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Words of Encouragement From Our Contemporary Athanasius


Regular readers are no doubt aware of the fondness I have for Bishop Athanasius Schneider of Astana, Kazakhstan. While it is true that other bishops and cardinals are even now defending Our Lord’s truth, Bishop Schneider is, like his namesake saint, a uniquely strong voice crying out among the bishops of the world addressing clearly, courageously, and unequivocally the crisis in the Church. While he has become well-known for his critiques of the Synod and those bringing an anti-Catholic agenda to it, he had already established a reputation as a defender of the Most Holy Eucharist and one of the Church’s bright lights on liturgy and doctrinal clarity.

Near the end of last month, I wrote to Bishop Schneider to ask for his counsel. I was feeling the burden of what we do here at 1P5, and the discouragement I was hearing from people in private correspondence, as well as my own frustration. I said:

I am absolutely astonished at what his happening in the open in the Church right now. Bishops who openly contradict Catholic teaching. Scandals like an openly homosexual celebrity doing a reading at the Papal Mass. The list of papal appointees to the Synod is terrifying. So much confusion and deception.

Many are looking to me and to the work we do for encouragement. I have told them to remember Christ asleep in the boat during the storm. Where shall we look for support, for leadership, when so few bishops seem interested in standing for the teachings of Our Lord?

We are praying for you. Please also pray for us. I fear that many are losing their faith that the Church is truly indefectible, and is the only True Faith and path to eternal salvation.

His response, as has been the case every other time I’ve interacted with him, was beautiful and encouraging. I present it to you exactly as he wrote it so as not to alter it in any way:
Dear Mr. Steve Skojec, thank you for your greetings. In deed the crisis of the faith inside the Church is reaching its heights. This is a special time, which the inscrutable wisdom of God permits to purify and to strengthen our faith. God is using in this time the little one in the Church, the pure faith mostly of the lay faithful to keep the faith intact and to hand it over to the next generations. It is an honour that we can be witnesses and defenders of our dear Catholic faith not only against the enemies outside but also in the face of the traitors inside the Church, even when these traitors are bishops or cardinals. The Church is always in the hand of our Lord, even in our dark days. I think that God permits that the evil inside the Church must grow and reveal itself in all its wickedness and then God will intervene and make shine the truth and the beauty if the faith, of the liturgy and of the moral life anew. As saint Paul said: when there increased the evil, the grace increased still more. Be confident and be proud and joyful because of our Catholic faith. God bless you. Yours in Christ + Athanasius Schneider
I have already quoted this message elsewhere, inasmuch as he returns continuously to the theme that it has fallen to us, the lay faithful, to defend Catholicism from the enemies within. And it truly is an honor to take up the standard.
But another point he makes here is, perhaps, of even greater importance: “I think that God permits that the evil inside the Church must grow and reveal itself in all its wickedness and then God will intervene and make shine the truth and the beauty [of] the faith, of the liturgy and of the moral life anew.”
Many of us are fearful, because of what we see coming. But what if this is what God wants? What if He is allowing this Synod to come to its fruition in perverse distortions of doctrine or praxis so that it may become clear who Our Lord’s enemies are, and how He will confound them? I have had this thought in my mind for some time, but Bishop Schneider’s letter confirms it. I have found it beneficial to no longer pray specifically that the Synod preserve the doctrine on marriage, but instead that God’s will be done with the Synod. If He wants preservation of doctrine through this body, so be it. If He wants schism or heresy or apostasy so that the cancer may be excised from the Church, so be it.
I want what He wants, and only that.
I recently wrote about Christ asleep in the boat, and referenced it in my correspondence above. This is the closest biblical analogy I see to our present situation. Why was Christ unconcerned with the storm? Were the apostles just being wimps? Of course not. These were career fishermen. They knew the ocean better than anyone. They knew when to worry about the weather. That storm must have been truly terrifying.
But with a word, the winds and the seas obeyed Him. He was testing the apostles. He wanted them to have faith. He wanted them to prove that they loved Him and trusted Him, even if they didn’t fully understand the magnitude of having the Creator of the Universe in their midst. And it was a teaching moment. He was showing them in a way that they would never forget that He has power over and above all things – the sort of power that can overcome death on a cross. The same power that guarantees the gates of hell will never prevail against His Church.
We have a unique opportunity. We have a front-row seat to the kind of event that most of us have only ever read about in history books or the lives of the saints. Vatican II is said to have ushered in “the age of the laity” – it appears it couldn’t have come at a better time. It has fallen to us to safeguard the faith, and to defend our Holy Mother Church, “not only against the enemies outside but also in the face of the traitors inside … even when these traitors are bishops are cardinals.”
Deus vult!

