Bishop Athanasius Schneider on the Necessity of Baptism and Evangelism

God bless Bishop Athanasius Schneider, who once more lives up to his religious name! (His baptismal name is Anton.) God bless Dr. Taylor Marshall, too. Those who portray the man as an opportunist for “profiting from the crisis in the Church” ought to do penance for it. Now, to the point…

In the interview below, Dr. Marshall asks Bishop Schneider a question to this effect:

I wonder if… traditional Catholics are going to have to reclaim … the doctrine of baptismal regeneration: that baptism is necessary; it is the normative means by which the person has the remission of sins, original and mortal and venial, and it’s necessary. We have to be missionaries and go out there and baptize all nations.

Bishop Schneider’s answer begins with the words, “Exactly. What you now said, this is the core, the essence of the Gospel. And the meaning, the reason for the existence of the Church.”

After speaking in general of the supernatural effects of sacramental Baptism, His Excellency goes on:

We are diminishing the importance of Baptism — of Sacramental Baptism,  Baptism of water — and propagating the so-called baptism of desire. This is to my opinion a crime because we are depriving so many people of the greatest happiness they could have, first to know Jesus Christ, their Redeemer, the Incarnated God; secondly, to receive the fullness of life, supernatural life, the life of the Holy Trinity in their souls, and to be truly children of God. We are depriving these people. The argument of baptism of desire… you cannot apply this so… easily, because you do not know how many people have a baptism of desire. … We don’t know. … Only God knows… And therefore we have to evangelize, then, with zeal, with love, and this is the greatest act of love, to bring our non-Christian brothers, even the Muslims, the Jews, the Hindus, the Buddhists, or the atheists, let us say, the new pagans: to all these, to bring them the greatest gift of God: the Faith in Jesus Christ, and the Baptism, the true Baptism — the life of God, the supernatural life. And so, this is really the greatest sign of love because we are concerned of (sic) their eternal wellbeing.

He goes on to speak against today’s common overemphasis on helping people with their temporal wellbeing, then he returns to the point:

We are depriving people from (sic) the most important [thing], the life of God, the supernatural life, and the divine filiation [sonship]; and therefore they [presumably, churchmen] have to again make a great zeal, a missionary zeal, and the Church has again to state the necessity of preaching the Faith explicitly, and the importance of sacramental baptism in water — to stress this. And so, therefore, I’m agreeing with your opinion.

I will not transcribe the entire section, but His Excellency also emphasizes the necessity of evangelizing the Jews and the Muslims, even citing to this effect Our Lord’s words to the Jews of His own day as recorded in John 8. Moreover, he affirms emphatically that we must evangelize Protestants, who do not have Our Lord in the Eucharist.

The salient part of the interview goes from the 12:00 minute mark (where I have the embedded video, below, queued up), to just before the 21:00 mark — an amazing nine minutes!

Thank you Bishop Schneider and Dr. Marshall.