Who Is Fr. Matthew P. Schneider, LC

Jesus loves us. I love Jesus. My name is Fr Matthew P. Schneider, LC SThD. I’m a priest with the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi. I try to fulfill our mission of helping people know and experience Jesus, be transformed by him, and become his apostles.

In 2022, I finished my doctoral thesis in Moral Theology through Regina Apostolorum in Rome, while living in the Legionary community in the diocese of Arlington (Northern Virginia) and as Assistant Chaplain at Divine Mercy University. For the 2022-2024 school years, I teach theology and bioethics at Belmont Abbey College. I occasionally give talks on subjects I discuss here (use the contact form if you want this).

Pauline Press published my book, God Loves the Autistic Mind: Prayer Guide for Those on the Spectrum and Those Who Love Us, in June 2022. You can get it here.

I am one of the few openly autistic priests. I was diagnosed with autism after my first year of ministry when I failed to read the emotions on kids’ faces as a school chaplain. I gave a longer testimony (with video) if you are interested.

Slowly I’ve become one of the biggest Catholic voices on Twitter, with over 68,000 followers, and 100,000 across all social media combined.

I’m originally from Calgary, Canada, and have done ministry in various parts of Canada and the USA. My current base community is in the Archdiocese of Atlanta, but I live at Belmont Abbey during the school year.

I began working in youth ministry as a religious brother and wrote some of the material for the Conquest and Challenge Clubs, but in recent years I have moved away from that. Concerning youth ministry, I wrote the only book on doing 1-on-1 spiritual mentoring with teenagers called Spiritually Mentoring Teenage Boys based on my experience (90%+ of it probably applies to teen girls too, but I don’t have much experience there).

I started with this personal blog, then joined ProjectYM, then Catholic Stand, then Patheos, with a few individual articles for other pages, then eventually moved here to my personal site. If you want my article to appear in your publication, please contact me and offer me your normal going rate for freelance journalists.

My Community relies on donations, and I’d love it if you became a monthly patron on Patreon or donated on my Acceptiva page. I have chosen not to run ads here except for links to Patreon.

Along with my writing here, I have written for or appeared in over 375 other media outlets. I have another page with a more complete list, but here are some highlights:

If you want to know what I look like, there isn’t much to see. Even though I’m not that photogenic, here are a few photos.

The primary photo I use right now (April 2022).
The secondary photo I use right now
A photo from 2021 I used for a bit
The main photo I use to identify myself online
The previous photo I used to identify myself online (2014).
A professional shot
An earlier photo from when I was a brother (~2012).
The day I was ordained a deacon.
The day I was ordained a deacon
The best photo from my priestly ordination in St. John Latern on December 14, 2013.
Celebrating Mass on Calvary (April 2017).
Miracle of sienna
A picture of me before the Eucharistic miracle of Sienna – these hosts were consecrated 200 years ago, & they’re fresh (~2012, just before ordination).
I'm fun-loving. Here's just one example
I’m fun-loving. Here’s just one example (2006 photo)
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21 comments

  1. Fr. Matthew, I just learned I had a celebrity (you) co-teaching ESL with me at Christ the Redeemer. I wish you great success with your new book, and the completion of your dissertation. Christus regnat!!

    1. I think as a priest I should spend some of my time doing acts of Christian charity. I asked Catholic Charities what might work while I was in Ashburn, and they suggested teaching ESL at CTR. I try not to do it with big fanfare.

  2. Fr. Can you help in how to get a possible diagnosis for autism in an older adult? Most information is related to children, and is not well understood by PCP. Thank you for your sharing and help.

    1. Yes. It is a little harder to find a psychologist willing and able to do the tests for adult autism. There are some guides about it if you look for it and I can’t recommend any particular one: you can google them. Psychology Today has a directory where you can filter for those who both see adults and have autism as one of their specialties.

      EDIT: Also to add, if you email the autism society of America (https://autismsociety.org) with your zip code, they can send you local psychologists. They do no filter just for adults, so you then need to call the handful they give you.

    2. I am a 67yr old female living in Ontario, Canada, and the psychologist who diagnosed my adult ADHD 3 years ago referred me to Kevin Reinhardt in Newmarket, ON as the only professional he knows of specializing in diagnosing ASD in adults, and he also assesses for the common ASD comorbidities of ADHD, LD’s and the gammut of PD’s.I have my 2-1/2 day full comprehensive ASD assessment scheduled for next week, and he has been amazing in this lead-up period. He is registered with Psychology Today … hopefully, this info can be of help to fellow Ontarians!

