We are underfunded by over 50% this month. $16,946 short—a serious deficit. Your support needed NOW!
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org

Is Cardinal Schönborn coping? Or just backpedaling?

By Phil Lawler (bio - articles - email) | May 01, 2012

The open rebellion among the Catholic clergy of Austria, and the fact that Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has taken no disciplinary action against the rebels, leads Christa Pongratz-Lippitt to pose a question in a National Catholic Reporter column:

Is Austria, led by Schönborn, perhaps becoming a testing ground on how to cope with some of the chief dilemmas facing Catholic priests in their pastoral work today?

That seems a reasonable question. But it assumes that Cardinal Schönborn is coping with the challenges facing the Church in a secularized European society. Is he?

When Austrian priests issued a “Call to Disobedience,” urging their colleagues to challenge Church teachings. Cardinal Schönborn chided them, saying that he was “shocked” by their open defiance, but did not envision disciplinary action. Then the dissident priests raised the stakes, saying that they had been ignoring “certain valid and strict church rulings for years.” Now the cardinal warned against “an open break.” He said: “Disobedience is a fighting word that cannot go unchallenged.” Still he did not take disciplinary action. Most recently Cardinal Schönborn has captured attention by approving the membership of a openly practicing homosexual on a parish council.

There’s no question that Catholic bishops and priests in Austria are facing the toughest challenges that the Church confronts today, from secularism without and dissent within. The question is whether Cardinal Schönborn is actually coping with those challenges, or yielding to the onslaught.

An appeal from our founder, Dr. Jeffrey Mirus:

Dear reader: If you found the information on this page helpful in your pursuit of a better Catholic life, please support our work with a donation. Your donation will help us reach seven million Truth-seeking readers worldwide this year. Thank you!

Progress toward our January expenses ($16,946 to go):
$35,000.00 $18,053.70
48% 52%
Sound Off! CatholicCulture.org supporters weigh in.

All comments are moderated. To lighten our editing burden, only current donors are allowed to Sound Off. If you are a donor, log in to see the comment form; otherwise please support our work, and Sound Off!

Show 4 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: John J Plick - May. 02, 2012 12:01 PM ET USA

    This “white flag” concept concerns me.Any man who has served in the military knows that any traitor caught and convicted during wartime is almost always executed, and that by his fellows. It is simple logic that any rebel in the ranks, whether covert or more explicit, can do much damage, with the ability to destroy the lives of others and to seriously compromise the legitimate goals of the commanders. It is one thing to “struggle with sin” It is quite another to actively cooperate with the enemy

  • Posted by: Defender - May. 01, 2012 6:51 PM ET USA

    But how different really is Schonborn from Wuerl, O'Malley, Sartain, etc? One gets rid of a priest doing his job (and ignores politicians and universities conducting themselves in contradiction to the Faith), another overturned the ruling of one his priests in dealing with a gay couple's child in school (and school indifference to the Faith), and another had priests defy his request to gather signatures in defense of marriage. What is the common thread?

  • Posted by: extremeCatholic - May. 01, 2012 5:31 PM ET USA

    A more disturbing trend is for bishops to respond to criticism by suspending or reassigning priests who act without malice but in a way that explodes in the media as "insensitivity" against a favored group. Cutting priests like this off at the knees is certain to encourage any priest to say "yes" to anything a homosexual asks for, knowing that the bishop has the "back" of the homosexual.

  • Posted by: samuel.doucette1787 - May. 01, 2012 4:35 PM ET USA

    He seems to be raising the white flag. All words and no action, or worse the wrong action.

Subscribe for free
Click here to advertise on CatholicCulture.org
Shop Amazon

Recent Catholic Commentary

Snowbound thoughts on natural law 6 hours ago
The best argument against the 'celibate gay Catholics' 20 hours ago
Church Fathers: St. Polycarp and St. Papias January 24
On News Both Good and Fun January 23
Guess who thinks Pope Francis shouldn't give so many interviews? January 23

Top Catholic News

Most Important Stories of the Last 30 Days
Pope Francis names 20 new cardinals CWN - January 5
In ‘state of the world’ address, Pope decries ‘throwaway culture’ CWN - January 12