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Cardinal permits man in homosexual partnership to serve on parish council

April 02, 2012

Overruling one of his parish priests, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna has permitted a homosexual in a registered domestic partnership to serve on a parish council.

Father Gerhard Swierzek, the parish priest of a small parish in the archdiocese, had refused to allow Florian Stangl, 26, to serve on the council. Stangl, who is disabled, had obtained 96 out of 142 votes in a recent parish council election.

The archdiocese had initially backed Father Swierzek, releasing a statement that living in a domestic partnership precludes one from serving on a parish council.

Cardinal Schönborn said that he had initially intended to uphold the priest’s decision--but then, he said, “I ask myself in these situations: How did Jesus act? He first saw the human being.”

Calling his decision “a decision for human beings,” the cardinal recounted that he invited Stangl and his partner to lunch and understood “why the community had given him the most votes, because he is really impressive.”

“This man is at the right place,” the cardinal said of Stangl.


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  • Posted by: demark8616 - Apr. 10, 2012 12:28 AM ET USA

    "Therefore special concern and pastoral attention should be directed toward those who have this condition, lest they be led to believe that the living out of this orientation in homosexual activity is a morally acceptable option. It is not." "In Romans 1:18-32,... Paul uses homosexual behaviour as an example of the blindness which has overcome humankind." LETTER TO THE BISHOPS OF THE CATHOLIC CHURCH ON THE PASTORAL CARE OF HOMOSEXUAL PERSONS

  • Posted by: demark8616 - Apr. 10, 2012 12:07 AM ET USA

    "Cardinal Schönborn sounds like he has gone off of the deep end." Hear, hear! The comments here make every point that could be made in regard to this, once more, sad scandal for our beloved Church. We can only pray that the damage control . . "will be swift and decisive."

  • Posted by: veniteadoremus1822 - Apr. 03, 2012 5:05 PM ET USA

    Surely there must be some other information that is known to the Cardinal that has not been dissemninated.

  • Posted by: shrink - Apr. 03, 2012 3:50 PM ET USA

    Here's a question for the moot court. What is more theologically problematic, permitting an active gay to sit on a parish council or to offer Mass in the sanctuary? I believe the clerics like Schonborn have subscribed to the following principle for some time, to wit: never stand between a man and his sexual pleasures, whether he be a layman or a priest.

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Apr. 03, 2012 2:47 PM ET USA

    "Oh what the hell!" Right, Cardinal Shonborn?

  • Posted by: - Apr. 03, 2012 8:23 AM ET USA

    Two Cardinals now, dismissing a serious mortal sin, shows me at least that our Church surely is in the process of dying (it'll never completely die). Maybe it will rise on Easter Sunday?

  • Posted by: Joseph Paul - Apr. 03, 2012 6:16 AM ET USA

    But the Cardinal is at the wrong place to put it politely.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 03, 2012 1:03 AM ET USA

    What nonsense. Cardinal Schönborn sounds like he has gone off of the deep end. He needs a refresher course in Church dogma and if that does not work, then he should be retired. Hopefully the reaction from the Vatican will be swift and decisive.

  • Posted by: Bernadette - Apr. 02, 2012 11:30 PM ET USA

    This is the same cardinal who has done nothing as far as we know about the 400+ priest dissidents in Austria who have formed an alliance and fly in the face of Church teaching on sexual morality, marriage, etc...and who allows the Blessed Sacrament to be profaned by beer garden Masses, clown Masses, and the like. He was the main editor of the Catechism of the Catholic Church and I had such hopes for him and at one time considered him pope material - no more!

  • Posted by: Nuage - Apr. 02, 2012 8:49 PM ET USA

    Since most of us have active homosexuals in ministry in our parishes (i.e., the vast majority of music ministers in parishes today) and we all know that they are co-habiting with their lovers - pastors know this - it's time to confront our brothers who are openly engaged in this sin and to lovingly explain the consequences, and point out that it IS, in fact,a deadly sin. None of us will be excused for failing to do so, least of all the priests among us. We all see the elephant in the room.

