Tag Archives: Cardinal Schönborn

Cardinal Schonborn: Marriage as a Union of Families

Forgive the personal reference, but the same experience is marked by your parents’ divorce …  
Yes, I come from a family of divorced parents.   My father remarried.   My grandparents were already divorced.   So I very soon got to know the patchwork situation.   I practically grew up in this reality, which is the reality of life of many people today.   But I also experienced the essential goodness of the family.   Despite all crises, all ideologies that we must denounce and call clearly by name, despite all this, marriage and family are the basic cell of human life and society.  
Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn addresses a news conference after a meeting in Vienna September 24, 2010. Senior Catholic officials have been holding talks with their Orthodox counterparts over the last few days in Vienna. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger (AUSTRIA - Tags: RELIGION HEADSHOT)
Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn addresses a news conference after a meeting in Vienna September 24, 2010. Senior Catholic officials have been holding talks with their Orthodox counterparts over the last few days in Vienna. REUTERS/Leonhard Foeger (AUSTRIA – Tags: RELIGION HEADSHOT)
I personally felt that in the Synod was a lack of two elements: attention to children and consideration of the family as a vast network of relationships (including grandparents, grandchildren, uncles and aunts …).   It seems to me that the Synod has been had ​​to present the nuclear family consisting of wife, husband and children, and has considered the situation from the point of view of the spouses.   Do you not think that looking on from the point of view of the children and consider the families linkages that that they are able to create would allow evaluation of things differently, more completely?  

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Cardinal Schönborn: Two months. No Repudiation, A Portuguese Ally.

On April 28th this year, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna dropped some remarks in a news conference that hit made headlines around the world. He called for deep reform of the curia, he criticized a colleague (Cardinal Sodano), and suggested that  it might be time for the Church to moderate its thinking on same sex relationships and on divorce. Most attention fell on the remarks about reform, and the criticism of Sodano, but in the implications for Church teaching, the observations on same sex relationships and divorce were potentially groundbreaking. As my regular readers know, I have been keeping a watching brief on news about Cardinal Schönborn in the expectation of a clear refutation or repudiation by the Vatican or by colleagues, but this still has not happened – at least, not on the sexuality remarks.

On Monday this week, two months to the day after the original news conference, it looked as though things might have changed. The Cardinal had been summonsed to Rome. where he had a lengthy conference with Pope Benedict  and Cardinal Bertone, hardly the most gay-friendly of his colleagues. He emerged with a clear papal reprimand – for his criticism of Sodano.

Then there was today’s meeting between between the pope and his erstwhile protege, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, who has among other things denounced Angelo Sodano, head of the College of Cardinals, called for a reform of the Curia, and suggested that the church take another look at clerical celibacy, divorce, and committed same-sex relationships. Sodano trooped into the meeting at the end with Bertone–on hand to mediate?–and a wacky press release ensued that claimed that 1) Schönborn might have  in unspecified ways spoken out of turn; 2) Sodano didn’t really mean it when he denounced press chattering about priestly sexual abuse on Easter Sunday; and 3) only the pope gets to criticize a cardinal.

(From BeliefNet)

About “homosexual” relationships, not a word. (I have not seen anything on this in any of the reports of the meeting, mainstream or fringe).

Are we to assume then, that respect for homosexual relationships of good “quality” has become acceptable doctrine?

In the meantime, while I have been apprehensively looking out for repudiation from Schönborn’s colleagues, I have isntead found  independent support, from a bishop in Portugal.

The Catholic religious right are aflame with indignation at the reported comments of Portuguese Bishop Januario Torgal Ferreira, who heads the ordinariate for the armed forces, over some sane remarks on homosexuality and on “family planning”. The only English language reports I have found are the heavily edited and filtered reports on sites like Catholic Culture and Lifesite News, so I attempted to find the full, original report in Portuguese,  and to read it via Google Translate. The result in a (clumsy) English  translation is  here.



I can’t say the exercise has left me with any of the subtleties of his thinking, but I’m pleased I did so – the full report includes much that was omitted from the edited English reports, and has left me with some idea of the person behind the remarks – a person that strikes me as a breath of fresh air in the Church. Taking all the reports together, I have a sense that this is a man who is simply asking for more flexibility and realism in the church. On gay marriage, he is personally opposed, but also acknowledges that gay relationships are a reality the church should deal with. He asks his colleagues, he says, if they have ever spoken to homosexuals? The Church would surely show a great deal more sensitivity on these matters if only they did so. Although he opposed the legislation which introduced same sex marriage, he thinks the President was right not to veto – because that was the realistic thing to do, avoiding unpleasant public displays of anger and protest, with an inevitable legislative override of any veto.

He also argues for more decentralization in Church governance, and is commendably frank in pointing out that bishops are human, like everyone else – and nobody needs to be scandalized by the thought of him, or any other bishop, going to a beach in swimming trunks, and possible lying next to a woman sunbathing topless.

Overall, the man is clearly that rare creature in the echelons of the Catholic oligarchy – a bishop who is capable of blending into his theology a healthy dose of reality, and I commend him for that.