Athanasius Schneider

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His Excellency, the Most Reverend

Athanasius Schneider

Auxiliary Bishop of Mary Most Holy in Astana
Titular Bishop of Celerina
Mgr Schneider, Chartres 2015.jpg
Bishop Schneider in Chartres, France
DioceseMary Most Holy in Astana
Appointed5 February 2011
Other postsTitular Bishop of Celerina
Ordination25 March 1990
by Manuel Pestana Filho
Consecration2 June 2006
by Angelo Cardinal Sodano
Personal details
Birth nameAnton Schneider
Born (1961-04-07) 7 April 1961 (age 57)
Tokmok, Kirghiz SSR, Soviet Union (present day Kyrgyzstan)
DenominationRoman Catholic
Previous postAuxiliary bishop of Karaganda
MottoKyrie eleison
Coat of armsAthanasius Schneider's coat of arms
Styles of
Athanasius Schneider
Coat of arms of Athanasius Schneider.svg
Reference styleThe Right Reverend
Spoken styleYour Excellency
Religious styleMonsignor

Athanasius Schneider, O.R.C. (born Anton Schneider on 7 April 1961) is a Kazakhstani Roman Catholic bishop, the auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan. He is a member of the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross of Coimbra.

Family and early life[edit]

Anton Schneider was born in Tokmok, Kirghiz SSR, in the Soviet Union. His parents were Black Sea Germans from Odessa in the Ukraine.[1] After the Second World War they were sent by Stalin to a gulag in Krasnokamsk in the Ural Mountains. In Krasnokamsk, the family was closely involved with the underground church. Schneider’s mother, Maria, was one of several women who helped shelter the Blessed Oleksa Zaryckyj, a Ukrainian priest, who would later be imprisoned in the infamous Karlag by the Soviet regime for his ministry; he would eventually be martyred in 1963. The family traveled to the Kirghiz SSR after being released from the camps.[2] Later, they left Central Asia for Estonia, where they lived in Tartu.[3] As a boy, Schneider and his three siblings would attend clandestine masses with their parents, often traveling sixty miles from the family's home, taking the first train in the morning under the cover of darkness and returning with the last train at night. Due to the great distance, infrequent visits by the clergy, and crackdowns by the Soviet authorities, they were only able to make the trip once a month.[4] In 1973, shortly after making his first Holy Communion in secret, Schneider emigrated with his family to Rottweil in West Germany.[5]

Training and priesthood[edit]

In 1982, Schneider joined the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross of Coimbra, a Roman Catholic religious order, in Austria. He took the religious name of Athanasius upon joining the order and was ordained a priest on 25 March 1990. Starting in 1999, he taught Patristics at Mary, Mother of the Church Seminary in Karaganda. On 2 June 2006 he was consecrated a bishop at the Altar of the Chair of Saint Peter in the Vatican by Angelo Cardinal Sodano. In 2011 he was transferred to the position of auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Astana.[6] He is the General Secretary of the Bishops' Conference of Kazakhstan.[7]

In addition to German and Russian, Msgr. Schneider speaks English, French, Italian and Portuguese fluently, and he knows Latin and Ancient Greek.


Schneider is widely seen as a supporter of Traditional Catholicism with conservative views that are occasionally perceived as clashing with those of other members of the Church's hierarchy.[8]

Holy Communion[edit]

Schneider supports the posture of receiving Holy Communion on the tongue while kneeling in the liturgy.[9] This is the theme of his book Dominus Est,[10][11] published in Italian, and since translated into English, German, Estonian, Lithuanian, Polish, Hungarian and Chinese. The book contains a foreword written by Malcolm Cardinal Ranjith, then the Secretary of the Congregation for Divine Worship and the Discipline of the Sacraments, the current Archbishop of Colombo and Metropolitan head of the church in Sri Lanka.[citation needed] In the book, Schneider writes that receiving Holy Communion in this way had become standard practice in the Church by the 5th century, and that Pope Gregory I strongly chastised priests who refused to follow this tradition.[9]

Schneider encourages Catholics who truly believe they are receiving Christ in the Blessed Sacrament to kneel and receive Communion on their tongues. In 2009, he wrote, "The awareness of the greatness of the eucharistic mystery is demonstrated in a special way by the manner in which the body of the Lord is distributed and received".[12]

