Thursday, October 17, 2019

Book Announcement: Christus Vincit by Bishop Athanasius Schneider

Readers may have already picked up the buzz about the book-length interview with Bishop Athanasius Schneider done by American journalist Diane Montagna, which has just appeared from Angelico Press with the title Christus Vincit: Christ’s Triumph Over the Darkness of the Age (US | UK). Having read it twice, I can vouch that it’s as good as people are saying it is, and then some. . . and then some more. In fact, I haven’t enjoyed an interview this much since I read The Ratzinger Report back in high school, which was part of my turning to embrace a more serious Catholicism. This book by Schneider will, I believe, have a similar effect on many who read it.

I’ve published a review at Rorate Caeli, with copious quotations; here, for the announcement, I will simply reproduce the publisher’s description and the blurbs, which are more noteworthy than usual. However, it should be pointed out especially for readers of NLM that Christus Vincit contains considerable material on the liturgy and kindred matters.
  • Chapter 14, “The Eucharist and Holy Communion,” features lengthy and profound treatments of the Real Presence, transubstantiation, the crucial pedagogical and spiritual role played by external gestures of reverence, worthy and unworthy communions, the Protestant rejection of sacramental realism, the aberration of extraordinary ministers of communion (here, Bishop Schneider gives, and refutes, all of the arguments used in favor of them), and the tension between lay initiatives and episcopal approval. 
  • Chapter 15, “Reform of the Reform,” addresses the vexed question of the intentions of Vatican II, the rupture of the Consilium’s product, the impossibility of leaving the Ordinary Form as it stands, liturgical orientation (ad orientem and versus populum), the fears of lower clergy as they consider taking the right steps, anthropocentrism and clericocentrism, the new and old lectionaries, the Offertory prayers, the sign of peace, the liturgical calendar, Latin, active and passive participation, and the return of the traditional Roman rite. 
  • Chapter 16, “Reform of the Clergy,” speaks at length about priestly celibacy, seminary formation, clerical abuse and homosexuality, and asceticism.


In this absorbing interview, Bishop Athanasius Schneider offers a candid, incisive examination of controversies raging in the Church and the most pressing issues of our times, providing clarity and hope for beleaguered Catholics. He addresses such topics as widespread doctrinal confusion, the limits of papal authority, the documents of Vatican II, the Society of St. Pius X, anti-Christian ideologies and political threats, the third secret of Fatima, the traditional Roman rite, and the Amazon Synod, among many others. Like his fourth-century patron, St. Athanasius the Great, Bishop Schneider says things that others won’t, fearlessly following St. Paul’s advice: “Preach the word, be urgent in season and out of season, convince, rebuke, and exhort, be unfailing in patience and in teaching” (2 Tim 4:2). His insights into the challenges facing Christ’s flock today are essential reading for those who are, or wish to be, alert to the signs of the times. Reminiscent of The Ratzinger Report of 1985, Christus Vincit will be a key point of reference for years to come.

“At this critical moment in the life of the Church we must reflect carefully on all that confronts us and discern what is true, good, and beautiful from what is evil. We cannot but be grateful to a faithful apostle such as Bishop Athanasius Schneider for his clear and courageous analysis of the state of the Church in our day. May this book assist all who read it in living their particular vocation with greater fidelity and zeal, for the glory of Almighty God and the salvation of souls.” — ROBERT CARDINAL SARAH

“No other bishop in recent memory has so tirelessly given of himself in the service of the truths of the Catholic Faith. In this wide-ranging interview, Bishop Schneider, through the account of his life and ministry and through his responses to the crucial questions of the day, gives powerful witness to his profound love of Our Lord and of His Mystical Body, the Church. This book will be of great help to the faithful, and to all people of good will, in navigating the grave confusion, division, and error prevalent in our times. It reveals the heart of a true shepherd of souls, after the Heart of Christ, the Good Shepherd.” — RAYMOND LEO CARDINAL BURKE

“St. Thérèse of the Child Jesus (‘the Little Flower’) said that humility is courage for the truth, and courage to serve. Bishop Schneider is a humble and heroic witness to the truth, and a courageous servant. His love for Christ and the Church is strong and deep and heartfelt, like St. Paul’s (Gal. 2:11–20). To the various questions regarding the crises we face (relativism, secularism, modernism, indifferentism), he responds as a faithful pastor and a perspicacious theologian. I found myself inspired and challenged.” — SCOTT HAHN

“A product of the persecuted Church in the Soviet Union, Bishop Athanasius Schneider powerfully appeals in this interview for a return to the classical doctrine, worship, and devotion of the Roman Church. Not all readers will agree with everything in his analyses, but they will find it difficult to dissent from his fundamental perception: the Church requires a radical re-supernaturalization that will save it from internal secularization, free it from the domination of all-too-human agendas, and inspire it with new ardor for its divinizing mission.” — FR. AIDAN NICHOLS, O.P.

“Reading this wide-ranging interview with one of the most outstanding bishops in the Church today is an experience of profound joy and gratitude. Bishop Schneider explains and defends Catholic truth with deep insight and total conviction. He reminds us that fidelity to Christ — the full embrace of His truth as taught by the Catholic Church — is the purpose of our existence and the only source of our salvation.” — FR. GERALD E. MURRAY


Athanasius Schneider was born in 1961 in Kyrgyzstan to a German family and baptized with the name Antonius. In 1973 the family emigrated to Germany. He joined the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross in Austria in 1982 and received the religious name Athanasius; he was ordained a priest in Brazil in 1990. Having earned a doctorate in Patrology at the Augustinianum in Rome, he has taught since 1999 at the seminary in Karaganda, Kazakhstan. In 2006 he was ordained bishop in the Basilica of St. Peter in Rome and appointed titular bishop of Celerina and auxiliary bishop of Karaganda. From 2011 to the present he has been auxiliary bishop of the Archdiocese of Saint Mary in Astana, Chairman of the Liturgical Commission, and Secretary General of the Conference of the Catholic Bishops of Kazakhstan. Bishop Schneider is the author of two books on the Holy Eucharist: Dominus Est—It Is the Lord and Corpus Christi: Holy Communion and the Renewal of the Church.

Diane Montagna is an American journalist based in Rome.

The links again: US & UK. (Also available at Amazon sites in other countries.)

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