The British Tablet has this blockbuster where Cardinal Christoph Schönborn calls for reform of the curia, suggests the Pope is already working on it and then (gasp!) says the church should consider homosexuals and divorcees should be welcomed better in the church.
The head of the Austrian Church has launched an attack of one of the most senior cardinals in the Vatican, saying that Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, “deeply wronged” the victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy when he dismissed media reports of the scandal. In a meeting with editors of the main Austrian daily newspapers last week, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, also said the Roman Curia was “urgently in need of reform”, and that lasting gay relationships deserved respect. He reiterated his view that the Church needs to reconsider its position on re-married divorcees.
On Easter Day, Cardinal Sodano called the mounting reports of clerical sex abuse “petty gossip”. This had “deeply wronged the victims”, Cardinal Schönborn said, and he recalled that it was Cardinal Sodano who had prevented Joseph Ratzinger, then a cardinal, from investigating allegations of abuse made against Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, the previous Archbishop of Vienna, who resigned in disgrace in 1995.
Cardinal Schönborn said that Pope Benedict was “gently” working on reforming the Curia but he had the whole world on his desk, as the cardinal put it, and his way of working and his style of communication did not make it easy to advise him quickly from outside.
Cardinal Schönborn studied under Joseph Ratzinger at Regensburg University and is known to be close to him.
Questioned on the Church’s attitude to homosexuals, the cardinal said: “We should give more consideration to the quality of homosexual relationships,” adding: “A stable relationship is certainly better than if someone chooses to be promiscuous.”
The cardinal also said the Church needed to reconsider its view of re-married divorcees “as many people don’t even marry at all any longer”.
Wow! This guy kicked some tail in the media and I can only imagine what the Vatican Press Office is going to say today. Cardinal Schönborn is no stranger to making statements in the media. One might remember this piece in the NY Times where he differentiated guys like Richard Dawkins from other evolution proponents. Dawkins and others like him who he termed “neo-Darwinists” claim that God has no role in the evolutionary process, while others who believe in evolution state otherwise, that God could be part of that process in some way.
Evolution in the sense of common ancestry might be true, but evolution in the neo-Darwinian sense – an unguided, unplanned process of random variation and natural selection – is not. Any system of thought that denies or seeks to explain away the overwhelming evidence for design in biology is ideology, not science.
What are your thoughts on this? Since he is close to Pope Benedict, might the Pope also share this insight? Are we looking a sweeping change in the Roman Curia on the horizon? Or is this just a way of distracting us from the Pope’s mistakes with regards to the sex abuse crisis in Germany? My last thought is that people are looking for a scapegoat and the media was poised to make that scapegoat Pope Benedict, perhaps unfairly. Cardinal Schönborn might be looking to pin that tag on the appropriate morons who kept things under wraps for way too long.
If that’s true than he’s the man! And perhaps, he’s just what the church needs when it looks for a Pope the next time out.
Check out this lecture snip from the Dominican School of Theology: