Bishop Athanasius Schneider honoured

In recent years we have highlighted some of Bishop Athanasius Schneider’s beautiful teachings on the Eucharist as well as his call for clarifications on Vatican II.

Now Inside the Vatican Magazine online has named Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Mary Most Holy in Astana, Kazakhstan, as one of the “Top Ten” people of 2013.

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By Alberto Carosa:

“Preferential option for the poor”: this formula has long been used in the Church, in line with the teachings and commands of Our Lord, to indicate that the Christian faithful should accord preferential treatment to the less advantaged and fortunate sections of society, the marginalized, downtrodden, powerless, defenseless, vulnerable. And who are the “poorest of the poor”? For many people the “poorest of the poor” are the unborn, who due to today’s unChristian widespread legislation in most countries worldwide are increasingly exposed to the dreadful risk of abortion.

But the auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Mary Most Holy in Astana, Kazakhstan, Athanasius Schneider, who is also Secretary General of the local Conference of Catholic Bishops and Chairman of the Liturgical Commission, has a different opinion. “The Eucharistic Jesus, that is Jesus Christ actually, personally and substantially present under the Eucharistic species, in Body, Blood, Soul and Divinity, is indeed the most poor, weak and defenseless in the Church,” Schneider says in his latest book Corpus Christi, la Santa Comunione e il rinnovamento della Chiesa (The Body of Christ, Holy Communion and the Renewal of the Church). Therefore, as a fundamental aspect of his pastoral mission, he is pleading the case of a “preferential option for the poorest” in order to restore the proper devotion toward the Eucharist. For this courageous commitment, we honor Bishop Schneider as one of the “Top Ten” people of 2013.

Scheider’s book, published by LEV (the Libreria Editrice Vaticana, the Vatican publishing house) is a passionate plea for the faithful to be aware of the paramount importance of receiving Our Lord with the appropriate preparation, devotion, respect and reverence, and especially kneeling and upon the tongue. This work is a follow-up to Msgr. Schneider’s previous book entitled Dominus Est: riflessioni di un vescovo dell’Asia Centrale sulla sacra comunione (It is the Lord: Reflections of a Bishop of Central Asia on Holy Communion). There Schneider gave arguments in favor of Communion on the tongue and on one’s knees, arguments that are believed to have prompted Benedict XVI to revert to this practice in administering the sacrament after his celebration of the Feast of Corpus Christi in Rome on May 25, 2008.

Schneider’s basic thesis is that the renewal of the Church cannot be brought about without a profound review of our devotion to the Eucharist, which produces a new momentum and fervor in our sacramental practice. Besides involving our relationship with the sacrament of Confession, for the faithful to be duly prepared to fruitfully participate in the Mass and worthily receive the Body of Our Lord, it is also necessary for us to be aware of the immensity of the Mystery we are approaching through a solid training, so that every superficiality, carelessness and neglect is replaced by due respect and a deep and sincere love.

Schneider is particularly saddened by the insensitivity of even certain clerics and bishops who have asked him why he is making so much fuss over these “secondary things.” But Holy Communion is not a “thing,” he rebuts, but a “person,” not “what is,” but “who is,” and that’s why he entitled his first book Dominus est, “It is the Lord.” His second book is also aimed at calling upon the Church to wake up and heed the impassioned lament of her “little ones,” those ordinary faithful who are suffering so much for the way Our Lord, “the poorest and most defenseless,” is often treated in the small consecrated Host.

In this regard, Scheider is convinced that we should be guided by the example set by St. Francis of Assisi, the patron saint of the poor par excellence, in his writings on the Eucharist, which overflow with an exceptionally ardent devotion.

“Therefore, I am beseeching all of you, brothers, kissing your feet and with all the love of which I am capable, that you revere and honor to the best of your ability the Most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, in whom all things in heaven and on earth have been pacified and reconciled to God Almighty,” St. Francis wrote in his Letter to the Entire Order (Chapter I). “I am imploring you, more than I should do it for myself, to beg humbly but persistently that Churchmen honor more than anything else in the world the most Holy Body and Blood of our Lord Jesus Christ, his name and the words with which his body is consecrated. They should administer the Eucharist to others with devotion and discretion. And when the priest consecrates the host on the altar, all the people, kneeling, should render praise, glory and honor to the living and true Lord God.”

The saint’s words are all the more relevant in the light of the fact that his name was chosen by the current pontiff, Francis.

