Heroic Bishop Speaks Out Against Vatican’s Approach to CCP - The American Spectator | USA News and Politics
Heroic Bishop Speaks Out Against Vatican’s Approach to CCP
Pope Francis meets with Chinese bishops (ROME REPORTS in English/YouTube)

Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan, appeared on Tuesday on Steve Bannon’s War Room, where he criticized the Vatican’s Ostpolitik approach to the Chinese Communist Party regime. He contrasted Pope Francis’ weakness and servile attitude toward China today with previous popes who defied Roman emperors and with churchmen who courageously stood up to communist regimes throughout the Cold War and after.

Schneider criticized the Vatican’s secret deal with China whereby the CCP plays a key role in selecting bishops in China. He also expressed sadness that Francis has effectively abandoned the 90-year-old Cardinal Joseph Zen, an outspoken critic of the CCP, who is being prosecuted by Chinese authorities for supporting the freedom movement in Hong Kong.

The Central Asian bishop is one of the leaders of the Catholic Church’s traditionalist movement that supports the Latin Mass and questions the wisdom of Vatican participation in interfaith meetings.

Francis, Schneider said, likes to “please” those in powerful positions in the communist world when he should be exhibiting courage and speaking the truth to power.

Schneider told Bannon that the Church has erred in attempting to adapt to “modernism,” which seeks to change the truth of the Catholic faith. Modernism also, he said, leads to relativism, which British historian Paul Johnson in Modern Times identified as a principal cause of the 20th century’s horrors.

Schneider compared Francis’ approach to the CCP with Pope John XXIII’s détente with the communist world, which lasted until the election of Karol Wojtyła as Pope John Paul II. Wojtyła, who experienced life under Nazism and communism, directly challenged communism in Poland and elsewhere, and his public and private diplomacy in the 1980s helped bring about the collapse of communism in Europe. Zen’s opposition to the CCP is in the tradition of John Paul II and even closer to the tradition of Cardinal József Mindszenty, the Hungarian prelate who was arrested by the communist authorities in 1948, convicted in a show trial, and sentenced to life in prison. He was freed only after the Hungarian uprising in 1956 and was granted political asylum by the United States. Mindszenty lived at the American Embassy in Budapest until 1971, when the communist authorities finally allowed him to leave the country.

Schneider called Francis’ abandonment of Zen “tragic” and an omission that will go down in history as a “stain for the Holy See” for failing to support “one of the most faithful and heroic Cardinals in our time.” The pope, Schneider said, is effectively siding with a government that persecutes Christians and commits “crimes against basic human dignity in China.” This pope, he continued, likes to “please” those in powerful positions in the communist world when he should be exhibiting courage and speaking the truth to power. (READ MORE from Francis P. Sempa: Pope Francis Betrays the Anti-Totalitarian Legacy of John Paul II)

The roots of Schneider’s anti-communism stem from his family’s history. His parents, ethnic Germans who lived in Odessa, were sent to the Soviet gulag by Premier Joseph Stalin after World War II. In a 2010 interview, Schneider said that his parents worked in forced labor camps in the Ural Mountains, “and it’s a miracle that they survived.”

After their release, they moved to Kyrgyzstan and later to Estonia — all under communist rule — where Masses often had to be celebrated in secret. Like Zen, Schneider belonged to an “underground” church.

Schneider was ordained in 1990 in Brazil. He subsequently studied in Rome for 10 years. Pope Benedict XVI appointed Schneider bishop in 2006. He has been described as a “slight, self-effacing prelate” but also as a courageous proponent of traditional Catholicism in books such as The Catholic Mass: Steps to Restore the Centrality of God in the Liturgy and elsewhere.

And, like Zen, he refuses to follow Francis’ Ostpolitik with the CCP.

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