Cardinal Schönborn: Let’s Bring The Gospel Into Line With Reality…

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From the National Catholic Reporter, with editorial comment …

“It is fascinating to see how Pope Francis is encouraging, reviving and renewing the church.
Ed: isn’t it just. Hopes having been raised that major changes are afoot in the Catholic Church, it’s a wonder there are any atheists left…

Our meeting with him was an excellent lesson on how to live the Gospel today,” Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna said after a 90-minute audience with the pope during the Austrian bishops’ “ad limina” visit to the Vatican in the last week of January.
Ed: now, anybody who knows anything about Cardinal Schönborn (pictured at a “Balloon Mass”) knows that this “excellent lesson on how to live the Gospel today” would send shudders down the spine of every pope from St Peter through to Pius XII. 

The Austrian bishops took the results of the recent Vatican questionnaire to Rome with them. Responses showed that 95 percent of those who had filled out the questionnaire in Austria were in favor of allowing divorced and remarried Catholics to receive the sacraments.
Ed: from the perspective of traditional Christianity, that fact, alone is a damning indictment of the Austrian Bishops, although not from the perspective of those “fascinated” by the latest renewal of the Church under Pope Francis – following the renewals under John XXIII, Paul VI, John Paul II and Benedict XVI. Anyone who’s not feeling renewed by now, needs help.

The subject of family relationships today and how the church should deal with them played an important role at the Jan. 30 meeting with the pope, Schönborn said.
Ed: hardly surprising if the 95% dissident responses to the questionnaire represents the majority of Austrian Catholics. If the Austrian faithful haven’t a clue about something as elementary as the indissolubility of marriage, the bishops definitely have work to do.

“We cannot speak about people without speaking about families,” Francis said, explaining that was why the subject of the coming Synod of Bishops in October had been altered from bioethics to the family.

Francis spoke of his experiences in Latin America, where the situation of marriage and the family was, to a certain extent, “far more dramatic” than in Europe, Schönborn said. It is important to realize that today many couples live together without getting married and have children, then later marry in a registry office, with some opting for a church marriage, the pope explained. The church must take this way of life seriously and accompany the couples on their way, Francis underlined. His basic message was “Don’t judge, but look closely and listen very carefully,” Schönborn said.
Ed: so we mustn’t “judge” homosexual couples, and we mustn’t “judge” cohabiting couples.  On another occasion  Pope Francis spoke sympathetically of people in “second marriages.” There’s a lot of “no judging” going on in these areas of life.  But it’s fine to judge and condemn the Franciscans of the Immaculate. Hmmmm.  I’m getting the hang of this.

In several interviews shortly before leaving Vienna, Schönborn advocated a more rational, down-to-earth approach toward family relationships. “For the most part, the church approaches the [family] issue unhistorically,” he said. “People have always lived together in various ways. And today, we in the church tacitly live with the fact that the majority of our young people, including those with close ties to the Catholic Church, quite naturally live together. The simple fact is that the environment has changed.”
Ed: odd that. You’d think that Christ would have known that “historically people have always lived together in various ways…” and that in time His Church would learn to “tacitly live with the fact…” so it’s odd that He was so clear about the lifelong nature of marriage. Very odd.

Schönborn “in no way” wanted to advocate changing canon law (Ed: not half) but merely to show how difficult it was to bring the ideal family model into line with reality.  “The decisive point is not to condemn the way most people actually live together, but to ask, ‘How do we cope with failure?’ ” he said.
Ed: er… what we don’t do is say “so your marriage has “failed” – no problem. Go and find another one”.  The Austrian bishops should issue an apology for their failure, their negligence in permitting the situation to develop whereby promiscuous and cohabiting young people are not even aware that what they are doing is gravely displeasing to God and older “remarried” Catholics don’t appear to care, demanding their “right” to Holy Communion. The clergy and hierarchy need to apologise for their cowardice in failing to proclaim the unpopular truths about  sex and its unique relationship to marriage  to a disbelieving and sinful world.  And if, as seems likely, they fail to proclaim these truths because they don’t believe in the natural law/Catholic sexual morality themselves, then they should do the honourable thing and resign.

