of the working document for the forthcoming Synod on the Amazon by Cardinal Walter Brandmüller, three new criticisms have been drawn up in July. The second comes from Bishop Athanasius Schneider, auxiliary bishop of Astana in Kazakhstan.

Bishop Schneider’s criticisms have been published in an eight page document in German on the Austrian site on July 17, 2019, and the next day in English on LifeSiteNews.  

Towards a Amazonian-Catholic Sect

Like Cardinal Müller, he asserts that the synod is being prepared by a European clerical pseudo- elite which hopes to create an “Amazonian-Catholic” sect—which practices the adoration of nature and which will have a female priesthood. These reformers, mainly of European origin, “really want a new Christian confession.”

Bishop Schneider denounces the recent remarks of Bishop Erwin Kräutler, former bishop of Xingu, Brazil and one of the principal authors of the upcoming synod, on the Austrian television network ORF, where the latter demanded a married priesthood and “at least a female diaconate,” because of the lack of priests in the Amazon region. Bishop Schneider contradicted his brother bishop, affirming that there is no “right to the Holy Eucharist,” and the “the sacrament of the Eucharist is the ultimate gift of God.” The real scandal, he declared, is that “during the last decades in the Amazon, intensive pastoral initiatives to foster vocations were not launched.”

The auxiliary bishop of Astana emphasized that, during this period, “some missionaries in the Amazon have turned away from the true spirit of Jesus Christ, of the Apostles, and of the holy missionaries; they, instead, have turned to the spirit of this world.” And “those that Bishop Kräutler and many of his clerical fellow travelers now demand are, rather, caricature-priests in the form of aid workers, NGO employees, socialist syndicalists, and eco-specialists.”

Bishop Schneider excoriated the ecclesiastics who are now participating in the preparation of the Amazon synod. He states, often enough, that “by abusing the name of Jesus and the holy episcopal and priestly office, missionaries and even bishops have preached in the Amazon mostly a gospel of earthly life, a gospel of the stomach, as it were, and not a Gospel of the Cross; a gospel of the adoration of nature, of the forest, of the water, of the sun, a gospel of the adoration of this so brief earthly material life.”

On the subject of the Pope who will preside over the synod, Bishop Schneider recalled that he has, “a strict duty, as given to him by God…to preserve… the apostolic inheritance of priestly celibacy,” and to transmit this heritage “to his own successor and to the next generation.” Because, “he may not support in the slightest way—by silence or by an ambiguous conduct—the obviously Gnostic and naturalistic contents of parts of the Instrumentum laboris, as well as the abolishment of the apostolic duty of priestly celibacy.” But, realistically, the Kazakh prelate adds, “if the Pope would do this at the upcoming Amazon Synod, then he would gravely violate his duty as the Successor of Peter and the Vicar of Christ, and he would then cause a spiritual eclipse in the Church. But Christ, the invincible Sun of Truth, will disperse this brief eclipse by again sending holy, courageous, and faithful popes to His Church, because the gates of hell shall not prevail against the rock of Peter (see Mt. 16:18).”

This anxiety is also expressed by the journalist from LifeSiteNews, Maike Hickson. At the end of her synthesis of Bishop Schneider’s criticisms, she recalled that “most of the synod fathers stemming from the Amazon region,” ensures that, “some more conservative bishops from regions such as Asia, Eastern Europe, and Africa, will not be able to give a counterweight to the more progressive ideas coming out from the Amazon.”