Editor’s Note: Following his strongly-worded interview with Polonia Christiana in the wake of the first part of the Extraordinary Synod on Marriage and Family, we reached out to Bishop Athanasius Schneider to seek his guidance on concrete actions Catholics can take during this time of turmoil within the Church. We specifically requested his advice on what the faithful could do to resist heterodoxy and address the errors (or at least obfuscations) that seem to be issuing forth from some of the highest prelates in the Church. Though his counsel is brief, it is deeply thoughtful, and offers us a great deal of work to do. With the next meeting of the Synod less than eight months away, there is no time to waste.
It is a sad truth that we are in a time of great crisis in the Church. God is with us, however. You have asked me what the faithful can do to combat the errors spreading through the Church. I would like to answer with some suggestions:
We must create groups of true Catholics, scholars, families, and clergy who will spread courageously the full Catholic truth, especially on the Church’s teachings on the family, on nature, and the commandments of God.
As a means to this aim, we must make use of all the resources that the modern world offers to us. We are not confined to waiting for the media to spread these messages. We do not have to wait for each individual pastor to preach them from the pulpit. We should embrace the new media forms that allow us to spread the Gospel and the teachings of our Holy Mother, the Church. We should take our message to the Internet, publish it on websites, blogs, and social media.
But we must not forget to engage with our fellow Catholics in more traditional ways. We should organize conferences and symposiums on a scholarly level. We should use these to create publications, papers, and books that can be used as a reference and broaden our discussion.
We should also create a movement of Catholic families, of “domestic churches”, to witness, defend and spread the integral faith and the teaching on family, marriage, and the order of nature.
We must, at this dangerous time, be courageous in illuminating the truly Gnostic and revolutionary character of the “Kasper agenda,” demonstrating the continuity of the Divine doctrine on marriage and its practice throughout the two thousand years of the history of our Church. We should inspire the faithful with examples of holy husbands, families, children, and teenagers. We should demonstrate, on the one side, the real beauty of a marital, family, or single life in chastity and fidelity. On the other side, we must point to the demonstrated ugliness, unhappiness, and schizophrenia of a life against the divinely-established order.
To give hope to those who are struggling, it is important for us to give examples of repentant Catholics from the past and present time. Those who converted from their sinful life in adultery, divorce, or sodomy.
To address the errors currently being spread, true Catholic husbands, families and single persons must write to the pope, to the their bishops, and to the competent dicasteries of the Roman Curia, notifying them of heretical, semi-heretical, or Gnostic pronouncements of ecclesiastical persons or events with such an agenda which are being promoted though ecclesiastical persons or groups.
These are all means of education and formation. But the battle we are fighting is against more than ignorance. It is against principalities and powers. It cannot succeed unless we organize a great national and international net of prayer through Eucharistic adoration, pilgrimages, solemn Masses, intercessional and penitential processions with themes such as “The Holiness of Family and Marriage,” “The Call to Chastity,” “The Beauty and Happiness of a Chaste Life,” “The Imitation of Christ in Family Life,” and “Expiation for the Sins Against Family and Marriage.”
Perhaps most fundamental of all, we should pray fervently that God may give to His Church holy bishops and holy popes. Such a prayer should be prayed especially by children, because the prayer of the innocent ones penetrates heaven like no other.
Bishop Athanasius (Anton) Schneider is the author of two books: Dominus Est – It is the Lord!, and Propter Sanctam Ecclesiam Suam (not yet available in English.)
He was born of German parents on 7 April 1961 in Tokmok, Kirghiz SSR in the Soviet Union, where his family received the pastoral care of Fr. Oleksa Zaryckyj, later to become a beatified martyr for the faith. Bishop Schneider himself received his first holy communion in secret, since the practice of the faith was outlawed under the communist regime. In 1973, he left with his family for Germany.
He later joined the Canons Regular of the Holy Cross of Coimbra, a Catholic religious order, where he was given the religious name Athanasius. He was ordained a priest on 25 March 1990. In 1997, he received a doctorate in patrology at the Augustinianum in Rome; and in 1999, he became a professor of Patristics at Mary, Mother of the Church Seminary in Karaganda.
In June 2006, he was consecrated Bishop at the Altar of the Chair of Saint Peter in the Vatican. He was then assigned to the position of auxiliary bishop in the Archdiocese of Astana. He is the General Secretary of the Bishops’ Conference of Kazakhstan and Titular Bishop of Celerina, Switzerland.
How clear and concise! I feel as I read his words, as feel when I read the works of the saints.
The words make me calm yet steadfast.
And if your Bishop does not respond to one’s repeated calls seeking clarification as to whether or not he succors Communion for adulterers?
Keep calling like IANS does.
O, and don’t give a dime to the Diocesan Appeal until his Excellency responds
Brilliant! (as the ads for Guinness beer used to say). Especially, the bishop’s encouragement on the efficacy of children’s prayers. St. Jean-Marie Vianney, I believe, said that one “Ave” sincerely invoked by one child can work miracles.
If any readers are in the Washington DC area, Bishop Schneider will be speaking this Saturday. For details, see http://restore-dc-catholicism.blogspot.com/2015/02/bishop-athanasius-schneider-to-speak-in.html
Wish I were in the DC area….but sadly, not. I LOVE Bishop Schneider! One of the voices crying out in the ‘wilderness’. I will save this article for future reference, clear direction for the faithful that find ourselves in this cesspool. A gift from God he is!
The message is clear – do not run and hide. Get out and preach.