  • Posted by: wsw33410 - Apr. 02, 2012 8:38 PM ET USA

    SHAME! This Cardinal is unable to handle his own 400+ priests, openly defying the Catholic Church teaching: advocating women priesthood and fighting against celibacy - - his public support for the homosexual activists and chastising good priests seems to be in line with his lack of leadership and moral stand.

  • Posted by: phineas - Apr. 02, 2012 7:28 PM ET USA

    "a decision for human beings" Would that it were a decision for the immortal souls of those human beings. Human is good to the extent that it is kept in relation to the spirit. When the spirit is ignored, or denied, or relegated, human becomes monstrous. Surely an acceptance of monstrous behavior is a denial of the spirit. Both men in this sad news item seem to be in grave jeopardy, unless there is more to this story.

  • Posted by: florentine - Apr. 02, 2012 7:03 PM ET USA

    Okay, this is why the Catholic Church has had so many scandals and problems over the last many decades. The Cardinal is completely out of line and greatly undermining the Catholic Church beliefs and teachings, not to mention the same from Scripture. No matter how "impressive" an active homosexual may be, he is still going against Scriptural and Catholic teachings, beliefs, admonitions. Failing to stand for what is right, even when the perpetrator is "impressive," is cause for scandal and shame.

  • Posted by: Contrary1995 - Apr. 02, 2012 6:01 PM ET USA

    The Zetgeist has taken possession of the cardinal's soul.

  • Posted by: Frodo1945 - Apr. 02, 2012 4:11 PM ET USA

    Who cares if we go to heaven or hell as long as we are really impressive. How long O Lord?

  • Posted by: DCpa - Apr. 02, 2012 2:54 PM ET USA

    Well, one good thing (scant but actual consolation) is that Cardinal Schonborn will now NEVER be elected Pope. He has also succeeded in signaling to anyone of orthodoxy – including Pope Benedict – that he has nothing beneficial to add to any discussion of church matters anymore. A sort of anti-Nihil Obstat--OMNIA OBSTANT!

  • Posted by: pechacon7975 - Apr. 02, 2012 1:20 PM ET USA

    The Cardinal decision is sad and yet true, Christ would act in the same way, but I would ask Cardinal Schönborn, would Christ our Lord allow the individual to continue to commit acts against God and nature in his name? The absoluteness of Christ's goodness would not allow him to act any other way, and at the same time, would Christ bring in a thief and allow him to continue to steal. This is a subordination of the Gospels, allowing an individual to continue to sin in the name of the Church is simply wrong and actually goes against the Father. Why have confession and thus penance, if all we need to do is look at the human being.

  • Posted by: Defender - Apr. 02, 2012 1:10 PM ET USA

    What is it with cardinals lately? Cardinal Wuerl and Father Guarnizo and now this? Scandal doesn't mean anything anymore, does it?

  • Posted by: Te_Deum - Apr. 02, 2012 11:14 AM ET USA

    Might be a good idea to watch the Bollettino after Easter to see if Pope Benedict has another private audience with Cardinal Schonborn. He needs one.

  • Posted by: - Apr. 02, 2012 11:02 AM ET USA

    "He may be living a gravely sinful lifestyle but he sure is nice in an interview!" They just love to scandalize the faithful. If it's not one thing its another.

  • Posted by: andrew5631 - Apr. 02, 2012 9:06 AM ET USA

    One can't hep but feel sympathy for Fr. Swierzek. What are his chances of having the cardinal's actions interpreted as anything but a correction for his narrow-mindedness and homophobia? That parish has a difficult road ahead of it.

  • Posted by: meor2day8658 - Apr. 02, 2012 7:32 AM ET USA

    Unbelievable. "What would Jesus do?" Wouldn't Jesus also say "Go and sin no more?" What kind of message does this send to the laity in the pew, who are already confused by the myriad of mixed messages we are getting from some of our bishops, cardinals and priests? There is a lack of consistency on what lifestyles are sinful and which ones are not. We are duty bound, with love and charity, call those who are living in sin to break free from its bondage.