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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.

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.”


I don't know.  I hate bad liturgy as much as the next person on here, and I believe that the Church ought to lead the way in the pro-life movement, but to me this seems like odd. 

I don't like the false dichotomy in the Church where Catholic groups are either into traddy liturgies & Marching for Life OR they can help run soup kitchens and care for the poor.  Here in New York City, the more liberal churches run the food pantries and the more traditional churches have beautiful liturgies and no apostalates.  Why not both?  I don't understand why this is so hard. 

Indeed God Himself became the "poorest of the poor" for us, but it doesn't excuse us from the corporal works of mercy.

He will be a cardinal some day soon.  And I honestly would not be surprised if he also became Pope.
(01-27-2014, 02:29 PM)Chestertonian Wrote: [ -> ]Indeed God Himself became the "poorest of the poor" for us, but it doesn't excuse us from the corporal works of mercy.


I agree that it is strange that these lines sometimes enter in.  While I am an active pro-life advocate and spend time in adoration, I also have worked soup kitchens and presently visit the homebound and elderly as well as facilitate religious programs.  I do not see any area of the spiritual or corporal works of mercy off limits to anyone; we are all called to them to the best of our inspirations and ability in accord with the duties of our state in life.
(01-27-2014, 02:29 PM)Chestertonian Wrote: [ -> ]I don't know.  I hate bad liturgy as much as the next person on here, and I believe that the Church ought to lead the way in the pro-life movement, but to me this seems like odd. 

I don't like the false dichotomy in the Church where Catholic groups are either into traddy liturgies & Marching for Life OR they can help run soup kitchens and care for the poor.  Here in New York City, the more liberal churches run the food pantries and the more traditional churches have beautiful liturgies and no apostalates.  Why not both?  I don't understand why this is so hard. 

Indeed God Himself became the "poorest of the poor" for us, but it doesn't excuse us from the corporal works of mercy.

I couldn't agree with you more. It's this damn dichotomy that's got me so upset I can't even look at a Catholic newspaper or turn on EWTN anymore. You asked the million dollar question: Why not both? Our Lord made no enemies between the material and the spiritual, the temporal and the eternal. They are connected. As for life issues, I don't like to use the term "seamless garment" because it has negative connotations because of who said it.. But if we can forget who said it, and just listen to the sense of it. Between birth and death there's a lot of neglected and persecuted people. And when the Pope lumps all the marginalized into one sentence (the poor, the sick, the unborn, the immigrant, etc) the pro-lifers get upset, because they believe the unborn should stand apart from the rest. Of course it's the biggest fight we have going today, but what if Roe v Wade were overturned tomorrow? We would still have all the other nations of the world to battle. We would still have birth control to battle. The reproduction wars will never, ever end. Let's get on with the business of preaching the whole Gospel and putting the whole Gospel into action. We would look like a very different church if we did.
The dichotomy was the first thing I noticed on return. And speaking to either side is like hitting your head against a brick wall. It seems the Church like everything else has been politicized. Worse don't use reason against the cons, they flip, and don't tell a lib it doesn't mean zilch unless in a state of grace.

tim
(01-27-2014, 03:10 PM)Tim Wrote: [ -> ]It seems the Church like everything else has been politicized.

It has. And it's suffocating.
(01-27-2014, 02:59 PM)StrictCatholicGirl Wrote: [ -> ]
(01-27-2014, 02:29 PM)Chestertonian Wrote: [ -> ]I don't know.  I hate bad liturgy as much as the next person on here, and I believe that the Church ought to lead the way in the pro-life movement, but to me this seems like odd. 

I don't like the false dichotomy in the Church where Catholic groups are either into traddy liturgies & Marching for Life OR they can help run soup kitchens and care for the poor.  Here in New York City, the more liberal churches run the food pantries and the more traditional churches have beautiful liturgies and no apostalates.  Why not both?  I don't understand why this is so hard. 

Indeed God Himself became the "poorest of the poor" for us, but it doesn't excuse us from the corporal works of mercy.

I couldn't agree with you more. It's this damn dichotomy that's got me so upset I can't even look at a Catholic newspaper or turn on EWTN anymore. You asked the million dollar question: Why not both? Our Lord made no enemies between the material and the spiritual, the temporal and the eternal. They are connected. As for life issues, I don't like to use the term "seamless garment" because it has negative connotations because of who said it.. But if we can forget who said it, and just listen to the sense of it. Between birth and death there's a lot of neglected and persecuted people. And when the Pope lumps all the marginalized into one sentence (the poor, the sick, the unborn, the immigrant, etc) the pro-lifers get upset, because they believe the unborn should stand apart from the rest. Of course it's the biggest fight we have going today, but what if Roe v Wade were overturned tomorrow? We would still have all the other nations of the world to battle. We would still have birth control to battle. The reproduction wars will never, ever end. Let's get on with the business of preaching the whole Gospel and putting the whole Gospel into action. We would look like a very different church if we did.

:amen:
(01-27-2014, 02:29 PM)Chestertonian Wrote: [ -> ]I don't know.  I hate bad liturgy as much as the next person on here, and I believe that the Church ought to lead the way in the pro-life movement, but to me this seems like odd. 

I don't like the false dichotomy in the Church where Catholic groups are either into traddy liturgies & Marching for Life OR they can help run soup kitchens and care for the poor.  Here in New York City, the more liberal churches run the food pantries and the more traditional churches have beautiful liturgies and no apostalates.  Why not both?  I don't understand why this is so hard. 

Indeed God Himself became the "poorest of the poor" for us, but it doesn't excuse us from the corporal works of mercy.
I agree. But that is something we Trads have to fix as certainly we won't get the modernists to have good liturgy.

Perhaps that is also one of the reasons the Franciscans of the Immaculate get attacked so badly. They were the living proof of the falsehood of that dichotomy. And some people would rather keep the dichotomy in order to easier dismiss the Trads.
(01-27-2014, 02:31 PM)Prie dieu Wrote: [ -> ]He will be a cardinal some day soon.  And I honestly would not be surprised if he also became Pope.
He will never be anything else than an Auxiliary Bishop in Kazhakstan, of that I'm sure.
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