  3. Wow. This is great news for you. We live is the US in Massachusetts. Does your provider know anyone in this area. Thank you for your input.

  4. Father Schneider – Thank you, thank you, thank you! As an older Catholic diagnosed later in life with ASD, your book explains so much. I always blamed myself and feared going to hell because I could not relate to the emotional, even ecstatic, experiences and faith expressions of so many Catholic saints. I therefore judged myself as having no love in me for God, even though I have always known intellectually that I love Him and He loves me, as odd and imperfect as I am. Your book opened a door of hope that maybe I am OK in God’s eyes as different as I am, because I try to live a good Catholic life, even while I don’t have all those religious feelings. May God bless you!

  5. Hi, Fr. Matthew. How refreshing to have caught the last half of your appearance on EWTN’s Book program recently! It was so good to see a priest reveal his autism and to hear your story.
    I am a senior citizen and was diagnosed as being on the spectrum just a few years ago. It’s such a hardship to have one’s actions and needs be misunderstood by others, especially parents and teachers.
    Even though I am a loner, I still get depressed and lonely, especially at holidays when there is no place for me to go.
    Best wishes and blessings!

  6. Hello Father Schneider,

    I was diagnosed at age 36 as Level 1 ASD. I am sensitive to sounds and touch. I am from Connecticut. Your YouTube videos helped me understand the dilemma I face when I pray. I would like to know how to get past this theory of mind issue when I pray and be able to do it regularly.

    In my experience, churches older than the electric grid are not the best places sensory-wise. The way sounds bounce off the vaulted ceiling can cause me a lot of anxiety and make meltdowns more likely. I chose a newer church near me where I can sit in the vestibule and watch through the glass doors, which help buffer the sounds. I find it easier to hear them through the speaker system than having sounds blaring at me in the face from all directions. This makes it easier to relax as well, as I do not expect going to Mass to give me anxiety. This also allows me the space I need, though I must move when people come in or leave.

    I appreciate that someone finally understands the dilemmas I face as an autistic Catholic. If you still do videos, I would like to know where they are posted. I am interested in further communication by email if you are open to it.

    Crystal Golias

  7. You are not an validly ordained Catholic Priest. The valid rite of ordination to the Priesthood was abrogated and replaced by the so – called “new” “rite” of “ordination..

    You are not an Catholic Priest. You are not an religious. You are an layman. And, (and), the so – called “Novus Ordo Missi,”) or “New Order of Mass,” is diabolical and an blasphemy. Created by an Scottish Rite FreeMason, a t the direction of an Scottish Rite FreeMason (otherwise, an outrageous heretic who styled itself “Pope” John the 23rd. And promulgated by another Scottish Rite FreeMason and blasphemous heretic, who styled itself “Pope” Paul the 6th. You are not an Catholic Priest. You cannot celebrate an valid Mass. The Novus Ordo Missi is an blasphemous counterfeit. The Sacrament is not transfected.

    As well, (as well), your statements concerning the so – called “vaccines,” are appalling. There is no such thing as an “vaccine.” And there is no such thing as an “virus.” And your shameless advocacy of fawning, obsequious obeisance to “Caesar,” in terms of instructing Catholics (who are no longer Catholics), to accept this “witch’s brew” of monkey kidney, egg albumen, squaline, aluminum, mercury, and “immortal” (and therefore carcinogenic), cells of aborted unborh children is utterly grotesque. God will judge you harshly. And I hope I am there to see it.

    There is no virus; there has never been an virus; there are no viruses. There has never been an so – called “cold” virus; there has never been an so – called “influenza” virus; there has never been an so – called “Plague” virus, there has never been an so – called “AIDS” virus. And there has never been an so – called “Corona” virus. Either.

    Keep an “open mind,” and people will throw a lot of garbage in it.

    Brothers Michael and Peter Dimond are making more and more sense. All the time.;

    Dermot Anthony David Kyne, bac., (hon).,maîtrise, cert. en droit., Grad. Dipl., (Marketing),
    Graduate and Alumnus, St. Michael’s College School (the “school” that protects pedophiles), Class of 1981.