While most people’s “wishes, hopes and longings often largely correspond to what the Bible and the church say about marriage and the family” and they longed for a successful relationship and a successful family life, real life told a different story, the cardinal said. “The great challenge is to span a bridge between what we long for and what we succeed in achieving.” It was a case of bringing truth and mercy together, he said.
Ed: absolute tosh.  It is a case of bringing sin and repentance together.  The Cardinal  is really saying: “we uphold the indissolubility of marriage in theory, but in reality, in “real life”, it’s not possible so we should let people do what they want and say nothing; don’t judge them. Be kind to them… As long as they don’t start banging on about the Traditional Latin Mass (in which case they must make an oath of fidelity to the new Mass) there’s no problem. That, in Modernist speak, is “bringing truth and mercy together”.

Schönborn said he regretted that the Austrian bishops haven’t dared to speak out openly on necessary church reforms in the past. They haven’t had the courage to address the need for greater decentralization and to strengthen local churches’ responsibilities, he said. “We were far too hesitant. I beat my own breast here. We certainly lacked the courage to speak out openly.”
Ed: who’s he kidding? Cardinal  Schönborn hits the headlines on a fairly regular basis – click here for some background…

The Austrian bishops also discussed with the pope the Austrian Priests’ Initiative, which has called for the ordination of married men and women, and their “Call to Disobedience,” Schönborn said. The pope advised them that the most important thing for bishops is always to be in close contact with their priests, the cardinal said.
Ed: this is just incredible stuff. The Austrian priests’ notorious ‘Call to Disobedience’ was, as its title suggests, a blatant and clearly schismatic break with the Catholic Church. Yet, from the outset, these bad priests were treated with the utmost respect by the Church authorities, right up to and including, as we can see,  Pope Francis himself. I refer readers once again to the entirely “non-judgmental” through to indulgent attitude of this Pope towards dissenters and public sinners of every hue, which contrasts starkly with the treatment meted out in the most judgmental way to any priest showing the slightest leaning towards Catholic Tradition, as instanced in the scandalous measures implemented against the thriving Franciscans of the Immaculate. “Truth and mercy”?  Yeah right.

Schönborn said he was convinced that far-reaching church reform was on the way, “but it will not be achieved through big words and programs but through people like Pope Francis.” One could already see that the pope has become a role model, Schönborn said. “The atmosphere is changing and his behavior is making itself felt,” he said. What impressed him most about the pope was his charisma. “You can feel his inner devotion to God from which his compassion, his warmth and his infectious sense of humor emanates,” the cardinal said.
Ed: Encouraging sinful behaviour, whether in homosexuals, premarital  cohabitees or the divorced and remarried, is anything but compassionate. We don’t need popes who are “warm” and with a “sense of humour”, infectious or otherwise. We need popes to preach the Faith and defend it. Judging from the gleeful reaction of the notoriously dissenting Cardinal Schönborn at the end of his meeting with Pope Francis, we’re in for plenty of warmth and humour to distract our attention from the fact that  the Church is crumbling around us.
Our Lady of Fatima, pray for us!

23 responses

  1. “…today many couples live together without getting married and have children, then later marry in a registry office, with some opting for a church marriage, the pope explained. The church must take this way of life seriously…”

    Oh but it does: the Church, until her post-Vatican II collapse, called that “mortal sin,” Your Disorientedness.

  2. I didn’t vote in the poll because none of the options corresponded to what I think. I am not concerned at all, but not because I think change is needed. I am not concerned because I believe the Holy Spirit will protect the Church from error in this as in everything else.

    • I am very concerned – not that the teaching will change but that senior priests like Schonborn are giving the impression that the Church has been wrong about this for its whole history. That’s encouraging people to think there will be change and when there isn’t they will think it’s the “old celibate men in Rome” to blame. That should concern us all, surely?

      That’s why I voted “deeply concerned” in the poll.

