Saturday, July 07, 2012

Christoph Cardinal Schönborn clears up some misunderstandings surrounding his pastoral care ....

A blind eye?

He started it anyway.

Personally, I've always liked Cardinal Schönborn, he has an attractive personality and strikes me as warm and accommodating.  His style of governance seems to demonstrates that.  Sometimes, considering the content of what one reads online is pretty much spare quotes and 'sound-bites' of his talks, and critique of his activities, one can become rather confused as to where the Cardinal actually stands on certain issues of faith and morals.  OSV prints an interview with Cardinal Schönborn wherein he clears the air on some of his more questionable decisions. 

The case of the gay parish council member:
Our Sunday Visitor: Recently in your diocese, a young openly homosexual man was elected to his parish council. Both his election and your decision to allow his election to stand created quite a stir in the media. Could you explain your thinking on that decision and the controversy surrounding it?

Cardinal Schönborn: To begin with, I believe this was a very local situation that certainly did not deserve to be discussed in public, mainly because it is out of the question that the concrete details of the situation be exposed to the public. The only thing I’ve requested of people is that if I make a pastoral decision in a very concrete circumstance they should trust that this decision does not reflect any change in my commitment to Catholic teaching.

The fact is that sometimes we have to live with situations that are objectively disordered, but we do so with the hope that the people are on the way of faith. We are a community of sinners who all need to improve our lives. We all have to take steps to be more completely conformed to the Lord’s teachings. In this particular situation, I have certainty that the young man is on the way of the Christian life and is conforming his life more and more to God’s plan. I was clear with him about the Church’s teaching when I spoke, but we need to have patience. Again, the only thing I request is to trust that I did not make this decision lightly or arbitrarily, and am in no way denying the Church’s teaching on this issue. - OSV
The Cardinal is very kind. 
The fact is that sometimes we have to live with situations that are objectively disordered, but we do so with the hope that the people are on the way of faith. - Schönborn
Is it the German Austrian culture?  Or just the Cardinals from those countries?  I ask after reading this from Cardinal Woelki:
"Commenting on gay men in relationships he said he tried not to see them as just violating natural law but as people trying to take responsibility for each other in lasting partnerships. We must find a way of allowing people to live without going against church teaching," - Woelki

You don't say.  I'm still confused.

I have to believe the issues both cardinals are addressing should be matters of pastoral care limited to individual situations, matters of conscience reserved for the confessional, not a proposed revision of Church teaching.  There already is a way of  'allowing people to live without going against Church teaching':  Chastity according to our state of life, for the single that means observing sexual abstinence, continence, and celibacy.  Likewise, living faithful lives by striving to keep the commandments, nourished by frequent recourse to the sacraments, prayer and good works, and good friendships.  These things are better than 'active participation' in parish life or sitting on any parish council. 

This is an interesting quote (not from a Catholic):
We need, in every community, a group of angelic troublemakers. - Bayard Rustin, Quaker gay activist

 It appears to be working in Germany and Austria.


  1. is it "misguided compassion"? I don't know. JESUS, meek and humble of Heart make our hearts like unto THINE! I'm confused by both statements (by Cardinal Schoeborn and Cardinal Woelki). I wonder whether they were taken out of context. I would have to read the German original to know. It's a fine line a very fine line to be both compassionate (as we are all called to be) and to clearly set forth the Church's teaching regarding chastity according to one's state in life. It's interesting we didn't seem to have this same problem 50 years ago. I mean that Cardinals said things and we were left to wonder what they mean't by that. It's part of the ambiguity of life in the "post conciliar" church...the "si si no no". I'm certain they (the cardinals) have good and holy motives and I don't question their intent it's just i'm left wondering what does this all mean? We need clarity not ambiguity.

    1. Servus - remember what the surrounding culture was like 50 years ago. I'm not saying the problems you point out don't exist, just the the *world* is radically different.

      Also, let's not forget that although the Church itself fought Nazism and extreme nationalism, back then there were quite a few Bishops and priests who were all too happy to ignore aspects of the "damalige Zeitgeist".

