Monday, January 18, 2010


Someone (preferably a figure of authority in the Congregation for Divine Worship) should inform this man that yellow is not a liturgical colour, nor is blue; and that the use of kiddie balloons is not prescribed by the rubrics of any liturgical ceremony, past or present, known to the Catholic Church.

This is the same Schönborn who only a few weeks ago granted a Catholic funeral to the perverted artist and self-described Stalinist Alfred Hrdlicka, who undertook a visit to Medjugorje without taking the trouble to inform the local ordinary, Mgr. Ratko Peric, thereby lending that nest of racketeers a boost of credibility at precisely the time that the Holy See is preparing the Church to distance herself from what is undoubtedly a manifest hoax, and who at home has presided over some decidedly gruesome liturgical atrocities, at precisely the same time as our Holy Father is attempting to restore a modicum of dignity and solemnity to the post-conciliar Mass. Each step taken by the Holy See to repair the damage wrought by the ‘Spirit of Vatican II’ is countered by a step in the opposite direction by Schönborn and that with the most remarkable if not coincidental timing. Perhaps the man is merely prone to making the most unfortunate gaffes, but it looks more as though his words and actions indicate an ideological agenda at variance with the Benedictine restoration of the Church. Astonishingly, not a few Catholics seem to think that this man is solidly on our side, God knoweth how. There is even a website devoted to him which, although not quite in the same league as the former Cardinal Ratzinger Fan Club, is nonetheless a worrying testament to the esteem in which he is held. During the latter years of John Paul II, Schönborn was described as papabile by innumerable publications, and the aura of misplaced mystique surrounding this vastly overrated prelate has still not been extinguished.

Christoph Schönborn was born in 1945. As of this January 22, he is 65 years old—still young and vigorous enough, and popular enough, to be a threat at the conclave which shall choose the successor to Benedict XVI. Despite his chances having been talked up by both Catholic and secular sources in advance of the 2005 conclave, he seems never to have been in the running, and in the end the Church was blessed with Papa Ratzinger instead. But what of the future? A few years ago Milan’s Tettamanzi was touted by conservative sources as a great catch, and what wonders wouldn’t he do for the Church were he raised to the throne of Peter! He might not be a screaming liberal in the vein of his predecessor Carlo Maria Martini, but fortunately the man’s open ambition as well as his questionable views on homosexuality were sufficient to prevent the scandal of a Tettamanzi pontificate. We need the same thing to happen again in the case of Christoph Schönborn, because the election of a pope is as much about keeping the wrong man out as it is about getting the right man in.

If Schönborn were elected, we would have a John Paul III, even if this were not the name chosen by the new pope. Like his namesake he would be generally orthodox, especially on issues pertaining to life and the family. But he would be politically confused, and inclined for some ill-thought-out idealism to favour the Left. He might be given to making regrettable concessions on that account. He might be as ecumenically unfortunate as his namesake, and prone to making the most inopportune overtures to liberal protestants, to secular Jews, to Muslims and even to pagans. His liturgical sense would be non-existent, at least if his track record in the Archdiocese of Vienna is anything to go by. And since he is young (relatively speaking), we could expect his pontificate to be a long one. His rule over the Church would be lenient to the point of negligence. Time perhaps for the Benedictine reform of the Church and of the liturgy to be put on hold for a while; time for a new breath of life to be breathed into the ailing revolution. Holy God forfend.

The only difference Melancholicus can see between John Paul II and this putative ‘John Paul III’ is that in the pontificate of the former, the revolutionaries were both more vigorous and more numerous. As of this writing, death and retirement have—Deo gratias—removed a good many of them from the scene. But the Mystical Body must be built up by example, exhortation and action; while the house lies in ruins it is not sufficient to be content that the wreckers are fewer in number than hitherto.

Melancholicus does not wish to shove his oar in in electing the next pope, so he shall propose no ideal candidate. That is a matter for the Holy Ghost and for the Cardinal electors.

But we can do better than Christoph Schönborn.

A great deal better.

UPDATE: a much fuller and even more depressing summary of Cardinal Schönborn’s trespasses is provided here.

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