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Bishop Schneider: Pope clarified statement on ‘diversity of religions’

Bishop Athanasius Schneider (courtesy John Aron)

The Pope affirmed that God does not positively will the diversity of religions, Bishop Schneider claims

Pope Francis has clarified that God does not positively will a “diversity of religions” but only permits it, Bishop Athanasius Schneider has said.

Bishop Schneider, auxiliary of Astana, joined fellow Kazakhstani bishops for their ad limina visit to Rome last week, during which they raised several concerns with the Pope.

The bishop told LifeSiteNews that he had a direct exchange with Pope Francis on a declaration signed last month by the Pope and the Grand Imam of Abu Dhabi. The document states that the “pluralism and the diversity of religions, color, sex, race and language are willed by God in His wisdom, through which He created human beings”.

Schneider says the Pope explicitly told him that he could share their discussion on this point: “You can say that the phrase in question on the diversity of religions means the permissive will of God.”

The Pope also “acknowledged that…the sentence can be understood erroneously”, especially as the difference between the sexes are positively willed by God.

“When we mention both of these phrases in the same sentence, then the diversity of religions is interpreted as positively willed by God, like the diversity of sexes,” Schneider said.

“The sentence therefore leads to doubt and erroneous interpretations, and so it was my desire, and my request that the Holy Father rectify this. But he said to us bishops: you can say that the phrase in question on the diversity of religions means the permissive will of God.”

In his interview, the Astana auxiliary also branded the abuse summit a “failure” and a “clerical show” that failed to address the “deepest root” of the problem. In his opinion, “one of the evident, observable and deepest roots of the sexual abuse of minors is homosexuality among the clergy.”

The other deep roots include “relativism on moral teaching which began after the Second Vatican Council”, “a lack of asceticism in the life and formation of seminarians” and the “lack of a deep and personal relationship with Jesus Christ”.

“This was not stressed in the summit,” he said. “Therefore, I consider the summit to be a failure, as a doctor fails to cure an illness when he fails to address its causes. This problem will break out again.”

The bishop said that men with homosexual inclinations should “categorically not be accepted in seminaries”, adding that current rules do not go far enough.

“Currently the norms only say that those with ‘deep-seated homosexual tendencies’ should not be admitted to seminary, but for me this is not sufficient. What does ‘deep-seated’ mean? If an adult man comes to the seminary and feels homosexual attraction, even if it is not yet deep-seated, it is still a homosexual attraction.”

Speaking on the forthcoming Amazon synod, Bishop Schneider condemned proposals to ordain married men in order to cope with a shortage of priests.

“This has been the aim since Luther. Among the enemies of the Church and sects, the first step is always to abolish celibacy. Priestly celibacy is the last stronghold to abolish in the Church. The sacramental life is only the pretext for doing so.”

The idea, he said, was being proposed by “priests who themselves are not living a deep apostolic and sacrificial life. Without the true sacrificial life of an apostle you cannot build up the Church.”

“Jesus Christ gave us the example of the sacrificial offering of himself, as did the Apostles, the Fathers of the Church, the Saints, the Missionaries. This built up the Church with lasting spiritual fruits for entire generations.”