    Montréal, Québec,

    dadk/1pg,. etc.,

    septembre 05, 2023

      1. Father, you are so generous in your humility and love for your fellow man. As a fellow Quebecer, I find this Kyne fellow’s comments not only outrageous, but absolutely abhorrent, so I will follow your lead in loving this guy through my prayer for his return to sanity. In a different vein, and again, as a fellow Quebecer – fully fluent in both French and English – I can tell you that his verbiage, semantics, grammar and spelling are most uncharacteristic of anyone from my home province – French or English-speaking – so I suspect that unless a very poor online translation app was used, the above diatribe might well be the product of a very poor AI program … all that to say, the sentiments expressed therein are not even remotely typical of any Catholic I know.

  8. Hello Father,

    I am facing a strong ethical dilemma and I need your help since you are an expert on this subject. I am a PhD student in computational biology in a cancer research lab, and in the lab I have been assigned a project in which experiments are performed with HEK293 cell lines and I would be in charge of analysing the data coming from those experiments. As a Catholic, I would like to know if I am morally obliged to refuse the project or if it would not be a problem. If I reject the project, I would lose my scholarship, my job and I would have to return to my country of origin, but I don’t want to contribute to such a great evil as abortion and therefore sin gravely. I would be very grateful if you could help me with this question. Thank you very much in advance.

    1. Please stop spamming my comments with the same thing. I saw 3 copies that were the basically the same in 2.5 hours. I don’t just sit here watching for comments.

      Depending on the possibilities of alternate means not using HEK293, even doing experiments with them can be ethical for Catholics to do if no reasonable alternative exists & the experiment is important for improving human health. Your data analysis would be remote even from the experiment, which details are sparse so I can’t judge if a Catholic could do without more information. But being those steps away makes it highly probable a Catholic could do that (unless there is some other ethical issue with the experiment).

      I would still ask if there is a way to do it without HEK293 / express a concern that we should prefer other options if possible, but there is no significant ethical problem with doing such data analysis.

      1. Thank you for your answer. Sorry for the spam, I just thought the comments weren’t being sent because of some kind of error, it wasn’t intentional. It is difficult to judge whether the experiment is very important for improving human health since it is at a basic research level where more knowledge about RNA biology would be obtained but it would not be directly applicable therapeutically, although I suppose that any knowledge generated will be useful to a greater or lesser extent in the future. On the other hand, the truth is that as a PhD student I do not yet know if there are better alternatives of cell lines to carry out the experiment. As far as I am concerned, the only ethical problem with the experiment is the use of HEK293 cells, I can’t think of any other problematic element.

  9. Hello Father i too have a diagnosis of autism (ASD) which i received as an adult. I came to faith in Christ around 2 years ago although i never attended any church and i set to work reading anything i could find about the early church and the writings of the church fathers and the saints and such a love grew in my heart for Jesus. I live a very secluded and isolated life due to me finding social things very difficult and very stressful , i was happy to just have my small circle of family with i love dearly and had no interest in the world. Those feelings have been slowly changing and a few months ago i started wanting Christian fellowship with like minded believers and so i reached out via email to the local priest and told him a little about myself. He invited me to Mass on saturday as less people will be there , to see how i find it. Father please pray for me , i so want this to work out and yet the anxiety is here again and i do so worry that people will find me odd and reject me ect as happened to me at school and when i tried to work. My heart yearns for the sacraments and i so wish to participate for once in my life. Thankyou for listening to me.

  10. Based on your experiences in the church, do you think that there are a lot of fellow priests out there who might be undiagnosed autistics? Does the church see priests and religious with ASD as an asset or a liability? I have a Protestant cousin who believes that one would _have to be_ autistic to _want_ to live the monastic life or to freely choose the celibate lifestyle, so she believes that the majority of Catholic priests, nuns, and brothers may be people with undiagnosed ASD. Do you think it’s a majority, and they’re just not “out” like you? Or do you think there may be not a whole lot of them, but some others, while most are neurotypical or something else but responding to religious faith and Catholic culture in choosing a vocation? What about schizophrenics? St. Thomas Aquinas was quite an influencer of Catholic theology in his time, but if he were to live in our age, he’d get locked up for schizophrenia.

    1. I think that there are some autistic priests and religious. A few others are public. Some have spoken to me about ti but are not public about it. I think the ratio is likely similar to or slightly below the general population where 1-2% of priests and religious are autistic but this is more an educated guess than something I’m sure of.

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