For this reason, Schneider is determined to do for Pope Francis the same work he did for Benedict XVI. The ideal, according to the bishop, is for the Church to issue a liturgical norm to reinstate Communion on the tongue and kneeling to gradually replace the other practice. Communion standing and in the hand. Should this measure actually be put into place, the bishops claims, it would represent one of the most important and at the same time concrete acts to heal the wounds of the Church, precisely according to the words addressed by Our Lord to the Assisi saint in his famous vision: “Francis, go and repair My house.”

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21 Responses to Bishop Athanasius Schneider honoured

  1. Seeking clarifications on Vatican II can get a person in hot water. It was one of the things held against the Franciscans of the Immaculate.

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  2. kathleen says:

    Scheider’s book… is a passionate plea for the faithful to be aware of the paramount importance of receiving Our Lord with the appropriate preparation, devotion, respect and reverence, and especially kneeling and upon the tongue.
    Schneider’s basic thesis is that the renewal of the Church cannot be brought about without a profound review of our devotion to the Eucharist.
    Schneider is particularly saddened by the insensitivity of even certain clerics and bishops who have asked him why he is making so much fuss over these “secondary things”.”

    Oh yes! So much truth, and love for the Lord, in the wise words of this article.
    But why are so many in the Church not listening? Why are the frequent abuses against the Sacred Body and Blood of Our Lord Jesus Christ at Novus Ordo Masses in some parishes allowed to continue? Why is it still so difficult fro the majority of us to be able to attend a Tridentine Mass when Summorum Pontificum allowed the restoration of this beautiful traditional Mass to be celebrated again? It is scandalous.

    And I would even go so far as to say that this lack of aura of sacredness and piety in the celebration of the Holy Mass has been one of the main causes of the loss of Faith in the True Presence (plus of course the general appalling Catholic religious instruction in our schools of the last decades) and the consequent falling away altogether from the Faith of so many.

    Yet Bishop Schneider is correct, we must not despair. Each and every one of us must set to “to repair the Church” once again by being faithful Witnesses and defenders of Truth.

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  3. kathleen says:

    Well Limbo Dancer, I think there are quite a lot of us who can see the many problems we are facing in our beloved Catholic Church nowadays in the West. There’s a lot of information out there that we are facing a Great Apostasy in these present times. Where do you live? Do you disagree with this analysis then? But the evidence is staring us in the face.

    Let’s be clear about one thing: I am not attacking the Holy Catholic Church in Herself. The Bride of Christ is above criticism. We have Our Blessed Lord’s own words that the Holy Spirit would always guide her purity.
    But her members are made up of flawed human beings, and some have allowed themselves to be drawn into accepting worldly values that are not of Christ.

    Current Catholic teaching in schools: Have you ever heard of Daphne McLeod at Pro Ecclesia et Pontifice? She goes into great detail (with many statistics to back up her claims) of the disastrous turn Catholic religious instruction took after Vatican II.
    Michael Voris and many Catholic apologists on EWTN, the internet, etc. have written and called out warnings about this too.

    On a more positive note – and for anyone who has been on the Paris to Chartres pilgrimage at Pentecost and seen those thousands of youngsters marching forward fired up with love of God and His Holy Church, you could not fail to have some optimism in your heart too – there are many new Catholic groups and organisations who are trying to re-ignite the True Faith in this secular, unChristian society we now live in.

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  4. kathleen says:

    @ Limbo Dancer

    It’s a duty of one and all of us Catholics who love our Church and struggle to keep on the straight and narrow road of her Holy and Divine Laws to be constantly vigilant against Error and False Teachings. This is what Our Blessed Lord asked of St. Francis when he asked him “to repair My Church” – and hence all of us too. Would you also disagree with that?

    Who is going to save our Church? Don’t look to the Priests. Don’t look to the Bishops. It’s up to you, the Laity, to teach our priests to be priests and our bishops to be bishops.” Ven. Fulton Sheen

    What has happened to cause so much dissent in the Church nowadays? That would surely need a very long reply, but in brief I would say that in the West at least we have in general fallen prey to the World, the Flesh and the Devil.

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  5. Toadspittle says:

    “Who is going to save our Church? Don’t look to the Priests. Don’t look to the Bishops. It’s up to you, the Laity, to teach our priests to be priests and our bishops to be bishops.” Ven. Fulton Sheen

    Well. You might as well say, “Who is going to save our drains? Don’t look to the plumbers. Don’t look to the sanitary engineers. It’s up to you, the laity, to teach our plumbers to be plumbers and our sanitary engineers to be sanitary engineers.”

    Except that, as a member of the ‘laity,’ I haven’t got a clue about teaching plumbers how to plumb.
    But I suppose I’ve got it all wrong again.
    There are several folk on CP&S only too eager to teach priests how to be priests.

