Bishop Athanasius Schneider thanks God that he grew up during the Christian persecution in Soviet Union and not in the West: "This makes you strong and gives you a foundation for your whole life" (Gloria.tv, 23 September, video below).
His arrival in Germany at the age of twelve was for Schneider a double shock. In contrast to the Soviet Union, pornographic material was offered for public sale at kiosks.
In addition, hand communion was "incomprehensible" to him, i.e. "that one receives the Saviour like a biscuit and puts it in one's mouth.
Even as a young man, Schneider noticed that the German mass resembled more an assembly than the divine worship he knew from the Soviet Union.
In the 1990s, Schneider lived in Rome as a priest, and his mother told him on the phone, in tears, about the conditions in her southern German parish. There was no priest and a pastoral assistant presided over prayer meetings.
The bishop's mother said: "I would rather be persecuted again in the Soviet Union and live in the underground than to experience what is going on in this parish here in Germany".