As previously reported by One Peter Five and LifeSiteNews, His Excellency Bishop Athanasius Schneider was in Winnipeg recently (May 30th) to receive the Regina Sacratissimi Rosarii award from the Society of St. Dominic at the Hotel Fort Garry’s Crystal Ballroom, and to offer two Pontifical Masses at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church. The Master of Ceremonies for the dinner award evening was Mr. Alex Begin and the award was presented to His Excellency, on the Society’s behalf, by 1P5 contributor Dr. Peter Kwasniewski. Bishop Schneider delivered an address following the presentation of the award that emphasized the defense of the faith on this 2018 50th anniversary year of Humanae Vitae which followed the 100th anniversary year of Our Lady of Fatima in 2017. What follows is the authorized transcript of the evening’s address by Bishop Schneider.
The Church’s primary mission: the proclamation of the truth
Most Reverend Athanasius Schneider
Auxiliary Bishop of Mary Most Holy in Astana, Kazakhstan
Presentation of the Regina Sacratissimi Rosarii Award Society of St. Dominic
Winnipeg, May 30, 2018
The current year is marked by the memorable event of the 50th anniversary of the encyclical Humanae vitae, in which Blessed Paul VI confirmed the teaching of the constant Magisterium of the Church regarding the transmission of human life. This is a favorable occasion in order to honor the memory and the enduring importance of this encyclical. We are today in the same building, in which fifty years ago the Canadian Conference of Catholic Bishops issued the so called “Winnipeg statement”, which essentially dissented from the teaching of the encyclical Humanae vitae. Therefore, it benefits all of us to recall the timeless teaching as we can learn it in the encyclical Humanae vitae and in the documents of other Roman Pontiffs.
Pope Paul VI stated this basic duty of the teaching Church in his prophetical and epochal encyclical Humanae vitae: “The Church in urging men to the observance of the precepts of the natural law, which it interprets by its constant doctrine, teaches that each and every marital act must of necessity retain its intrinsic relationship to the procreation of human life.” (n. 11).
An important witness of the constant and immutable teaching of the Church on the theme of human procreation is Pope Pius XI, who taught: “No difficulty can arise that justifies the putting aside of the law of God which forbids all acts intrinsically evil. There is no possible circumstance in which husband and wife cannot, strengthened by the grace of God, fulfill faithfully their duties and preserve in wedlock their chastity unspotted. This truth of Christian Faith is expressed by the teaching of the Council of Trent. “Let no one be so rash as to assert that which the Fathers of the Council have placed under anathema, namely, that there are precepts of God impossible for the just to observe. God does not ask the impossible, but by His commands, instructs you to do what you are able, to pray for what you are not able that He may help you” (Conc. Trid., Sess. VI, cap. 11)” (Encyclical Casti connubii, 61).
Pope John Paul II reproposed strongly and without any ambiguity the immutable and constant teaching of all times, saying: “There can be no contradiction between the divine law concerning the transmission of human life and true conjugal love (cf. II Vatican Council, Gaudium et Spes, 51). To speak of a “conflict of values or goods” and of the consequent need to “balance” them, choosing one and rejecting the other, is not morally correct and only generates confusion in the conscience of the spouses. The grace of Christ gives spouses the real capacity to fulfill the whole “truth” of their conjugal love. The first, and in a certain sense the most serious difficulty, is that also in the Christian community, voices have been heard and are heard that call into question the truth of the Church’s teaching. … What the Church teaches about contraception is not a matter of free discussion among theologians. Teaching the contrary is tantamount to inducing the moral conscience of the spouses into error. … Many think that the Christian teaching, although true, is nonetheless unfeasible, at least in some circumstances. As the Tradition of the Church has constantly taught, God does not command the impossible but every commandment also entails a gift of grace which helps human freedom to fulfill it. Yet constant prayer, frequent recourse to the sacraments and the exercise of conjugal chastity are needed. Today more than yesterday, man is again beginning to feel the need for truth and right reason in his daily experience. Always be ready to say, without ambiguity, the truth about the good and evil regarding man and the family” (Address to participants in a study meeting on responsible procreation, June 5, 1987).