NEWS: February 27, 2012
Bird’s Eye View of the News
Atila Sinke Guimarães
SCHONBORN’S “PROPHECIES” - The preferred disciple of Benedict XVI, Cardinal Christoph von Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, called a press conference on January 16, 2012, to announce that the Catholic Church is on the brink of a radical internal change. These words, coming from someone who is considered a “conservative” candidate to the papacy, take on special interest. Below, I list Schonborn’s main points:
- The Church that Austrian Catholics had become accustomed to is “a thing of the past.”
- “The time has come to face the changes that have taken place in society in a far more serious way than we have up until now.”
Schonborn's new statements point to the same goals Ratzinger set out 42 years ago
Therefore, Card. Schonborn is telling Catholics that the very “nature of the Church” will be changing very soon to become “freer,” more similar to the world and with a “slimmer” structure. Each one of these points is open to interpretation as to what it means and how it will be implemented.
- Vatican II had already provided the impetus for inserting the Church in a free society, but an enormous amount of work still needs to be done, which will change the nature of the Church.
- “Today we live in a culture of freedom, and this is a very good thing since it is when we are free that we are most like God.”
- “Freedom is the best starting point for the convincing, believing and fortifying Church of the future - which will look quite different from the Church we have known up to now.”
- In a free society with its manifold possibilities, the Church will be just one player among many others.
- Parishes will be larger and “slimmer” in structure.
- “Do not think that this [new departure] is a trivial matter for me as a Bishop responsible for it. It means saying goodbye to the Church of my childhood… But reality leaves us no other choice.” (The Tablet, January 21, 2012, p. 27)
Although the news report I have does not explain clearly how these spectacular changes will take place - probably the Cardinal did not offer these details either - one can see that he considered this the right time to unveil such an agenda: “The time has come to face the changes…” Has Schonborn soared on the wings of some mystical reverie that led him to assume the role of prophet of Progressivism, speaking without followers? I think that nothing in his previous behavior authorizes us to believe that.
He has been a very efficient agent to implement many of the bold novelties of Vatican II without losing touch with reality. For example, I believe that Vienna is today one of the most advanced Dioceses in the world fostering the cultural revolution in the Church; it is perhaps surpassed only by the Diocese of Linz, also under the jurisdiction of Card. Schonborn. At present, he goes as far as he can in the progressivist reform without losing his public support. So, if he is a man with the feet in reality, why did he issue this announcement of still much more radical changes in the Church?
Above, Card. Schonborn with "rock priest" Fr. Gilbert; below,the Auxiliary Bishop of Vienna saying a rock Mass
First, on the practical level, he obviously wants to let the Catholics under his jurisdiction know that he will enforce these radical changes from now on.
Second, on the strategic level, it certainly seems that the sand is running low in the hourglass of reforms. It is my opinion that he, like many other progressivists, realizes that their agenda is taking too long to be fulfilled. This slowness must spawn a general frustration among progressivists.
To have an idea, consider that already in 1970, 42 years ago, then Fr. Joseph Ratzinger made similar “prophecies in his book Faith and Future (Glaube und Zukunft).” Let me call to mind some of them:
“From today’s crisis, a Church will emerge tomorrow that will have lost a great deal. She will be small and … will have to start from the beginning. She no longer will be able to fill many of the buildings created in her period of great splendor … Contrary to what has happened until now, she will present herself much more as a community of volunteers …
"As a small community, she will demand much more from the initiative of each of her members, and she will also certainly acknowledge new forms of ministry and raise up proven Christians who have a calling to the priesthood. The normal care of souls will be made by smaller communities, in social groups with some affinity. …
"This will be achieved with effort. The process of crystallization and clarification will demand a great effort. It will make her a poor Church and a Church of the little people … All this will require time. The process will be slow and painful” (J. Ratzinger, Fé e futuro, Petrópolis: Vozes, 1971, pp. 76-7).
Comparing the “prophecies” of both the master Joseph Ratzinger and the disciple Christoph Schonborn, we are led to say that, 42 years later, when Ratzinger sits in the Seat of Peter and still cannot accomplish this entire destruction of the Church, Schonborn’s affliction seems to increase as he sees the days of the Ratzinger’s pontificate getting shorter and shorter.
But many points of this destructive agenda have been achieved. Let me point out just a few:
- The little interest generated by the New Mass combined with a tedious adhesion to Progressivism among Catholics has produced a disastrous diminution in Mass attendance. Consequently, parishes are closing and what is left of the faithful is been merged together in larger parishes.
Women masquerading as priests in Linz
We have seen all these novelties put into practice in the Conciliar Church, giving it a physiognomy quite different from the Catholic Church we knew and love. This demolition we see around us today, however, does not match the stage of destruction predicted by Ratzinger 40 years ago and announced by Schonborn this January. It seems we should be prepared for something much more radical that will change the actual “nature of the Church.”
- Under the not-so-convincing pretext of the lack of funds, dioceses worldwide are selling churches for profane uses – to become hotels, restaurants, libraries and even nightclubs - or giving them to Protestants, Schismatics and Muslims; but, let me note in passing, they are never given or sold to Traditionalists.
- The general apostasy in the clergy and religious orders, the growing homosexuality in those who remain and the devastating effects of the pedophilia in their ranks has caused seminaries and monasteries to become almost empty. They are closing their building, and handing over historic art objects and libraries to universities or cultural/historical departments of the State.
- The lack of priests has also created everywhere a “justification” to increase the number of deacons, who are assuming much of the work the priests used to execute; their wives are also assuming many of these tasks.
- The same pretext of lack of priests is used to “explain” the ever-increasing number of women on the altar as lectors, ministers of Eucharist, directors of liturgy and general animators during Mass. In some places they are also “presiding” over “religious services” without a priest, preaching and blessing the congregation as if they were priests.
This probably will take place in the ecclesiastical structure we know today - parishes, dioceses, the Holy See.
Could it also include a change in the very structure of the Papacy, by establishing not just one Pope, but three, four or five popes carrying out their roles simultaneously in different parts of the world?
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