48 thoughts on “Words of Encouragement From Our Contemporary Athanasius”

  1. We may be right in thinking this awful Synod is the pinnacle, but negative nelly that I am,I fear we are going to slide into more darkness. What you, and Bishop Schneider, say is correct, of course. God will only allow this darkness to get so dark – then He will intervene. Our Lady has been telling us this for a long, long time. And the good will suffer along with the evil. Thanks for that reminder, Steve, that our prayer should be for HIS Holy Will to be done – whatever it may be.

    • “I think that God permits that the evil inside the Church must grow and reveal itself in all its wickedness and then God will.” And this fortuitous forcing of the dark side’s hand would not have been possible had Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI not suddenly resigned.

      Bishop Schneider’s observation reminds me (if I may be forgiven a base comparison) of a line Sonny Crockett (Miami Vice – ‘The Prodigal Son) once growled at a corrupt banker:

      “But you’re dirty, Ace, and I’m patient.”

  2. Maybe. But maybe you should also look at the entirety of the 7 deadly sins and ask yourself who Our Lord was referring to in Matthew 7:22.

  3. These betrayals, scandals are for each one of us specifically. We could have been born in any age but God is trusting us to trust him though this present tumult. Calvary was chaos. Evil was totally unmasked. It was defeated. We get the hierarchy we deserve. Charamsa was a gift to us, totally unmasking the ultimate objective through his ‘gay’ manifesto. Catechism changes. That’s their ultimate objective. Jesus will not abandon his Church. Mary didn’t abandon it. We musn’t let Jesus down by worrying. He is Christ the King and, as Fr Oko said in his 2012 essay, atheistic ideologies always devour themselves. This gay push for changes to the catechism will as well.

  4. Very encouraging words from H.E. Schneider. It is all too very easy to bemoan the events leading up to and surrounding this Synod, but we should always hearken back to the promise of Our Lady, “In the end, my Immaculate Heart will triumph.” Pray, pray, pray! He will not abandon his Church.

  5. I have had rather some of the same thoughts. We must cling to Christ. Sadly, many of us are as sheep without a shepherd. I just listened to a talk from Randy Engel detailing the sodomite infiltration of the Church to the high levels. Combine that with freemasonry and what is happening becomes more clear. Corruption has been massive in the past 50 years. Think of what has been lost. I have no confidence in almost all of the leaders in the Church, even to high places. We have lost hundreds of thousands of priests and religious. Many Catholic schools are gone and too many of those left are Catholic in name only. Many ‘catholic’ universities, especially those Jesuit run, are destroying faith. Many parishes have closed. Generations of untaught Catholics with millions leaving the Church. The stealing of our liturgy and giving us a protestanized liturgy. The sacred, beautiful, and true often missing. Our musical heritage gone with banal and even heretical songs replacing it.
    I want our Mass of the ages back. I want my heritage. I want true teaching by those unashamed to preach it. It is asking a lot now, isn’t it? It means persecution for such pastors.

      • Unfortunately, the SSPX are not world wide by any means and have to depend on the goodwill of Bishops to give them faculties for them to carry out their ministry. If there is a schism they may well get those faculties in a renewed CC but we have to be careful not to cede from the See of Peter. The Orthodox Cardinals & Bishops are truly needed now as indeed the SSPX and other traditional orders. The fact that Archbishop Lefebvre ordained Bishops so that the continuance of the line from the Apostles would be upheld for future generations may very well be a spiritual life saver. The fact that he has been demonised by those who took over the CC since Vatican II also shows how Satan has infiltrated Christ’s Church on earth.

        • …are you confusing the SSPX with the FSSP? The Society has her own bishops. There is no ceding from the Chair of Peter in acting out of necessity to uphold and transmit the Faith.

          • I didn’t mean to imply that the SSPX did cede, in fact the opposite, but if there is now to be another schism they and the Orthodox Cardinals, Bishops & all traditional priestly orders must pull together and forget any political wrangling of the past in order to fight the good fight for keeping Christ’s Church on earth intact. Heretical prelates must be ousted in toto and this may take time, but patience and prayer go together. The scandals that have already taken place in the Vatican & Assisi must never be repeated, so it is very necessary that the Chair of Peter stays where it is and the heretics move out – to Germany where they come from and where the REAL money is.

