Monday, January 24, 2011

Full Text of Bishop Schneider's Proposals for a Correct Reading of the Second Vatican Council

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC at the 2009 Call to Holiness Conference in Royal Oak, MI
Photo: Diane M. Korzeniewski, OCDS

Many of you may have seen a partial or full text translation of a magnificent address by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC in which he proposes a syllabus to correct minsinterprations of Vatican II (note that it is not Vatican II he is suggesting condemning, but mistaken interpretations of it).

On January 14th, Italian journalist, Sandro Magister who offers his posts in multiple languages provided a partial translation of that address given by His Excellency in Rome on December 17, 2010 (link will be added at the bottom).  At roughly 7100 words, it was understandable that a full translation was not given and we were grateful for the shorter version Sandro Magister and his translator, Matthew Sherry went through to get us that much. 

In the address, Bishop Schneider proposes a syllabus that would condemn mistaken interpretations of Vatican II.  Those errors  may be obvious to some Catholics, but others continue to propogate that which is truly foreign to the documents of the Second Vatican Council.  It has affected many things: How the Mass is celebrated, how churches are built, sacred music (or lack thereof), and what is taught (or not taught) in catechism. It affects lessons in universities and water cooler discussions. People of every level are impacted from the laity to Cardinals and everyone in between.  

We need to proceed cautiously when judging others about these things. I would like to point out that only God can judge the motives of those who hold errant views.  Many clerics were malformed in earlier years when information was not as readiliy available as it is now. They trusted what they were being taught verbally soon after the Council, and others trusted them.  There was no internet for them to just "look it up" in those days.  Other people are simply misinformed - some because they really do not want to know.  A few may indeed know the truth and are wilfully distorting it to suit their desires.  We, however can only judge someone else's words and actions against objective material and leave the judging of motives to God (ref CCC #2247). 

As I read that truncated version of the address offered by Magister late last week, I wondered about the rest of the address.  I turned to Richard Chonak, who has translated a number of things from German and Italian.  His feedback was very positive soon after he began reading it. It left us all the more curious about the rest. 

As Richard worked on the translation, I worked on reaching Bishop Schneider, whom I know from his visits to Assumption Grotto - for permission to share the translated text with EWTN for the purpose of making it available online.  I wanted the broadest possible exposure for it and felt this was a much more fitting place than launching it on a blog.  Everything fell into place.  I managed to get a bonus: He provided his address on the Church Fathers and the Liturgy from the 2009 Call to Holiness, at which I took the photo at the top of this post.  This I will probably work on getting online within the next few weeks.

If you have read the partial translation (about 3 pages), I would encourage you to read the full translation, which prints nicely from the EWTN site at 13-14 pages.

Bishop Schneider, who has a doctorate in Patristics, lays a good foundation before getting to what is probably the most quoteworthy section.   Reading the first 3/4 gives greater context to what is at the end. In classic fashion, the address is loaded with references to Church documents, Scripture, the Popes and Church Fathers.

There are plans to update the text to include English next to the Latin at the EWTN page. Keep in mind, this was an address given in the presence of other priests, bishops and cardinals and one would expect them to understand the few Latin quotes offered.  You may also find some big words considering the same audience. My advice: Blow the dust off your dictionary.

I am overjoyed to see the enthusiasm on the internet with this address and the many people supportive of Bishop Schneider's proposal.  This was probably the first time that I participated directly in bringing something to the english speaking world online and had to wait several days before I myself could find time to blog it. 

The biggest thanks goes to Richard Chonak for translating the piece, to EWTN for hosting it, and to Bishop Schneider for the work itself and for granting the requested approvals.

It is my hope that people will follow copyright and fair use rules by introducing the address, excerpting parts of it if desired, and then linking directly to source page at EWTN for the full text.  This way, everyone will have the benefit of potential updates and have printing capabilities (blogs do not print well and take half a forrest worth of paper).

I have many photos of Bishop Schneider which I do not mind my fellow bloggers using, provided they are attributed with my name so the origin is known.  News organizations looking to use them in print, contact me for high resolution (see profile for email address).

Go read: Proposals for a Correct Reading of the Second Vatican Council
by Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC

Reference:  A New Syllabus for the 21st Century (Sandro Magister)

Photo collections:
More photos can be found in this post of a conference he had at Assumption Grotto in 2008 in which he discussed growing up in Kazakhstan, and the current situation.  It was a most humbling experience.  In the post is also a photo of his Bishop's ring, which is simple, but interesting.

I also have a blog dedicated to the works of Bishop Schneider which will continue to evolve.  It was started soon after he visited Detroit in 2008 and was mainly focused on his book, Dominus Est.  I intend to post about this address there too - hopefully soon.  Go visit:

For interesting news items I don't have time to blog on, check out my Twitter Feed: @TeDeumBlog

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Nick said...

Here is a document dealing with the implementation of Vatican Council II:

Nick said...

Emphasis mine


3. The Commission has been said to contradict Article 21 of the Articles of Religion in its affirmation that the decisions of what have traditionally been called ecumenical councils ‘exclude what is erroneous’. The Commission is very far from implying that general councils cannot err and is well aware that they ‘sometimes have erred’; for example the Councils of Ariminum and of Seleucia of 359 AD. Article 21 in fact affirms that general councils have authority only when their judgements ‘may be declared that they be taken out of Holy Scripture’. According to the argument of the Statement also, only those judgements of general councils are guaranteed to ‘exclude what is erroneous’ or are ‘protected from error’ which have as their content ‘fundamental matters of faith’, which ‘formulate the central truths of salvation’ and which are ‘faithful to Scripture and consistent with Tradition’. ‘They do not add to the truth but, although not exhaustive, they clarify the Church’s understanding of it’ (para. 19).

The Commission has also been asked to say whether reception by the whole people of God is part of the process which gives authority to the decisions of ecumenical councils.

By ‘reception’ we mean the fact that the people of God acknowledge such a decision or statement because they recognize in it the apostolic faith. They accept it because they discern a harmony between what is proposed to them and the sensus fidelium of the whole Church. As an example, the creed which we call Nicene has been received by the Church because in it the Church has recognized the apostolic faith. Reception does not create truth nor legitimize the decision: it is the final indication that such a decision has fulfilled the necessary conditions for it to be a true expression of the faith. In this acceptance the whole Church is involved in a continuous process of discernment and response (cf. para. 6).

The Commission therefore avoids two extreme positions. On the one hand it rejects the view that a definition has no authority until it is accepted by the whole Church or even derives its authority solely from that acceptance. Equally, the Commission denies that a council is so evidently self‑sufficient that its definitions owe nothing to reception."

from Authority in the Church

Anonymous said...


I am so grateful for your work, your blog, your reporting of Assumption and the Opus Angelorum. I am from Germany living in NC - and having been a member of the Work of the Holy Angels for more than 20 years I miss it and the priests and women religious tremendously. Getting to retreats from my neck of the woods is a huge undertaking given that I have a large family.
Your reporting makes me feel all the more connected. Bishop Schneider gives us outstanding "catechesis" and we must pray that Our Lord will guide and protect this jewel of a priest.
God bless you for your faithfulness and perseverance in giving us these outstanding news.

Nick said...

Is a picture of Saint Theresa behind him?

Chris said...

Yes, Nick. The venue for his talk was the National Shrine of the Little Flower.