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  6. johnhenrycn says:

    It’s unfair to cherry-pick a specific quote from Sheen as evidence of supposed Protestant leanings. I’m certain I can find quotes by popes praising the likes of Dietrich Bonhoeffer, Karl Barth and Billy Graham and other great Protestants. In any case, I consider Kathleen’s Sheen quote to be a quintessentially Catholic one, although clearly not the Catholicism beloved of curial careerists.
    I recently read a comment by a Catholic insider advising young Catholics not to aim for employment in Vatican City unless their faith was very, very strong.
    ___
    Returning to the main point of this post, I’ve never been in an Anglican church where I was not required to kneel at the altar rail to receive communion. It always seemed fitting that we be expected to do so, despite the Anglican understanding of the Eucharist not being as firm as ours.

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  7. johnhenrycn says:

    “There are several folk on CP&S only too eager to teach priests how to be priests.”

    Incorrect, Mr. Cranky-pants. They are no more eager to teach priests their business than wifey, an O.R. nurse (ret’d), was to tell Dr. X that it was the patient’s left breast, not the right one, that was scheduled for mastectomy.You do what you gotta do.

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  8. Toadspittle says:

    Sheen’s comment appears to suggest that priests and bishops are a gang of dingbats that need putting right by following the instructions of idiots, some of them not unlike Toad.
    That can’t be right, surely?

    It’s unfair to cherry-pick a specific quote from Sheen as evidence of supposed Protestant leanings.
    ..Would it be unfair to cherry-pick a specific quote from Voltaire as evidence of supposed atheistic leanings?

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  9. GC says:

    JH, I was instantly bewildered by Limbo Dancer’s remark. I think an overwhelming part of Catholic history has always been the sensus fidelium or sensus fidei, “the supernatural appreciation of faith on the part of the whole people, when, from the bishops to the last of the faithful, they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals” (Catechism of the Catholic Church). I think Archbishop Sheen was saying no less. We’re frequently doing things “bottom-up” and it really shows. Real peasants.

    I suggest, on the contrary, that Protestant history is that of top-down bossiness, such as that of Luther and Calvin with the support and collaboration of German and French regional, often petty aristocats and middle-class religious poseurs. And that really shows too, even more clearly today, since they can boss.hardly anyone around these days.

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  10. Toadspittle says:

    “…the supernatural appreciation of faith on the part of the whole people, when, from the bishops to the last of the faithful, they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals…”

    …In the immortal (immoral?) words of Marion Morrison (AKA John Wayne), “That’ll be the day!”

    “We’re frequently doing things “bottom-up” and it really shows. Real peasants.” Are any of us on here “real peasants.” ?
    I’m not.
    I play at it, with my garden and chickens. That’s all.

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  11. johnhenrycn says:

    Well, Ms. Limbo, by editing my opening sentence at 16:53, you’ve succeeded in suggesting (falsely) that my criticism was directed at Kathleen’s quote from Sheen, rather than at your facile analysis of it. Well done.

    As for Billy Graham, he apologized for his gratuitous slur. I’m sure more than a few well known and esteemed Catholic elders, some of whom are still with us, have done the same thing (mouthing anti-semitic remarks, that is) while still being held in high regard – and rightly so – even though we, in our ever so enlightened times, cringe at their blind-spots.

    My point about the Roman Curia is that it is well supplied with ambitious careerists who would warmly endorse your view that the Church is a “top down organisation” and not a democracy and that it should remain so. Now, insofar as the Magisterium – the teaching authority – is concerned, I’m in complete agreement with that view; but as regards the clericalism of the Catholic bureaucracy – by which I mean not just the one in Rome, but in many other episcopates as well – I stand with Sheen when he says it is for the laity to hold their feet to the fire when they get too high and mighty. It was the old “pray, pay and obey” mindset of the the Bishops and priests in my birth province of Québec that decimated the faithful there. Actually “decimate” is a gross understatement of the harm the clergy did to them.

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  12. johnhenrycn says:

    “…overwhelming part of Catholic history has always been the sensus fidelium or sensus fidei, the supernatural appreciation of faith on the part of the whole people, when, from the bishops to the last of the faithful, they manifest a universal consent in matters of faith and morals…”

    I’m in total agreement with this position, GC; and there’s no contradiction between it and allegiance to the Magisterium, from whence came most of your quote. The laity has the right, indeed the obligation, to function as The Loyal Opposition until doctrine is settled, and to continue as such thereafter when priests and bishops go astray.

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  13. johnhenrycn says:

    “The laity teaching Catholic bishops and priests has never been done”

    Saint Thérèse of Lisieux, Dietrich von Hildebrand, Edith Stein, Josef Pieper…to name just a few recent lay persons who have done so.