          • I agree with what you’re saying, Ana, but in that same sense, the Society won’t be dependent upon the largess of diocesan bishops. Rather diocesan bishops will be dependent upon the largess of the Society.

            That is not meant to be a prideful statement either as when one is bleeding out, it is logical to ask bandages from the one with the stockpile. Then again, it is that selfsame charity that has seen the Society move into diocese wherein the sheep have asked for aid.

          • I have been asking for such aid for a very long time from our Bishop, the Nuncio and even PF. I haven’t had a response from any of them. I have been in contact via email with the SSPX (via a personal favour by another poster) but they have given me no hope and I believe it to be that our Bishop won’t allow them, although they didn’t state so. I understand from my contact there (who has since been posted to Poland) that all they do is motor around Portugal and Spain saying Holy Mass (where allowed) but I think their ministry stops there, e.g. no schools, churches as such. We badly need evangelisation in Andalucia as at least two generations haven’t been catechised. I do so hope that God will see a way to give them the faculties they need for carrying out such an evangelisation in our part of the world.

          • Ana Milan, you will be in my prayers in the hope that the Society may, some day, move into your area. I don’t believe the obstacle is your Bishop. Goodness knows there are bishops aplenty in the United States who are entirely hostile to the Society operating in their area. The same is true in other countries.

            But there is an obstacle it seems – perhaps a government restriction.

            In the state of Oregon, thanks to a nasty cult back in the ’80s, a restriction was imposed on the entire state that precluded the establishment of any new religious institution. It’s a long story. To make the story shorter, the Society invited the nuns to come and be a part of the already established school so as to avoid the state contention that would have mounted in establishing a new convent.

            This could be the situation in Spain and Portugal? Not sure. If I find out anything, I’ll try to contact you.

    • Indeed and what you say is entirely accurate. The very fibre of this Church – it’s schools, it’s hospitals, it’s faithful clergy, it’s faithful laity – are under direct attack now. It is happening right now. Everything that we know can disappear in this maelstrom.

      These attacks are the waves on the sea of Galilee hitting against the bow side and port side of our boat. If we focus our senses upon those waves, how long can we resist? Not long, I suspect.

      We need to shut out the noise of those waves and instead we need to focus and listen to the whisper in the very core of our being. What whisper is that? It is the whisper which says “Have faith. Follow Me” When everything is lost and when our senses are overwhelmed completely, it is then with the grace of God that we will find the faith to sustain us.

      Pray hard that we will have the fortitude and the faith to resist.

  6. Thank you for sharing that! It’s so crucial during this time to hear these words from the clergy, & with such a name! I love Bishop Athanasius Schneider. I would love to meet him someday.

    Like you said & I only realize it fully hearing it from someone else, that we are leaving in the time we have grown up reading & listening about in history books & taught about, the trying times in history & the saints who lived in it. As a Catholic & history major, this blows my mind. I am amazed still, “excited” to know I am in crucial parts in history, pray to Our Lord for strength since we have been chosen to live these times & hope I please Him in some way but I don’t know how, but a large portion is just being scared out of my mind. lol These past few months have been nothing but trials (& I know it will only get worse).

    In my senior year of high school (07-08), I created a Catholic story about the end times since it had fascinated me, & I continued to play around with it developing the story & characters…But for the past two years I have slowly dropped it & now have completely since I honestly can’t find enjoyment in it anymore…because I now realize I may very well being living in it. LOL…

  7. We’re living in extraordinary times!

    The very existence of what you and I, and every other Catholic hold to be precious and true is being tested now like never before.

    The very pillars of the church are being bombarded. The very foundations of Catholicism are being rocked.

    What we see and hear and read, our senses interpret all of that as confusion, disorientation and

    reality being turned on it’s head.

    Satan and his agents will goad us and try to provoke us with ridicule, abuse and temptation.

    He will try to convince us that “resistance is futile because I am the prince of this world”

    As this maelstrom takes hold our senses will scream that we should comply with what our senses see, hear and read.

    Like the apostles on the boat in the sea of Galilee, we will be racked by fear, racked by temptation, racked by the need to do whatever it takes just to make the persecution stop.

    In that moment of desolation and utter despair, when our faith is stretched to breaking point, we need to remember to reach inside ourselves and we need to listen to Jesus words.
    “Why are you fearful, O ye of little faith?”

