Saturday, January 25, 2014

Bishop Athanasius Schneider - ITV's "Top Ten" of 2013

Bishop Athanasius Schneider, ORC is in the news at Inside the Vatican Magazine online. He is being honored as one of the "Top Ten" people of 2013.  Here is the opener:

Athanasius Schneider – Auxiliary Bishop of the Archdiocese of Mary Most Holy in Astana, Kazakhstan 
“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….
Continue reading on Bishop Schneider at Inside the Vatican

Bishop Schneider communicates in over a half-dozen languages, which gave him access to more writings on the early Church and the Eucharist.  He is a patristics scholar.

While I love what he teaches about the Eucharist and agree with him on the need for a syllabus to clear up confusion over Vatican II, I have always been intrigued with his meekness.  It is a virtue that is not well understood today where we communicate our likes, dislikes, preferences and other things, often in an "edgy" way.  This is popular today in reporting.  Bishop Scheider can speak to people about delicate subjects (aka "hot-button topics")  in a way that invites reflection, especially among the non-choir members.  Meekness does that.  It tempers anger in the one who is meek and when he presents a controversial subject, that absence of anger allows people to drop their defenses and simply listen.

That is one of the reasons I'm always talking about *how* we communicate and the importance of not divorcing virtue from our online discussions.  Bishop Schneider gets that and I believe, in time, Bishop Schneider will win more hearts with reason as he appeals to intellect of others in a gentle and loving way. Some might still disagree with him after hearing him, but they know they can continue the discussion later because he doesn't proceed with condescension. He is also very patient and knows it takes time to penetrate hearts.  I have seen people reject his arguments one year, only to be quoting him years later on the subject of receiving Communion kneeling and one the tongue.

Pray for his efforts and for all who listen to him.

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The obedient are not held captive by Holy Mother Church;
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