Schneider offering Mass in 2009

In 2016, Pope Francis released the apostolic exhortation Amoris laetitia, which seemed to allow divorced and remarried persons to receive Holy Communion despite the traditional teaching of the Church that divorce and remarriage outside of it constitutes adultery, a mortal sin. This was extremely controversial, and afterwards some bishops began to allow the divorced and remarried to receive the sacrament. This development was strongly criticized by Schneider, who said perennial teaching on marriage and Communion is "more powerful and surer than the discordant voice and practice of admitting unrepentant adulterers to Holy Communion, even if this practice is promoted by a single Pope or the diocesan bishops."[13] On April 7, 2018, Schneider, along with conservative cardinals Raymond Leo Burke and Walter Brandmüller, participated in a conference rejecting the outline proposed by German bishops to allow divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the Eucharist. Schneider spoke of the duty of popes to be "custodians" of authority.[14]

Society of Saint Pius X[edit]

Schneider has been a major figure in attempts to reconcile the traditionalist Society of Saint Pius X (SSPX) with Rome. He has repeatedly met with members of the Society, including the Superior General Bernard Fellay, to discuss doctrinal differences and to arrive at a solution. In August 2015, after remarks by Schneider were said to be favorable to the Society, he issued a clarification. He explained that the SSPX is still not in full communion with Rome, and that the situation has to be resolved. Schneider expressed the opinion that many of the SSPX's concerns regarding the texts of post-Vatican II documents and their interpretation are legitimate, but added that, "Unfortunately their criticism lacks sometimes the due respectful form." He also said:

This is the tragedy of the history, that in confused times as this is our time, the good forces in the Church, which want to restore the true faith and Divine worship often fight one against the other, to the detriment of the true renewal and to the joy of the enemies outside and inside the Church.[8]

Clergy sex abuse[edit]

On August 25, 2018 Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, former apostolic nuncio to the United States, released an 11-page letter describing a series of warnings to the Vatican regarding sexual misconduct by Theodore McCarrick, who had been removed from active ministry on June 20 following allegations deemed credible of sexually abusing a minor and was later forced to resign from the cardinalate. According to Viganò, Pope Benedict XVI placed secret restrictions on McCarrick, but Pope Francis removed these sanctions and made McCarrick "his trusted counselor." The end of the letter called on Francis and all those responsible for the coverrup to resign.[15]

The letter provoked diverse reactions. It was said to read "in part like a homophobic attack on Francis" filled with "unsubstantiated allegations and personal attacks," with many speculating that Viganò's conservative views, among other things, led him into a "declaration of war" against Francis.[16][17] A number of bishops sharply criticized it[18][19] while others called for an investigation.[20][21] Schneider came down on the side of those supporting the letter. He responded by saying that there was "no reasonable and plausible cause to doubt the truth content of the document." He demanded "ruthlessness and transparency" in cleansing the Church of evils, particularly "homosexual cliques and networks" in the curia that he and some others have blamed for help causing the abuse epidemic. Schneider called on all "cardinals, bishops and priests to renounce any compromise and any flirt with the world."[22]


In June 2018, Schneider spoke out against those in the Church who support open borders in Europe. In an interview with Il Giornale of Milan, he said:

The phenomenon of so-called “immigration” represents an orchestrated and long-prepared plan by international powers to radically change the Christian and national identities of the European peoples... These powers use the Church's enormous moral potential and her structures to more effectively achieve their anti-Christian and anti-European goal. To this end they are abusing the true concept of humanism and even the Christian commandment of charity.[23]


At a theological conference in Rome in December 2010, Schneider proposed the need for "a new Syllabus" (recalling the Syllabus of Errors of 1864), in which papal teaching authority would correct erroneous interpretations of the documents of the Second Vatican Council.[24][25][26]

Throughout late 2018, Schneider appeared at a number of conferences and events by videocam instead of in person, as he had been accustomed to doing. This led to rumors among Traditional Catholics that his travel had been restricted as punishment for his criticisms of Pope Francis. "I am sad that such news is spreading," Schneider said. "I was asked on behalf of the Holy See to reduce the frequency of my travels outside my diocese, so that their duration will not exceed the limits indicated by Canon Law. Therefore there is no travel ban." Canon law requires that a bishop, unless fufilling some specific duty, not be absent from his diocese for more than one month out of the year.[27]