    • Eileenanne,

      I’ve been trying to work out if there is a chance that canon law about not receiving Holy Communion in this or that case can be changed by the church authorities. That would not be the same as saying the teaching about divorce and remarriage has changed. I think that’s what some people are arguing. I don’t know what to make of it. I’ve read several articles in the Catholic press arguing for a change in canon law, but does that or does that not affect the teaching? Does the Holy Spirit prevent the Church from changing canon law? Personally, that’s not my understanding but it’s all very confusing these days. Everything seems to be topsy turvy.

      • Well I am neither canon lawyer nor theologian, but in order to admit divorced and remarried or co-habiting people to Communion, there would have to be a change in the teaching that “remarriage” after divorce or co-habiting at any time are no longer (potentially) mortal sins. I cannot see that happening. Individuals, even misguided priests and bishops, might WANT it to happen, but they do harm to the Church and the world by stating their views publicly and giving people who don’t know any better the idea thatsuch a change might come.

        • Eileenanne,

          Our Lord told us explicitly that if a man divorces his wife and marries another, he commits adultery. There’s nothing “potential” about it. Objectively, all and any sexual activity outside of marriage is a mortal sin.

          I do agree with you on the impossibility of separating the discipline of not receiving Communion from the teaching on the exclusivity of sexual activity within marriage. I’m neither a canon lawyer or a theologian either, but it seems like a false dichotomy to me, since Canon Law reflects and protects the doctrine. If Christ is truly present in the Eucharist, and if divorce and remarriage is “adultery” then it escapes my humble intellect how the cohesion of the Church’s teaching on the Sacraments and union with Christ, and the danger of sacrilege, can possibly make sense if such adulterers are permitted to receive the Eucharist.

          • Objectively, all and any sexual activity outside of marriage is a mortal sin.
            The important word is of course objectively. We can judge a particular action as constituting the grave matter necessary for mortal sin, but we can never know if another person has the clear knowledge and full consent necessary to make the sin mortal. That is why I described “remarriage and co-habiting as potentially mortally sinful. You know that of course, but I think we need to be very clear about it for the sake of folk who are even further from being canon lawyers or theologians than we are.

            • Eileenanne,

              To clarify further; in the case of a person(s) who is co-habiting or living in a “second marriage” (or any other manifest public situation which is contrary to the Church’s teaching) Canon Law stipulates that Holy Communion be withheld, if the person(s) refuse to rectify their situation.

              That has nothing to do with interior disposition, but is a consequence of the public nature of the situation. So the usual jibe “don’t judge” or “I can’t judge” (which is even spouted by ignorant clergy) doesn’t stand up to examination. Nobody is judging the interior disposition of anyone, but the fact that they are living in a manifestly publicly scandalous manner, means that Canon Law must be applied – as I’m sure you know already and agree fully.

  3. Madame Editor,

    Statements calculated to cause turmoil within the Church, such as this one from Cardinal Schonborn, make me recall the warnings contained in The Plot against the Church written under the pseudonym Maurice Pinay. In particular, the book instances the multitude of fifth column Jews who have been in the Church since their Baptism, for generations back, and who give all the appearances of being Catholic, but who still attend the synagogue on Saturdays to be reminded of the never-ending campaign for the destruction of the Kingship of Christ.

    In the short term, yes, it bothers me a great deal that such figures are not rooted out and sent into exile. In the long term however, we know that Our Lady will crush the head of the serpent under her heel, no matter how close it may appear to be getting towards victory. The cult of the serpent will be overcome, but probably not until Russia is consecrated to the Immaculate Heart of Mary.

    • Leprechaun,

      I’m not sure about the book The Plot against the Church. It was allegedly written by a group of Spanish (I think) priests who used the pseudonym Maurice Piney, but without thoroughly sound and verifiable evidence, I think it may do more harm than good to promote it.

      There’s enough evidence, in my view, of the devil plotting and working to destroy the Church, that we really don’t need to pay any attention to anonymous claims. Without documentary evidence, they are of little consequence. Often, these kind of claims can be a distraction, anyway – redirecting our energies away from fighting the crisis in the Church to blaming particular groups. We don’t need to know about “The Plot against the Church” to alert us to what Our Lady warned was a “diabolical disorientation” to come (now arrived).