      My point though is that 50 years ago, there was not the amassed forces of media and government and sadly, religion (EKD, for example) pushing "gay is good". 50 years ago, a man with gay tendencies did not have the option of living a "fulfilled life" outside the Church, of ever being accepted as normal, etc. Today, it is easy to even belong to a purportedly Christian Church and live a gay lifestyle. Perhaps the Cardinal is saying that it's better to have him where the Church is radiating her influence on him, rather than have him in a position of hostility to the Church.

      I'm speculating of course, and trying to give the widest possible benefit of the doubt.

  2. Fr. Richard1:37 PM

    Do you think his answers show that he is still a good solid priest that has just been misrepresented by the media? Maybe- I hope that is what it is, but I have followed him since he was involved in the Catechism and I think he has been worn down by the liberals over the years which on a human level is understandable since the Catholics in Austria for the most part are INSANE! Please pray for him. That's the impression I got from a quick read, but I'm still not sure.

  3. Anonymous5:25 PM

    he is an exceptional person and priest being one who gave his residence castle since he is of a noble family in Austria. to seminarians who are being trained for missionary work in Asia.

  4. Terry, there is something I've been pondering since the whole spectacle with the parish council member hit the blogosphere.

    First, I'm wondering if there are any fine translation errors that could alter meaning.

    Secondly. if the translations are true, some parts of it sound like misplaced charity.

    In the first place, the man is living with another man, while openly admitting he has SSA. If the whole parish knows that he has SSA and is living in the same house as another man (even if chastely for, say, economic reasons), then should we allow a heterosexual man who lives with a woman for economic reasons, to also serve on parish council?

    While both Cardinals want to help people along in their faith journey, they need to be mindful of scandalizing others, leading them to think this is "okay"

    There is one other thing I do not understand about Catholics who want to follow Church teaching, but who also want their SSA known (i.e., gay pride). What if a man (or woman) has an attraction to small children, or to horses for that matter? Should they also tell the world of their particular attractions?

    I dunno, what is the point of "coming out?" It does seem to be rooted in some kind of pride for one's sexual orientation, as if it is on par with ethnicity or hair color. If we go back to the example of the man on the parish council, it would never have been an issue, if he had kept his disordered attractions between him and his confessor and spiritual director.

    I'm aware of Courage Apostolate, but wonder what it's position is on "coming out" for those who are still in the proverbial closet.

    If someone were known in the community as being an active on their SSA, and they had a conversion and desire to live chastely, I could understand the community knowing. It's incidental. In such a case, permitting them to serve in a leadership role within a parish, is scandalous if they continue to live with another person of the same sex.

    It's as if Card. Schonborn is okay with someone living in the near occasion of sin, while potentially scandalizing others.

    1. Darn! I just wrote a really long reply to you Diane and forgot to hit publish. I'll have to revisit this.

    2. I hate when that happens

  5. If any of you can get hold of the the last issue of "Latin Mass" magazine it sheds some light on this topic somewhat insofar as discussing the "Generational Spirits" that plague different generations and the way each generation thinks, acts and behaves and the consequences of it. It's really fascinating and eye opening. Both of these cardinals are baby boomer generation and that colours there experience and behaviour. Father Chad Ripperger FSSP wrote the article. Just a thought.

    1. Personally, I think the Germany is haunted - or worse...

  6. I am starting to think the online scrutiny of the ways in which others fall short of the glory of God must truly be a work of the enemy.
    As I spend my days in such pursuit, how on earth can I find time for God? How do I make time for corporal works of mercy?

    1. Excellent insight Maria - thank you very much. God bless!

  7. Maria,

    Moderation in all. Many say that we make time for what's important to us.

  8. Everything that need be said about Cdnl. Shonborn can be seen here... disrespect for the Eucharist, disrespect for the Mass, disrespect for Tradition. He disregards the dignity of his office and disregards his OBLIGATION to be a shepherd and teacher of orthodoxy...those are his main responsibilities; not to be a 'pastoral personality', and to be 'so nice'. Sorry, but the man is total train wreck.


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