  1. ^ "How Bishop Athanasius Schneider became a leading Voice for Catholic Truth". National Catholic Register. 17 January 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  2. ^ "Kazakhstan's Deep Christian Roots – ZENIT – English". 28 June 2010. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  3. ^ "Kazakhstan, Outpost of Catholic Orthodoxy". 27 January 2017. Retrieved 24 February 2017.
  4. ^ "How Bishop Athanasius Schneider became a leading Voice for Catholic Truth". National Catholic Register. 17 January 2018. Retrieved 15 June 2018.
  5. ^ "Bishops Ordained for Kyrgyzstan and Kazakhstan". 7 June 2006. Retrieved 10 July 2017.
  6. ^ David M. Cheney. "Bishop Athanasius Schneider [Catholic-Hierarchy]". Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  7. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 4 January 2010. Retrieved 21 February 2010.
  8. ^ a b Voris, Michael (August 14, 2015). "CM Exclusive: Bishop Schneider Clarifies". Church Militant. Retrieved August 8, 2018.
  9. ^ a b "News Features". Catholic Culture. 22 April 2008. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  10. ^ Cf. § Bibliography
  11. ^ Latin Mass Society of England and Wales: "Interview with Bishop Athanasius Schneider" Archived 20 June 2016 at the Wayback Machine. May 2014
  12. ^ "Vatican Newspaper Article Says Catholics Should Receive Communion Kneeling and on the Tongue | Mary\'s Anawim". 16 March 2009. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  13. ^ "Bishop Schneider: priests must resist pressure on Communion for remarried". Catholic Herald. September 21, 2017. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  14. ^ Allen, John; Giangravé, Claire (April 7, 2018). "Amoris' critics at Rome summit beg pope, bishops, 'Confirm us in the faith!'". Crux Now. Retrieved August 9, 2018.
  15. ^ Pentin, Edward (August 25, 2018). "Ex-nuncio accuses Pope Francis of failing to act on McCarrick's abuse reports". Catholic News Agency. Retrieved August 25, 2018.
  16. ^ Winfield, Nicole (August 26, 2018). "Pope on McCarrick claims: "I won't say a word about it."". The Kansas City Star. Associated Press. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  17. ^ Schmitz, Matthew (August 27, 2018). "A Catholic Civil War?". The New York Times. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  18. ^ "Statement in Response to "Testimony" of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, Former Apostolic Nuncio to the United States". Archdiocese of Newark website. August 27, 2018. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  19. ^ O'Connell, Patrick M. (August 2, 2018). "Cardinal Cupich defends his record, Pope Francis in response to former Vatican official". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  20. ^ "Statement from Bishop Thomas Olmsted Regarding Archbishop Viganò's Recent Testimony". Diocese of Phoenix website. August 28, 2018. Retrieved August 27, 2018.
  21. ^ "Statement from Bishop Robert C. Morlino" (PDF). Diocese of Madison website. August 27, 2018. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  22. ^ Schneider, Athanasius (August 27, 2018). "Reflection on the 'Testimony' of Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò". National Catholic Register. Retrieved August 28, 2018.
  23. ^ Dorothy Cummings McLean, Bishop: Mass migration part of plan to water down Europe’s Christian identity dated 2 July, 2018 at, accessed 7 July 2018
  24. ^ "Bishop calls for new document correcting misinterpretations of Vatican II". Catholic Culture (Catholic World News). 21 January 2011.
  25. ^ "Bishop Schneider speaks again, this time on Vatican II – In Caelo et in Terra". 27 January 2011. Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  26. ^ "Proposals for a Correct Reading of the Second Vatican Council". Retrieved 1 April 2016.
  27. ^ Kokx, Stephen (November 7, 2018). "Bishop Schneider explains Vatican's restrictions on his travel". Life Site News. Retrieved November 12, 2018.



Three lectures, a sermon and an exclusive interview. Hungarian and English language e-book version: (For the English version, see page 77)

  • Schneider, Athanasius; Fülep Dániel (July 2018). CATHOLIC CHURCH: WHERE ARE YOU HEADING?, Interview book, Theologian Dániel Fülep’s interview with Bishop Athanasius Schneider, Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana. The e-book is free download. Hungarian Electronic Library