Bishop Schneider: Obedience Has Limits – Where There is Sin, We Have a Duty to Disobey

Bishop Athanasius Schneider kindly gave LifeSite an analysis (see full text below) in which he discusses the nature, and limits, of obedience to the Pope. Quoting Saint Thomas Aquinas and other sources, he explains that all authority and all obedience have limits.

“Obedience,” he says, “is not blind or unconditional but has limits. Where there is sin, mortal or otherwise, we have not merely a right, but a duty to disobey.”

The Pope, being the vicar of Christ, is bound to serve Catholic truth and not to alter it. Therefore, “one has surely to obey the Pope, when he proposes infallibly the truth of Christ, [and] when he speaks ex cathedra, which is very rare. We have to obey the Pope when he orders us to obey the laws and commandments of God [and] when he makes administrative and jurisdictional decisions (appointments, indulgences, etc.).”

However, the Kazakh bishop explains, if “a Pope creates confusion and ambiguity regarding the integrity of the Catholic faith and the sacred Liturgy, then one must not obey him, and one must obey the Church of all ages and the Popes who, during two millennia, were teaching constantly and clearly all the Catholic truths in the same sense.”

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