In addition to “Principalities and powers”, Epehsians 6 says we are also contending with the “world rulers of this present darkness and spiritual forces of evil in high places”. Think about this: it may be sinful to donate money to a parish or diocese that accepts or advocates for schism or heresy or altering Christ’s teaching on the sinfulness of the illicitly remarried receiving the sacraments or openly welcoming practicing sinners [no matter how much this might increase the billions of tax money already received by the hierarchy in Germany}; much like it would have been sinful in the 3rd and 4th century to support heretical Arian bishops and priests-referred to by St Athanasius as “ariomaniacs.” Today we have kasperomaniacs to deal with; but not us alone-Truth is on our side-and yes, that is with an upper case capital “T.” Guy McClung, San Antonio, Texas
ps:: words in Col. Wm Barret Travis’s letter from the Alamo [a Catholic church] in 1836: ” I will never surrender or retreat…victory or death.”
“To address the errors currently being spread, true Catholic husbands, families and single persons must write to the pope, to the their bishops, and to the competent dicasteries of the Roman Curia, notifying them of heretical, semi-heretical, or Gnostic pronouncements of ecclesiastical persons or events with such an agenda which are being promoted though ecclesiastical persons or groups.” -Bishop Schneider
Really??? What kind of Church can rely on it’s laypeople to inform the leadership of “heretical, semi-heretical, or Gnostic pronouncements” from the clerics? So from now on if I hear some priest or bishop give a sermon I’M THE ONE that needs to evalute it’s orthodoxy and inform the higher ups? If the priests and bishops can’t police this stuff, how am I supposed to? How much arrogance would I have to have, to presume to call a priest or bishop a ‘Gnostic’ or ‘heretic’? This might be well intentioned but it only shows that the leadership is in complete disaray.
When the generals start asking the privates to tattle on the captains regarding strategic or tactical blunders, the war will soon be lost.
Welcome to the real crisis. A bishop alone can’t do it. I met Bishop Schneider for the first time yesterday. I thanked him for his clear guidance when there seems to be so little. He immediately responded that it is the faith and holiness of the the laity now that needs to serve as inspiration and reform for the Church. He said that the priests and bishops will draw their strength from us.
We’re rotten from the highest echelons down. Time for a holiness revolution.
God help us. The Church has always had to battle Gnosticism and heresy, but I don’t think it has ever been so bad that the shepherds had to appeal to the sheep for help.
Unfortunately, the only messages I can send to the higher ups are along the lines of, “Mary, please tell your Son to hurry.”
LOL…..I say that a LOT! ‘Mary, please ask Jesus to HURRY!’ I think we first need to unite with Catholic laity that recognizes the crisis. As the good Bishop said, form ‘family’ groups to pray together and charitably ask our Prelates to stand for Truth. But trust me, this will not be easy. We will be (at first) made light of, even maligned for our faithfulness. This is not a battle between flesh and blood, but between principalities and powers. PUT ON YOUR ARMOR PEOPLE!!
I’m thinking of all the people I know or see online who are absolutely sure they know everything there is to know, and who run around trying to correct others. Then I imagine all those people shooting off letters and phone calls to Church leadership. All the people who think Pope Francis is going off the deep end whenever he talks about compassion or helping the less fortunate, all the people who seem really afraid of the Gospel message but who can quote the catechism, all the good folks who are just honestly confused… and then all the regular folks who do their best, but wouldn’t presume to correct a priest. Yeah, I don’t think asking laypeople to act as religious infiltrators reporting back to the higher ups is a good idea. .
Bishop Schneider is not the only bishop asking for help:
I understand what you’re saying, and I don’t refute it now, or in my earlier comment. I don’t really see, though, how it addresses the problems inherent in asking the rank and file–who are not all equally knowledgeable– to report on priests and bishops.
I think there’s a lot of noise on the Internet, but from what I know of my fellow parishioners, they complain about specific things that they have knowledge of. Writing a letter is not as easy as writing a blog comment. I trust the laity—who of course are not of one opinion. The greater problem, if what Archbishop Lenga says is true, is who to write to.
Cardinal Kasper wants Catholics to get involved.
“One can’t just lean back and say ‘let’s wait and see what the pope does.’ We ourselves must venture out of our starting blocks.” Kasper wrote.
Francis’ theological spokesman Walter Kasper publishes new book on pope. Ignore the title of the article.
I fully agree. But there is reason to hope. Saints have come from every rank in every age. We could sure use some now.
YEAH! Just the other day I heard some non-sense about ‘climate justice’ that was so Gnosto-heretical it made me want to complain to the highest authorities…now where did I hear that from again?…oh yeah…..the pope.
This exhortation of Bishop Schneider is also our inspiration
Thank you 1Peter5 for soliciting it and publishing it. We have republished it in French, Italian, and Spanish, and given you links. I also found it in Croatian at
We will work to get it out in Polish, German, Portuguese and Romanian, for the good of the whole Church…
Keep up the great work, I know that if Fr. Kocik is with you, it must be good…
Thank you, Fra Bugnolo. And thank you for taking up Bishop Schneider’s call!
Wow! What a shot in the arm! The best summary of the ‘New Evangelization’ yet! So simple and real.
What if your family is a faithful Catholic family, but has been completely ostracized by their fellow parishioners, friends, & family because God is using you as a scapegoat? We have been completely crushed & annihilated by the unprecedented number of crosses God has dumped on us! Since 2007, we’ve been totally ostracized by fellow Catholics who seem to think we’re either contagious or some kind of “hidden, horrific sinners” & they need to stay as far away from us as they can get! Where do we go for support during this terrible time?