Tuesday, 2 February 2016

The Schneider Interview

First Pro Season:  2006-7
If Catholics who love the Traditional Latin Mass collected hockey cards with bishops' faces on them, a Right Reverend Athanasius Schneider card would be hugely popular.

(Incidentally, has anyone thought of this yet? Hockey cards for all bishops and cardinals? The divisions in the episcopate must now be so obvious that they could even be divided into teams. The collecting frenzy might become such that we lay aside our own personal likes and dislikes, SSPXers swapping a Fellay for a Marx because they have three Fellays already, America readers eagerly trading excess Cupiches for Sarahs, old Weaklands carefully wrapped in tissue paper instead of burned at twig-stakes, etc. )

The McLeans were once in a very small car with a convert, both to Catholicism and to Tradition (as even FSSP-backing Traddies often say--so naughty), who could talk for Scotland, and all the way home from some rural Mass or other he went on and on, drawing breath only when he said, in tones of great awe, "And WOULD YOU BELIEVE IT? [Dramatic pause.] It was BISH-op SCHNEI-der!"

"Goodness me," said Mrs M, who had never heard of Bishop Schneider in all her life.

It turns out that the Rt. Rev. Athanasius Schneider loves the sacred doctrines and ancient traditions of the Church and speaks up for them all whenever they are threatened. As cynics observe, if you are already stationed in Kazakhstan, there's not much further they can send you. And he's only 54--gracious. Ad multos annos!

The tradition-loving end of the Catholic blogosphere is all a-twitter about the recent Rorate Caeli interview with Bishop Schneider, so here is a link for those of you who otherwise do not frequent the ol' scandal-sheet. He makes the screamingly obvious objection to men ritually washing women's feet, but even more importantly, there is this gem of plain-speaking:

"The very crisis of the Church in our days consists in the ever growing phenomenon that those who don’t fully believe and profess the integrity of the Catholic faith frequently occupy strategic positions in the life of the Church, such as professors of theology, educators in seminaries, religious superiors, parish priests and even bishops and cardinals. And these people with their defective faith profess themselves as being submitted to the Pope. "--Athanasius Schneider.

Update: Happy Candlemas! If you don't take down the last of your Christmas decorations today, the boggarts (or bogles) will break your furniture. The origins of this belief are mysterious, but it may have something to do with February 2 also being Imbolc, the Celtic pagan first day of spring. Not to give  much credence to the Auld Auld Kirk, but it makes sense that  Candlemas should mark the beginning of Scottish spring, given the pretty snowdrops and hint of crocuses to come.  


  1. Hmmmm, interesting interview, for sure. Though perhaps with your theological education, could you help me understand this, please?

    "... these Catholic priests and faithful of the SSPX as a gift for the Church in our days – even as one of the several instruments which the Divine Providence uses to remedy the enormity of the current general crisis of the faith, of the morals and of the liturgy inside the Church."

    I thought SSPX were excommunicated, and that this was lifted by Pope Benedict, but that SSPX remain in schism? So I find it amazing that Schneider could refer to them as 'Catholic' and 'a gift for the Church'. Perhaps in future if they return to the Church, but now...?

    The one odd spot in an interview in which Schneider avoided all opportunities presented to attack his enemies and the Pope. A good sign of his genuine orthodoxy ;)


    1. The only priests of the SSPX who were excommunicated were Archbishop LeFebvre and the men he ordained bishops. The SSPX was by no means a breakaway sect when it was founded but an apostolate within the Church. (Archbishop Lefebrve was, after all, an archbishop.) It is not a breakaway sect now. All the priests in the SSPX are Catholic priests: for the Year of Mercy, you can officially go to them for absolution, and if there is no other Catholic Mass in town, you can go to them to fulfill your obligation. They are, however, now in a "state of disobedience" for remaining in the SSPX.

      Here's wiki to point out its all very murky and complex. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Canonical_situation_of_the_Society_of_St._Pius_X

      I believe the SSPX remain, as Catholics, in the Church--think of them as squirrelled up in the attic with the treasures other householders want to throw in the fireplace. It's lovely that Bishop Schneider called actual Catholics a gift to the Church, as we are always hearing what gifts non-Catholics are. And, of course, since I was born people have spoken with such contempt of the SSPX that you would think they were Protestants, if we spoke about Protestants with such hatred anymore.

      The gifts of the SSPX and the faithful (e.g. ordinary Roman Catholics who go to their Masses, receive the sacraments from them-- usually in disobedience to the local ordinary, yes) include

      A) the preservation of the Mass of Ages from near-extinction
      B) a consistent and honest theological opposition to deliberate misunderstandings of/the doctrinal errors [take your pick] of the Second Vatican Council and therefore
      C) the preservation of Catholic doctrine, entire and unchanged, as it was in 1962
      D)indirectly, the formation of the FSSP, which led to both the Mass of Ages and the clear, unwavering teaching of doctrine to Catholics unwilling to disobey their ordinary/John Paul 2 in regards the SSPX.

      I feel terribly sad for the SSPX up there in the attic, and I never go up there myself, as I feel bound in obedience not to do so. I have never heard anyone who supports the FSSP speak unkindly of the SSPX. The SSPX acknowledges the Bishop of Rome as the Vicar of Christ and all Catholic doctrine without signing on to full acceptance of the documents of Vatican II. They have serious problems with diverges from perennial doctrine on religious freedom and, I believe, with the reversal of the order of the two ends of marriage.

    2. I should add that their ministries are suspended. And here's Father Z on the subject.http://wdtprs.com/blog/2015/03/sspx-schism-or-not/ In short, consecrating the bishops was called a "schismatic act" but the SSPX has never been declared "in schism." Thanks be to heaven, Pope Francis liked LeFebvre's biography. Bishop Fellay thinks Pope Francis's decisions are based on whether he likes somebody's personality. http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2014/05/sspx-bp-fellay-on-pope-francis-he-has.html

  2. Aaah! Thank you; that clarifies things a fair bit. I had thought SSPX were sedevacantists, along with refusing to accept Vatican 2 teachings.

    Still, like yourself, I don't think I will be visiting them, as disobedience to your bishop is kinda serious. Besides, we do have a couple of parishes with TLM and good priests, so there is no need. I have been curious though, as there is a SSPX parish just round the corner from a mates place.



  3. Well, you could do the unthinkable and pop in for after-Mass tea, if they have after-Mass tea. I have friends who have actually gone to Mass at the SSPX just to see if there were any Singles in their age group at Mass. Sometimes Catholics who usually go to SSPX Masses turn up to fulfil their obligation at FSSP Masses. Friendly curiousity with mild reservations on both sides, is how I'd characterize the situation.

  4. Quite unthinkable! ;) My local bishop already thinks I'm a heretic for not wanting liturgical dance. If I turn up at an SSPX Mass, his spies will recommend I get sent to be caretaker of a monastery in northern Syria...

    Just kidding (my bishop doesn't know I exist). I am curious, but there is never any sign of life at their church, and I am flat out busy at the moment. Maybe in a week or so after my exam.