Bishop Athanasius Schneider: ‘We are in the fourth great crisis of the Church’

**Bishop Athanasius Schneider: ‘We are in the fourth great crisis of the Church’

During a trip to England the Soviet-born bishop says the Church today is experiencing ‘tremendous confusion’


Liberals, collaborating with the “new paganism”, are driving the Catholic Church towards a split, according to Bishop Athanasius Schneider, the liturgical specialist who is carrying on a rearguard fight against “abuses” in the Church.

So serious are the problems, Bishop Schneider said in an interview last week, that this is the fourth great crisis in the history of the Church, comparable to the fourth-century Arian heresy in which a large part of the Church hierarchy was implicated.

If you have not heard of the Soviet-born bishop, you will. The sincere, scholarly clergyman is auxiliary bishop of the distant Archdiocese of St Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan. But this month he has received a rock star welcome from congregations across the country on his tour of England and he has embraced cyberspace to put over a trenchant, traditional defence of the Church. “Thanks be to God, the internet exists,” he said.

In the turmoil, Bishop Schneider, fears traditional Catholics may, for a time, be persecuted or discriminated against, even at the behest of those who have “power in the exterior structures of the Church”. But he believes those involved with the “heresy” will “not prevail against the Church”. And, in hope, the bishop said: “The Supreme Magisterium will surely issue an unequivocal doctrinal statement, rejecting any collaboration with the neo-pagan ideas.”
At this point, Bishop Schneider believes, the modern thurificati et traditores will leave the Church. “I can presume that such a separation will affect each level of Catholics: lay people and even notexcluding the high clergy,” he said.

Such comments are unlikely to win Bishop Schneider popularity in some circles, but he argues: “It is quite insignificant to be popular or unpopular. For every member of the clergy, their first interest should be to be popular in the eyes of God and not in the eyes of today or of the powerful. Jesus said a warning: ‘Woe to you when people speak well of you.’”

He added: “Popularity is false… Great saints of the Church, such as Thomas More and John Fisher, rejected popularity… those today who are worried about the popularity of the mass media and public opinion… will be remembered as cowards and not as heroes of the Faith.”

Bishop Schneider observes ruefully that there are many whose views coincide with those of the pagan world who “declare themselves Catholics and even faithful to the Pope”, while “those who are faithful to the Catholic faith or those who are promoting the glory of Christ in the liturgy” are labelled extremists.

Such critics may assert that Bishop Schneider’s concern over Holy Communion is like worrying over the numbers of angels on a pinhead. But the bishop insists that treatment of the Eucharist is at the very heart of the crisis. “The Eucharist is at the heart of the Church,” he said. “When the heart is weak, the whole body is weak.”

He argued that receiving Communion in hand “contributes gradually to the loss of the Catholic faith in the Real Presence and in transubstantiation”.

Bishop Schneider also rejected the idea that concern for the liturgy is less important than, or even separate from, concern for the poor. “This is erroneous. The first commandment which Christ gave us was to adore God alone. Liturgy is not a meeting of friends. It is our first task to adore and glorify God in the liturgy and also in our manner of life. From a true adoration and love of God grows love for the poor and our neighbour. It is a consequence.”

The bishop’s views have been shaped by his early childhood, growing up as a persecuted German Catholic in the Soviet Union, where he even had to attend atheism lessons at school.

His book Dominus Est discloses how the German Catholic community kept alive their faith despite severe hardship and persecution. In his own experience, his mother and great aunt took great risks for their faith and on behalf of others in the community. So Bishop Schneider and his family were horrified at the liberal attitudes and practices in the West, especially in respect of Holy Communion, which had been so rare and so precious to the persecuted German Catholics of the Soviet Union.

Seemingly like the little boy in the story of the Emperor’s New Clothes, the bishop now feels compelled to speak out and he cannot understand why others do not do the same. “It seems that the majority of the clergy and the bishops are content with this modern use of Communion in hand… For me this is incredible. How is this possible, when Jesus is present in the little Hosts?”

