- Jan 23, 2021
Speaking to a network of Catholic politicians, Pope Francis asked them to promulgate and apply laws that build bridges of dialogue between diverse political perspectives, particularly when their purpose is to promote greater care for the defenseless and the marginalized, “especially towards the many who are forced to leave their homeland.”
Pope Francis has declared Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna to be the “authoritative interpreter” of ‘Amoris Laetitia,’ the papal document on marriage and family. Schönborn spent hours explaining it during a visit to Ireland this week.
Twenty years ago, Catholicism in Austria was in crisis, with bitter internal divisions exacerbating the toll of centuries of intense secularization. Today things seem far calmer, and, despite it all, the Church in Austria still retains a unique capacity to bring diverse people together and put them into serious conversation about things that matter.
At a time when political ties between the United States and Europe seem to be unraveling, exacerbated by Trump’s recent decision to abandon the Paris climate change agreement, there’s a case to be made that in Catholic terms, the “Atlantic alliance” is actually strong and getting stronger.
Early in his career, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, Austria, was seen as a conservative protégé of Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, while today he’s mostly viewed as a progressive ally of Pope Francis. Rather than any fundamental shift in himself or the Church, Schönborn says, what that illustrates is the inadequacy of the categories of ‘left v. right’ to begin with.
Although some critics of Pope Francis worry that the cautious opening to Communion for divorced and civilly remarried believers in his document ‘Amoris Laetitia’ signals a more permissive stance on the breakdown of marriage, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn says that if the document is taken seriously, its call to discernment in the West will actually counteract an overly “lax” tendency.