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  14. johnhenrycn says:

    “You said, ‘Well, Ms. Limbo, by editing my opening sentence at 16:53’…Where did I “edit” this, your opening sentence of 16.53?”

    Er…to truncate a sentence is to edit it. Clear?

    You ask too many disingenuous questions.

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  15. johnhenrycn says:

    My opening sentence at 16:53 reads as follows:
    “It’s unfair to cherry-pick a specific quote from Sheen as evidence of supposed Protestant leanings.”

    Your version of it reads as follows:
    “It’s unfair to cherry-pick a specific quote from Sheen.” Full stop.

    That’s called editing. Your ‘crime’ in doing so was to mislead your audience. And I see you’ve misquoted me again at 19:00. But enough about you. Bye for now.

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  16. kathleen says:

    @ Limbo Dancer

    I’m afraid it really did look as though you were nitpicking with everything I, and later other commenters, were saying. If I am mistaken, I’m sorry.

    The quote from Ven Fulton Sheen is (as JH says) a “quintessentially” Catholic one – a deep meaningful insight from this holy bishop. Priests (and bishops) come from the Laity originally of course, i.e. from Catholic families. Those families that are real ‘domestic Churches’ produce holy and faithful priests among their menfolk. When the Laity are hungry for the Word of God, for His Holy Sacraments, yearning to be ‘fed’ with the treasures of the Faith, this encourages and animates the Priest to fill that need.

    You keep asking where the “malaise” in the Church lies as though you doubt one exists, but there is no simple answer to that question. Yet you say you remember the Catholic Church from well before Vatican II (that is more than many of us can say); surely you must see how things have worsened since you were a child?

    Many great Popes (especially Popes Pius IX and St. Pius X) in the 19th and 20th century could see the evils and errors that Modernism and Secularism were ushering in, thus dedicating much of their papacies to try to prepare the ‘flock’ for their dangers. Perhaps you have heard of the terrible vision Pope Leon X had of the Devil’s coming reign of terror in the Church, prompting him to compose the powerful prayer to St. Michael the Archangel begging his protection.

    We are going through some rough times in the Church, with attacks from outside and from within. It is the ‘Smoke of Satan’ (the attacks from within) that are far more harmful to the souls of the Faithful.

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  17. Toadspittle says:

    “…surely you must see how things have worsened since you were a child?”

    “…the terrible vision Pope Leon X had of the Devil’s coming reign of terror in the Church,”

    “…It is the ‘Smoke of Satan’ (the attacks from within) that are far more harmful to the souls of the Faithful.”

    It’s clear that what several people on CP&S are seeking is a reformation of The Church.
    …Well, it’s been done before. Reasonably successfully, some might think. (Though some do not.)

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  18. kathleen says:

    @ Limbo Dancer

    The problem with discussing anything over this strange but wonderful invention of the internet is that one is unable to see and hear the other person (expressions, intonations, etc.) allowing for all sorts of misunderstandings to arise in a conversation. It has happened often before here and on other blogs I have noticed. I won’t go over all your comments where you do appear to ‘nitpick’ and I agree that the subject in itself (the malaise in the Church) is not universal, is very complicated, and has many interpretations.
    Anyway, apologies for the wrong impression some of us might have been given of your comments… and do continue to ask.

    Attacks against our Holy Catholic Church have been around since its very foundation due to the forces of Evil against this One Holy Bride of Christ. That she has been able to survive at all against all the odds can only be attributed to the powerful protection of the Holy Spirit.
    That is why this general apostasy that we seem to be undergoing in the West is only temporal and should not allow us to grow despondent or withdraw from the fight against the problems facing us. If this is the time we have been chosen by God to live our pilgrimage on Earth, He must be expecting something from us, don’t you think? 😉

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  19. kathleen says:

    Limbo Dancer, if you have followed the links mentioned above on previous articles of Bishop Schneider’s writings, you will have the answer for some of the reasons for the wrong interpretations of the documents of Vatican II – that opened the doors to much of the abuse and denial we are currently suffering. It doesn’t answer all the questions of the why and wherefore for dissent and the evils of Modernism that go much further back, but it certainly helps us understand the attacks within the Church of the last 50 years or so.

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  20. Brother Burrito says:

    Limbo Dancer is a troll, as witnessed to by his/her use of a TOR browser to post comments here, and the general subversive nature of the comments.

    Goodbye Limbo Dancer!

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  21. Toadspittle says:

    Had to look up TOR browser, Burro. Might be handy. What do you think?
    I have no interest in concealing my identity on here, as you know – but…

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