Bishop Athanasius Schneider is speaking out in strong support of Cardinal Robert Sarah for his new book with Benedict XVI defending priestly celibacy, calling his actions “heroic.”
News of the forthcoming volume, titled “From the Depths of Our Hearts: Priesthood, Celibacy, and the Crisis of the Catholic Church,” was announced on Sunday, receiving a wave of praise but also considerable backlash.
In a statement issued on Tuesday, January 14 (see full text below), the auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan argues that the “slander and lies” directed against the Guinean cardinal only prove that the new volume on priestly celibacy is both “timely” and “necessary.”
Bishop Schneider writes: “One might say that the intervention of Cardinal Sarah has provoked, so to speak, the anger of hell.”
Cardinal Sarah, he says, has “given voice” to numerous bishops, priests and laity, who have been “stifled” by “influential groups” that are lauded by the world but may rightly be numbered among the “enemies of the Catholic Faith.”
In his statement, Bishop Schneider also notes, with regret, the “abandonment” Cardinal Sarah has suffered in recent days, “even by those persons who unambiguously and without human respect should have supported him and his intervention.”
The bishop also maintains that Cardinal Sarah has “proven” by the new book that he is a “true help” to Pope Francis and the Church, and he expresses his hope that the Pope may “effectively and fruitfully” consider the cardinal’s contribution.