In the I Can't Believe He Really Said That Department comes this story from the London Tablet, in which Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, is reported to have leveled an "attack" on Cardinal Angelo Sodano, one of the most senior officials in the Curia, for Sodano's response to the sex abuse crisis. And, as if that's not enough, the Austrian archbishop has also called for the church to re-evaluate its stance on long-term gay relationships and remarried Catholics. Seems to me that the ecclesial infighting has intensified. On those last two topics (gays and remarried Catholics) let's see how long it takes for (a) the Vatican to distance itself from Schönborn's comments; or (b) Schönborn himself to say he was misquoted. If (b) doesn't happen, don't be surprised if he starts turning up at your local Voice of the Faithful meeting. Here's the Tablet:
The head of the Austrian Church has launched an attack of one of the most senior cardinals in the Vatican, saying that Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, “deeply wronged” the victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy when he dismissed media reports of the scandal. In a meeting with editors of the main Austrian daily newspapers last week, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, also said the Roman Curia was “urgently in need of reform”, and that lasting gay relationships deserved respect. He reiterated his view that the Church needs to reconsider its position on re-married divorcees.
On Easter Day, Cardinal Sodano called the mounting reports of clerical sex abuse “petty gossip”. This had “deeply wronged the victims”, Cardinal Schönborn said, and he recalled that it was Cardinal Sodano who had prevented Joseph Ratzinger, then a cardinal, from investigating allegations of abuse made against Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer, the previous Archbishop of Vienna, who resigned in disgrace in 1995.
Cardinal Schönborn said that Pope Benedict was “gently” working on reforming the Curia but he had the whole world on his desk, as the cardinal put it, and his way of working and his style of communication did not make it easy to advise him quickly from outside.
Cardinal Schönborn studied under Joseph Ratzinger at Regensburg University and is known to be close to him.
Questioned on the Church’s attitude to homosexuals, the cardinal said: “We should give more consideration to the quality of homosexual relationships,” adding: “A stable relationship is certainly better than if someone chooses to be promiscuous.”
The cardinal also said the Church needed to reconsider its view of re-married divorcees “as many people don’t even marry at all any longer”.