      Don’t let it “bother you” that “such figures are not rooted out…” – that’s one of the reasons I’ve no time for that particular book and its ilk as it brings with it a feeling of helplessness, nothing we can do until these “spies” are “rooted out”. It’s just another of the devil’s wiles to prevent us from focusing on our own contribution, however small, to restoring the traditional Faith during this time of crisis. Soldiers in the front line during the war weren’t bothered about the spies working to win the war. They just put all their energies into making sure that the enemy DIDN’T win. We must do the same – forget about Maurice Piney and think about Our Lady of Fatima instead. And fight to win 😀

  4. It’s deeply depressing when a “prince” of the Church, and potential future pope, is coming out with this. In the reign of Blessed Pope John Paul, as one of the architects of the new Catechism, he was always portrayed as a bastion of orthodoxy and orthopraxy. In the intervening years he seems to have lost his nerve. Some days it really does feel like we’re living at the end of time.

    • Darth Papum,

      I think we are living in the end times. I know that could still be a long time, but all the signs are there that this is the final phase of life as we know it on earth.

      I am surprised that you say Cardinal Schonborn used to be thought of as orthodox. I’ve never thought that. All I’ve ever known about him is his dissent. I didn’t know he was involved in the new catechism but wasn’t there some talk about some of the stuff in the new catechism? I can’t imagine that he was orthodox and then changed to being such a dissenter.

  5. I wonder what the position would be if the second, invalid, relationship floundered and they set up home with another partner, and then maybe another one later, We could finish up with a man going to receive communion alongside his past and present concubines and in some cases receiving the sacred host from them.

    Time, I think, for Our Lady to step in and bring along St Michael to give her a wee hand.

    • Frankie,

      That’s what I’ve been thinking. If the Church allows people in second marriages to receive Holy Communion, why not those in third and fourth and more marriages, or people who just live together. It would be a mess.

      • I agree with you. It would be such a mess people seemingly flitting in and out of marriages.

        I wonder what Cardinal Schonborn’s reaction would have been when 70,000 Austrians held a Rosary Crusade which resulted in Russian troops up and leaving in an unprecedented move. They had never left a conquered country before.
        http://www.fatimacrusader.com/cr72/cr72pg27.asp

  6. I have an idea. Make me the Archbishop of Vienna, then the balloon Masses will end, as will the Austrian Priest’s Initiative, but the TLM will be celebrated in St Stephen’s Cathedral thrice daily.

    This is no surprise, given that Cardinal Schonborn permitted a homosexual and his partner to remain as members of a Viennese parish council, and given that he has perpetrated some of the worst liturgical abuses in history. I also doubt the veracity of these polls. How do we know practising Catholics filled these in?

    What don’t people understand? Marriage is indissoluble, end of. The Church and the Pope doesn’t recognise anything else, and doesn’t have the power to change it. Oh, how I yearn for Pope Benedict XVI, who spoke the truth, no questions asked, and that’s why people hated him. With Pope Francis, he says one thing, means another, and spends half of his day wringing his hands.

  7. “People have always lived together in various ways. And today, we in the church tacitly live with the fact that the majority of our young people, including those with close ties to the Catholic Church, quite naturally live together. The simple fact is that the environment has changed.”

    This statement shows a complete rejection of Church teaching,accepting those living in Sin.To say the environment has changed is meaningless;Church teachings haven’t.

    “Don’t judge, but look closely and listen very carefully,” Schönborn said.

    This statement suggests that we don’t use those words;Go and Sin no more. Overall,just not Catholic.

    • Tirrey,

      I’ve just checked the article and seems it was NOT Cardinal Schonborn who said “Don’t judge….etc”. Pope Francis said that.

      What was that you said? “…just not Catholic”? And then some.

      At one time it was standard to reply “NO” to the humorous question: “are you more Catholic than the Pope?” Now we MUST be more Catholic than the Pope just to keep the Ten Commandments 😯

  8. Is this heretical Cardinal one of the Pope’s “cabinet,” like that other disgrace, Cardinal Brady of Boston?

  9. Cardinal Schonborn is very highly thought of by the Church of England. That says it all really. Maybe if they paid more, he might be tempted to leave his life of luxury and worldwide travel in first class compartments. What a waste of space he is. sad really.

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