He continued: “There is the grievous fact of the loss of the Eucharistic fragments. And the fragments of the consecrated Host are crushed by feet. This is horrible! Our God, in our churches, is trampled by feet!”

Bishop Schneider admitted that he is “very sad that I am feeling myself as one who is shouting in the desert”.

He said: “It is time that the bishops raise their voices for the Eucharistic Jesus who has no voice to defend himself. Here is an attack on the Most Holy, an attack on the Eucharistic faith.”

But despite his concerns, Bishop Schneider is not pessimistic and believes that there is already a groundswell of support for traditional values that will, in time, renew the Church: “Little ones in the Church have been let down and neglected,” he said. “[But] they have kept the purity of their faith and they represent the true power of the Church in the eyes of God and not those who are in administration.

“I spoke with young students in Oxford and I was so much impressed by these students. I was so glad to see their purity of faith and their convictions, and the clear Catholic mind. This will renew the Church. So I am confident and hopeful also in respect of this crisis in the Church. The Holy Ghost will win this crisis with this little army.”

He added: “I am not worried about the future. The Church is Christ’s Church and He is the real head of the Church, the Pope is only the vicar of Christ. The soul of the Church is the Holy Spirit and He is powerful.”

Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s book Dominus Est: It is the Lord! is published by Newman House Press. His work Corpus Christi: Holy Communion and the Renewal of the Church, is published by Lumen Fidei Press

I’m glad that the voice of bishop Athanasius, a most Holy man, is being slowly, but surely, heard here and there. Will he be the new St Athanasius of Alexandria? The crisis of Faith is abominable, to say the least. It may be the fourth crisis of the Church, but it is the greatest by far. The time for heroes of the one, true, catholic and apostolic Church is around the corner. I’m a glad and joyful that a successor of the Apostles had the courage to admit to this crisis, but we should not forget about the lay people, who already admitted this, and have started to raise their voices through the internet, media and other forms of mass-communication. But the sheep can do nothing without a pastor. Now we have one. Pray and support bishop Athanasius, and make his voiced heard in the circles you are in. Let them know that the first hero has risen, one who would bear this great cross.:knight2:

Nice article. I’ll have to find out more about the man. Honestly I’ve never heard of him. Thanks for sharing this.


Finally… I don’t think my bishop is quite on the same page as this holy man.

May God have mercy on all of us.

WOW ! Is this Bishop ever right on the mark. His comments about the October synod are particularly revealing. It’s going to be an interesting year.

Reminiscent of the expectations of people before Humanae Vitae?

I do believe that if any such disposition would be given, though I highly doubt it, a war will break out in the ranks of the Church, a war that has not seen this liking since Lucifer rebelled.

McCall, thanks a million for posting this! God bless and protect His Excellency for having the fortitude to speak plainly and honestly.

I was feeling so good this morning until I read this, and now I’m depressed.

I see where the Bishop is coming from and he is right in so many ways. I don’t quite understand the part about “communion in hand” contributing to loss of reverence for the Eucharist though, perhaps because I was never a “mouth receiver”. When I receive in the hand, I concentrate on Jesus, when I receive in the mouth I’m more anxious about the Host accidentally dropping…perhaps it’s just me. I think the hand is a part of my unworthy body, and the mouth is equally unworthy (in my case, perhaps more so), but the Eucharist is about God loving us enough to give Himself to us, unworthy as we are.

Totally right on, Bishop!!!

I am in our adult faith formation group and we are refocusing in renewal in our parish, which was once pretty dissenting.

One of the issues brought up was the lack of sacramental adoration that furthers our experience of the Liturgy. We are too busy, caught up with the world, myself included.

About communion in the hand, the problem is that priests are finding hosts on the floor of the churches in some places after Mass, or the hosts are being taken out for sacriledge in satanic rituals, 180,000 Americans now joining such cults every year. Or the other issue of approaching God too uncommonly.

The church leadership down to the parish level must recover what was never intended to be discarded, to renew our understanding of the good that has been retained,…and the need for penance.

The road to hell is wide and easy.

A good and sobering read is the letter St. Francis wrote in 1221 to all Catholics and the need for penance. You can easily find it on the internet.

One of the more practical reasons is that particles from the Holy Host fall to the ground, when it is manipulated by more then one hand. And we know that no matter how small a crumb may be, it is still Christ. Hence when you receive Holy Communion in the hand some crumbs remain on your hand, which you dismiss as being nothing, when actually it’s everything. This falls to the ground and gets trampled by the legion of believers, who walk over Christ.
On a spiritual dimension. In sorts, it empowers you over God. Even if you don’t realize it. Holding God in the hand, you may be tempted to say: I got you!
God raised Jesus, so that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, in heaven and on earth and under the earth, (Phil 2,10) The proper body position in front of God Almighty is kneeling, and not standing. Standing is the position between equals. We are not equal to God. But modernity has gone even further. Man is above God.
On an historical level, this practice was never present in the 2000 years of the Church. There has been receiving in the hand communion in the first centuries, but it was totally different from what we have today. You we’re required to kneel, even if you received in the hand. Then you we’re not supposed to touch the sacred Host, but to eat it out of your palm, and thus cleaning it in the process of every potential particle that may remain. And for women was required that they had a white veil over the hand that they received, which was later cleaned in water, and the water thrown over flowers.
As you can see, even receiving in the hand required quite a bit of reverence, if not more reverence then on the tongue. But only if done properly. God bless!

Thanks for this interesting bit of history. I’m puzzled about the significance of the white veil over women’s hands. Any insight?

I would welcome a rebuttal from the other 5,214 Catholic Bishops world-wide. This is only one man’s opinion, an auxiliary bishop of the distant Archdiocese of St Mary in Astana, Kazakhstan. :dts:

I would like to hear from a bishop who is perhaps from our own USA or large metropolis in Europe, South American, etc.

Because women somehow carry a higher respect for the Lord. As you can notice from the gospels, women flock to Jesus to listen to him. The white veil is a sign of tenderness, which comes naturally to every woman. Men are more direct, and Jesus entrusted men with the preaching of the Gospel. Man brings the seed of the Word and woman nurtures it, that it may grow. You can notice this today, too. Women are much more open to the Word then men are. Man requires a clear train of thought before ever considering something.
The veil on the head of the woman is the same thing, a sign of respect in the presence of the Lord.

I hate to brake it to you, but since you talk about opinions, then you too are permeated with modern heresy.
It is not an opinion. In the Church there are no opinions (period).

EDIT: Jesus didn’t come in Rome or Athens, but in Bethlehem, a forgotten small village.

Yes, I don’t know this Bishop at all. Now I do. Wow. Not quite sure what to say. I do sincerely hope his influence grows and grows and grows. And that he is correct about the future of the Church. I agree with every word, but I too, don’t really get the Communion by the hand vs. the mouth. I’ve never regularly taken Communion by the mouth. Frankly, it just embarrasses and distracts me because I am so afraid I will do something wrong. And it’s true, nasty, nasty stuff can come off your tongue, so not sure it’s any more holy than your hands. But minor criticism. I love this, so much really it’s hard to say. To me, it sounds like the truth of the Holy Spirit calling the Church home.

Where are you coming from saying that I am “permeated with modern heresy?” For what? … asking for other bishops’ opinions on the 4th greatest crisis in the Church?
I beg to differ with his “opinion” unless other bishops confirm it.

Opinion is NOT doctrine, BTW. :cool: Unless the College of Bishops issue a **united **statement to the faithful, it remains … just an opinion.

And I expressed my opinion of his opinion,. :smiley:

And doctrine is not opinion.
The bishops of today, most of them, have sided with the state and not the Church. They may look churchly, and with all their fancy outfits (which are sacred robes, only some of them are unfitting of them), even catholic. But they teach and act contrary to the doctrine of the Church. They will lift no finger for the Bride of Christ, for it will be cut down by the Bride of Satan.

Um, that’s YOUR opinion. Sad to say, it is not in keeping with forum rules to disrespect clergy here in public. :eek:

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