Thursday, May 22, 2014

Athanasius Speaks

I am risking becoming a Bishop Schneider groupee. I first met him, except we didn't speak, at Downside. He was kneeling before the Blessed Sacrament in the Church when I arrived to make my meditation, say my Office, say my Mass, make my thanksgiving, he was still kneeling smiling benignly when I finished, in fact he was still there when I came back to say more Office after breakfast, as his breviary was closed I presume had already be there long before arrived and he was still there when I finally left. I like Bishops who pray!

I like Bishops with fire in their belly too, and maybe because he is from Kazakhstan, and was brought up in time of persecution and seems to have been surrounded by many who suffered for the faith, he says things that might be shocking in the mouth of one of his more westernised brothers. Frankly he is breath of fresh air. He might even be considered outrageous - he calls for an end to Holy Communion in the hand - he suggests that individual bishops or even priests draw up a syllabus of errors, He calls for us to practice and live out what we believe and not just in our Eucharistic celebrations. Like Pope Benedict he condemns 'Relativism'. He even goes as far to suggest that the movement to the peripheries towards a social Gospel that embraces ecology and economics, all that stuff we hear so much about lately, could actually be an escape from Christ, or at least a way in which Christ himself is not at the very centre of his Church.

He spoke tonight (Wednesday) in London to the Confraternity of Catholic Clergy. I think he might have thought me a little rude when I suggested to him before our meal that many of us were already considered somewhat mad by fellow clergy, and even bishops because we stand up to the prevailing agenda of people like ACTA, I said I didn't know what their reaction would be if we implemented what he proposed, he just smiled and went off to chat to some else. The thing is I think he is right and support what he says, and so I think do most of the clergy who were at tonight's meeting.

I also agree with what he said when questioned by a couple of lay people on Sunday at West Grinstead about the possibility of the Synod changing the Church's teaching on the reception of Holy Communion by the divorced and remarried he said, 'It was impossible', when a lay woman pressed him and asked, '... but what if the Synod and the Pope actually did change the Church's position?' From what I recall he said that that would be a departure from the teaching of the Lord, and they would be wrong, a Synod is not Infallible teaching, and no Pope can teaching something which clearly contradicts the Lord. If he does, on this matter, he is in error and, on this matter, we cannot follow him.

With all the silliness that flies around at the moment I thought it apt that this Bishop has the name Athanasius - God bless him.

Now, how can I get to Ramsgate for his 11am Mass on Monday?


Father John Boyle said...

Wish I had been there to hear a bishop say it as it is.

Delia said...

8.04 from Brighton to St Pancras International, arriving 9.18. Then 9.42, arriving Ramsgate 10.59. Procession is at 11, Mass at 12, so doable. But maybe you already know this!

Am thinking of going myself, because I was received on the Feast of St Augustine 31 years ago.

John Vasc said...

I felt so privileged to hear him speak. His words go directly to the heart. I thought initially 'What is [he] among so many, Lord?' But he is living proof of the parable of the mustard-seed.

He is how we should all be: thoughtful, attentive and honestly direct, and without fear to speak the Truth.

He is completely right about the crucial need to restore the reception of Communion *only* kneeling, and *only* on the tongue. From this and ad orientem worship, all else will naturally follow.

veritas said...

I am so pleased to red these comments by the bishop, may god bless him. Are we seeing the beginning of a restoration of the faith?