    Pray that God will confer each of us with the strength and fortitude to heed His command to
    “follow Me”

  8. Do others here find themselves involuntarily reading between the lines of what Pope Francis says now? I read his message at the opening of the Synod and, until near the end, it seemed encouraging. Then he made reference to the “field hospital” and I began to get nervous. My alarm grew when I read “The Church must search out these persons, welcome and accompany them, for a Church with closed doors betrays herself and her mission, and, instead of being a bridge, becomes a roadblock: “For he who sanctifies and those who are sanctified have all one origin. That is why he is not ashamed to call them brethren” (Heb 2:11).” Nothing here should make me nervous, but I’ve learned to be leery about the words of this Pope of Surprises.

    • The greatest mistake seems post-VII era seems to be that people do not seem to understand that welcoming and accompanying someone does not in general lead to conversion. Essentially, those who think that accompanying and welcoming sinners lead to conversion are spitting on the face of those who advised that the opposite was the general cure (like St. Paul to the Corinthians (1 Cor 5), or St. John (2 John) in his letters, and even Christ himself in the gospel of Mathew “And if he will not hear the church, let him be to thee as the heathen and the publican.”, and countless saints).

      So apparently we know better than all of them. We want to accompany and make grave sinners feel comfortable. That is now to be considered charitable when it is the worst thing you can do to such a person.

      What is ironic is that even the secular world knows the false nature of this principle of trying to welcome those who do grave sins. This is why those who commit what the secular world considers as grave offenses are put in jail, separated from the community, or punished with fines etc. The only reason why they attack the church as unwelcoming is because they do not think that divorce/ remarriage/ sodomy/ abortion/ fornication are grave offenses.

  9. You said: I have found it beneficial to no longer pray specifically that the Synod preserve the doctrine on marriage, but instead that God’s will be done with the Synod. If He wants preservation of doctrine through this body, so be it. If He wants schism or heresy or apostasy so that the cancer may be excised from the Church, so be it.

    I am not sure it is wrong to ask for the good. Because I would think that whichever choice God may choose to permit, he definitely wills that we as Catholics would pray for the good. If the bad were to happen, then we should accept it as God permitting that evil. But till then, I think we must pray for the good outcome i.e. that doctrine of marriage be preserved.

    At the end of the day, God does not want schism, heresy or apostasy. It is the devil and the people fooled by him that wants those evils. So as far as we are concerned, I think we must pray for the good outcome while being assured that if the evil outcome were permitted, then God will bring about good.

    • “according to what you say, intercessory prayer feels useless and wrong.”

      No, that’s not what I’m saying. I’m saying that instead of projecting what *I* want for the Synod in my intentions, I’m submitting my will to God’s and praying that His will be done.

      • But isn’t the main reason why one wishes a certain good of this sort (i.e. preservation of doctrine) because it is indeed what God has taught he would WILL if not for the evil wills of other beings he has created free?

      • So after some thought, I think I might be able to better articulate what I am finding a bit uncomfortable in regards to the comment.

        To me, what you suggest, feels like a form of fatalism. It seems to implicitly base itself on the idea that God has already fixed his mind and he is going to permit this evil no matter what (or not permit it, no matter what). But if we believe in the efficacy of intercessory prayer (which as Catholics, we do), then we must consider the possibility that praying to God to not allow this evil may in fact lead God to “change his mind” in regards to permitting this calamity. Also, since we do not know God’s will in regards to this matter, it may well very well be that God has put us in this situation so that we will humbly turn to him in prayer and ask that He have mercy on us!

        I would perhaps add that we can potentially “change” God’s mind through prayer and supplications this way since the act under consideration (undermining doctrine) is something God in his providence allows conditioned on the free-will of human beings rather than before it.

        • I agree, because we have as our examples the apostles in the boat with Jesus who did, in fact, wake Our Lord Jesus, and beg Him to save them and ask how He could be sleeping. If we follow their example, we should beg Christ to save His Church from the current storm.

  10. I was fortunate to attend a Mass offered by +Schneider this year, and he is a wonderful bishop, holy and self-effacing. You can tell by his bearing that Christ is the center, the pivot, of his life, and of the world. We must pray, sacrifice, and not lose hope.

    Don’t look at the waves. Look at Him.

  11. I wonder if Archbishop Schneider would say that those married invalidly by the SSPX are living in sin and sacrilegiously receiving communion. For some reason, I have my doubts. Double standards and all.

