Athanasius Schneider: Pope Francis’s Synodal Reform is Undermining the Church

Bishop Athanasius Schneider is appealing to Pope Francis to rescind new norms that grant equal voting rights to bishops and laity at the October 2023 Ordinary General Assembly of the Synod of Bishops in Rome, saying they are a “radical novelty” that “undermine the divine constitution of the Church, conforming it more to a Protestant or even secular model.”

The norms, issued on 26 April by the Secretary General of the Synod of Bishops, Maltese Cardinal Mario Grech, and its General Rapporteur, Luxembourger Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich, SJ, emphasize that special priority is to be given to women and young people who, along with other non-bishop members, will comprise twenty-five percent of the vote.

According to Bishop Schneider, auxiliary bishop of St Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan, the changes to the composition of the assembly make the upcoming synod resemble “a democratic or egalitarian parliament rather than a monarchical hierarchy established by Our Lord Jesus Christ.”

He further contends that “the synodal processes and documents, and the upcoming Synod in Rome, have adopted a method which is alien to the spirit of the Apostles, Church Fathers, and genuine tradition of the Church.”

In this exclusive interview, Bishop Schneider also clarifies the nature of a Synod of Bishops as envisioned by Pope Paul VI, discusses what he believes Paul VI would say to the October 2023 assembly, and calls on the cardinals to act and not remain passive “as the Church is harmed, and the salvation of souls is jeopardized.”

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