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An Athanasius for Our Time?

by Christopher A. Ferrara
October 9, 2012

In his monumental work The Reform of the Roman Liturgy, the renowned liturgical scholar Monsignor Klaus Gamber decried the "real destruction of the Roman Rite" during the "liturgical reform" after the Second Vatican Council, and "the cancerous growth of modernist theology that has implanted itself and is festering within the celebration of even the most sacred mysteries." He declared: "What we need today is a new Athanasius" — in imitation of Saint Athanasius, who (with Saint Basil the Great) stood fast against the Arian heresy that seduced most of the Church during the 4th century.

Perhaps today we have a new Athanasius in the person of none other than Bishop Athanasius Schneider, formerly the auxiliary Bishop of Karaganda, Kazakstan and now auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakstan. An article at CatholicCulture.org notes that Bishop Schneider has condemned "an anthropocentric, secularizing, or naturalistic shift by the Second Vatican Council" — according to its Modernist interpreters and implementers — and has called for a dramatic remedy for the "cancerous growth of modernist theology" remarked by Gamber. As the article reports, "The post-conciliar confusion can only be resolved, Bishop Schneider says, by identifying errors in interpretation of Church teaching and by appointing bishops who will be 'holy, courageous pastors, profoundly rooted in the tradition of the Church, free from any type of mentality of rupture whether in the field of doctrine or of liturgy.'"

To that end, Bishop Schneider has proposed nothing less than a new Syllabus of Errors — in imitation of the Syllabus of Pius IX condemning the errors of "modern liberty" — in order to correct precisely the "cancerous growth" of errors that have metastasized throughout the Church since the Council. As reported by Catholic Herald.co.uk, Bishop Schneider describes the proposed Syllabus thus:

There is the need for a new Syllabus, this time directed not so much against the errors coming from outside of the Church, but against the errors circulated within the Church by supporters of the thesis of discontinuity and rupture, with its doctrinal, liturgical, and pastoral application.
Such a Syllabus should consist of two parts: the part that points out the errors, and the positive part with proposals for clarification, completion, and doctrinal clarification.

Don't expect the publication of such a Syllabus anytime soon, however. The last thing the partisans of the amorphous and endlessly destructive "spirit of Vatican II" want to see is an actual clarification of the unprecedentedly murky conciliar texts, which have provided them with a warrant for revolution in the Church. Instead of clarification, they are intent on maintaining the reigning state of confusion.

"Great is the confusion! Who can still see clearly in this darkness?" Monsignor Gamber asks in The Reform of the Roman Liturgy. Bishop Athanasius Schneider is one prelate who can. May Our Lady of Fatima intercede by obtaining for us many more such prelates. For without them, the crisis in the Church — now a half-century in duration — cannot be brought to an end.