|Cardinal Schönborn discusses decision to go to Medjugorje|
For more than two decades, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna has been one of the Churchs most influential prelates, with his work as the primary author of the Catechism of the Catholic Church affecting the life and the teaching of the Church around the world. In recent years, however, he has also been at the hub of controversy. In mid-June, the cardinal delivered an address at the Language and Catechetical Institutes Twentieth Anniversary Conference in Gaming, Austria. There, Our Sunday Visitor had a chance to sit down with the cardinal and talk with him about those controversies, as well as his perspective on the state of the New Evangelization.
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?
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 Lords 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 Gods plan. I was clear with him about the Churchs 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 Churchs teaching on this issue.
OSV: Your decision to accompany pilgrims to Medjugorje has surprised some people, especially given the statements coming out of the local diocese and Rome that have questioned the authenticity of the apparitions. Could you give us some insight into how you approach this question and about how we can approach it as well?
OSV: A group of Austrian priests have drawn quite a bit of attention to themselves, including being singled out by Pope Benedict in his Holy Thursday remarks, by publicly voicing their opposition to key Church teachings on the priesthood, marriage and sexuality. How have you been handling these priests and do you see your approach changing anytime soon?
OSV: What are the obstacles and opportunities for the New Evangelization in Europe?
OSV: When looking at the current climate for the New Evangelization in Europe and in America, do you see any differences between the two?
Cardinal Schönborn: I love America but I am not sure if I know enough to fully address that question. I can say that you in the States are at some advantage as people are much more churched there than people are in Europe. Church attendance is much more natural, and there is more practicing of the Faith. But, despite that, generally speaking, I think the situation of announcing the Gospel is everywhere similar because the Gospel is for all. The human heart is waiting for the Gospel everywhere. It corresponds to the deepest desires of the heart.
OSV: As we approach the Year of Faith, what is important for Catholics to keep in mind?
Cardinal Schönborn: It may be helpful to think about what Paul says, and that is that we can lose faith. Faith is a gift. Its a relationship to a person, to Jesus. Its having trust in him, its a commitment to him. And if you dont treat this friend well, if you neglect him, you may lose the friendship. Not from his side, but from our side. Therefore, the most important thing for the Year of Faith is to cultivate a true friendship with Jesus every day. This is Pope Benedicts constant invitation to us.
Emily Stimpson is an OSV contributing editor
|Last Updated ( Tuesday, 07 August 2012 )|
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