The Courage of Bishop Schneider

Bad bishops are hardly a novelty in the history of the Church. Historians estimate that, when the Arian heresy rocked Christendom in the fourth century, four out of five bishoprics succumbed to apostasy. When Henry VIII ordered England’s bishops to swear the oath of succession, all of them complied—all, save one. For his refusal to abandon his allegiance to the Pope, Bishop John Fisher of Rochester was martyred by Henry in 1535 and canonized by Pius XI four centuries later, almost to the day.

No doubt the majority of bishops in our own age retain the orthodox Faith in their hearts. But would even 20 percent of them speak out in its defense? Orthodox prelates aren’t rare but orthodox prelates with courage are. At least we know of one: Athanasius Schneider, O.R.C., auxiliary bishop of Astana, Kazakhstan. His recent interview proves him worthy of his namesake, the sainted Bishop of Alexandria who defended the doctrine of the Trinity against defeated the Arian heresy 1,000 years before St. John Fisher’s birth.

Schneider’s words are a pleasure to read because he’s so clear and free of the “weaponized ambiguity” of the modern, professionalized prelates who twist and turn with the winds.

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