    • Beyond being unprovoked, this insinuation is foolish unless Bishop Schneider told you this personally, something about which I have MY doubts. So, till you can offer some evidence beyond your suppositions, it’s probably best you stow your snarky talk about double standards.

      • That’s why I wrote “I wonder”. But seriously, is there anyone outside of maybe CMTV that think the faithful who have been married by an SSPX priest are really “living in sin” and receiving communion sacrilegiously just because their marriages aren’t recognized as valid by the Catholic Church?

        • Personally, I wouldn’t have anything to do with the SSPX, and I don’t know the answer to your question. But the clear insinuation of your original question was that Bishop Schneider would use a double standard. That’s something you could not know and therefore the implied allegation was/is reckless.

        • Isn’t sacramental marriage primarily a consent to contract, between two, Catholic adults (man and woman only, of course) wherein the church and family, friends are witnesses? Even the SSPX has apostolic succession, even if you believe them to be in schism? (and no, please, I do not wish to debate the SSPX here.)

  12. Steve, your reflections are truly a blessing. I’m so grateful you’ve made a strong connection with Bishop Schneider. You have a penchant for drilling down to the depths of situations and you’ve nailed it: when our best efforts to right the ship seem futile, we cry out to the Lord. And it’s true, He requires our faith in Him. And He will give us this faith:

    “[23] Truly, I say to you, whoever says to this mountain, `Be taken up and cast into the sea,’ and does not doubt in his heart, but believes that what he says will come to pass, it will be done for him.
    “[24] Therefore I tell you, whatever you ask in prayer, believe that you have received it, and it will be yours.” – Mark 11:2-24

  13. The image of Christ asleep in the boat is most apt. He is most certainly willing this chastisement (and certainly has been since before the Council, as well as the Chastisement to come) for the glory of His Name & His Church, and the edification & salvation of the faithful. Now is the time to be proved saints! Now is the time to prove if we really trust our risen Savior (and His most Holy Mother)!

  14. Apocalypse is revelation. Evil thrives on darkness, deceit and lies. Error must be given a body before it is seen and eliminated. It is a painful process, but many Judases within the Church have already been unmasked. Vampires disintegrate in the Light.

  15. Excellent Steve. Appropriate quote below
    Douay-Rheims Bible Romans 8:28
    “And we know that to them that love God, all things work together unto good,
    to such as, according to his purpose, are called to be saints.”

  16. Wow, Steve, this is probably the best post I have seen in a while. A WONDERFUL reminder to relax, the Lord God indeed has our back. Our job is to keep on keeping on, and stay IN THE BOAT! Pray and witness to the best of our ability, and He will take care of the rest. I like you have decided that for whatever reason (and sometimes it is now ours to know) He is allowing all the filth to come to the top for all to see.

  17. I have already quoted this message elsewhere, inasmuch as he returns continuously to the theme that it has fallen to us, the lay faithful, to defend Catholicism from the enemies within. And it truly is an honor to take up the standard.

    Okay, yes the laity has to be there, but let’s not forget that there are a lot of cardinals and bishops who are defending the Faith once delivered to the saints. For all the understandable disappointment with the American hierarchy, I’ll take our guys over the European bishops any day of the week. Africa is also stepping up. To Bp. Scheider’s point, this is an opportunity for great grace rather than despair.

    There’s a lot of bleakness to the coverage of this synod, a kind of fatalism at work. It may very well be that everyone who feels this way will be proven wrong. We could get a flushing out of the heretics into the open and a full refutation of their errors. If anything, the synod has already revealed that there’s a lot of lavender mafia machinations going on to a much wider audience. What was once rumor and speculation has come out in the open with the public apostasy of the Polish prelate. Adds a more positive sense to “coming out of the closet” wouldn’t you say?

  18. I thought these two were quite appropriate…
    From today’s TLM: “Blessed is that servant whom his master, when he
    comes, shall find watching. Amen I say to you, he will set him over all
    his goods.” Mt 24:46-47
    From today’s N.O.: “Martha, Martha, you are anxious and worried about many things.
    There is need of only one thing. Mary has chosen the better part and it will not be taken from her.” Lk 10:41-42

  19. Man makes plans and God laughs. Nothing Good or Evil gets passed our Lord without Him knowing of it!
    We must be like little children and humbly go before our Lord. We must continue to pray our Rosaries and trust in our Lord’s Mother Mary. Mary held together the apostles after our Lord was placed in His tomb and especially when He ascended to the Father.
    How much more will Mary be with us!


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