The Pope’s Journey Francis in Kazakhstan forced the daily The cross to lean on the figure of Mgr Schneider, “a bishop from Kazakhstan popular in traditionalist circles”. We even read about Jeanne Smiths and the abbot from Tanouarn. And in fact, the character is not uninteresting, when we look at his career:
Born in 1961 in Tomok, in the former Soviet Republic of Kyrgyzstan, Athanasius Schneider comes from a family of Germans from the Black Sea, who were deported after the Second World War to a labor camp in the Russian Urals. before settling in Kyrgyzstan. The climate of the time was not conducive to Catholicism: the Stalinist persecutions harshly repressed practicing Catholics. The Schneider family attends the underground church and will even host the blessed father Oleksy Zarytsky, condemned several times for his religious activity. “In his first book (Dominus est. Reflections of a bishop from Central Asia on Holy Communion, 2011.), he tells how his mother went secretly to seek the Eucharist, sometimes at the risk of her life, explains Jeanne Smiths, his translator, a figure in the “traditional” sphere. When he arrived in Germany afterwards, he was shocked that communion was taken in the hand and not on the tongue. His story taught him a great reverence for communion. Ordained a priest in 1990 within the Order of Canons Regular of the Holy Cross of Coimbra, an Augustinian spirituality congregation devoted to solemn liturgical worship and adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, he left for Brazil where he spent several years. At the same time, he studied patristics in Rome before being sent to Kazakhstan. He received episcopal ordination in 2006. […] A polyglot (he knows Russian, German, Italian, French, Spanish and Portuguese), he regularly gives conferences around the world to present his works and defend the Tridentine liturgy.
And here’s why it’s popular:
Acolyte open to women, Tridentine Mass, place of religions, vaccination: the subjects of divergence between Bishop Schneider and the pope are not lacking. […] In recent years, Bishop Schneider has stood out for his frank opposition to several initiatives of Pope Francis. In 2016, he supported the four cardinals (Burke, Brandmüller, Caffarra and Meisner) who publicly published their dubia (doubts) about the content of the encyclical Amoris laetitia, in particular concerning the possible access to the sacraments of remarried divorcees. When the former apostolic nuncio in Washington Carlo Maria Vigano accuses Pope Francis in a 2018 letter of having been warned of the sexual abuse committed by the ousted cardinal Theodore McCarrickBishop Schneider reacts by indicating that he finds “no reasonable and plausible reason to doubt the truthful content of the document”.