Cdl Schonborn: Loose Canon

Diane Korzeniewski writes:

Cardinal Schonborn is hosting the visionaries of Medjugorje once again and the entity which has not yet been deemed the Blessed Virgin Mary by the Church is to “bless viewers online”.  What is particularly saddening is that this is a continued rupture with tradition in how alleged apparitions, prior to approval at any level of the Church, have been treated by members of the Catholic hierarchy.  In the past, it was not only unthinkable for visionaries of unapproved apparitions  to be given such attention in a diocesan cathedral.  We should also ponder  the disrespect it shows not only for the bishop of Mostar,  but for the entire bishops conferences of Bosnia and Herzegovina, as well as that of Croatia.  Where do we see a bishop, of any diocese of the former Yugoslavia,  permitting visionaries of Medjugorje to have visions in a parish church or cathedral?  What is the prudence of such a thing, especially when there is an international commission now studying the matter?  The Papal Nuncio to Bosnia and Herzegovina made clear to the people of that country that the Holy Father considers Medjugorje,a question for which he feels responsible as the supreme head of the Church to pronounce a clear message.”

I don’t get that guy.  He acts more like a flake all the time.

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  • Tominellay

    …amazingly irresponsible of the cardinal; this is unnecessary…

  • Mark Tardiff

    In your title, are you jokingly referring to the Cardinal playing fast and loose with canon law? Or did you mean that he is a loose cannon?

    • Mark Shea

      It was a pun.

  • Ben

    I’ve heard that he is a contender for the Papacy. That’s a scary thought in light of this.

    • I wouldn’t worry about it. The Holy Spirit has it under control.

    • A Random Friar

      I would say he was papabile for the last election. After all this, and the mess with the priests in Austria, his star has fallen.

  • Jerry

    I thought only an ordained person ie a priest could bless people or objects!
    I was unaware ‘Our Lady’ was able to do this!!

    • I bless my kids every night, so I hope not. Our Lady certainly couldn’t give a priestly blessing. I’m pretty sure that’s not the only kind of blessing.

      • chris

        There is a difference between blessings. The blessings that the laity can offer are real, by virtue of sharing in the priesthood of all believers. Our ability to sanctify consists in an invocation of the Lord at a particular instance to confer grace upon a person or thing. The blessing offered by a priest is different in that he has been given the authority to consecrate things, by virtue of his ordination. A priest can bless things like a lay person, since he is baptized, but he can also solemnly sanctify something for the service of the Lord – by the power already given him.

      • Joshua

        We may, as laity, of course pray for God’s blessing upon anyone. But we can do more than “invocation” in two cases. One is, in a handful of instances, when the Church delegates laity to impart blessings. In the current liturgical books this can happen with Ashes on Ash Wednesday, for example. Though “EHMC blessings” don’t have any real status. For that matter, the Church can delegate laity to impart indulgences and all sorts of things.

        The other case is when one who is superior blesses an inferior…a bishop his priest certainly, but a mother prioress the sisters in her charge, or a father/mother their offspring.

        • Rosemarie


          If a mother can bless her children, then Our Lady can certainly bless us. It’s a maternal blessing, not a sacerdotal one.

        • Chris

          Good points. But just to clarify, these are not the blessings of lay people per se, but the laity for a fixed purpose can participate in this portion of the sacerdotal ministry, by way a kind of dispensation. Thus we cannot bless with ashes, except insofar as we are an extension of the priesthood of Christ. This is quite different from parental invocations that have no stipulations or rubrics.

  • Barb N

    I have met Card. Schonborn, and have heard him speak. He is not a flake, nor a loose cannon. At the same time, I don’t know what is going on in this. Maybe the visionaries are just going to do their usual spiel about praying from the heart and doing real penance?

  • Joshua

    I should add. Most certainly it is one thing to bless your own child, quite another to bless his rosary. Constitutive blessings remain the province of the Church and her ministers.

  • Jerry

    Sorry, everyone. This was what caught my eye when reading the Medjugorje article!
    “And the religious items they have with them that they would like Our Lady to bless”. Does this not imply that this is a blessing the same as a sacrament, maybe I’ve got it wrong!

  • Petra

    I live in Vienna and am myself rather a Medjugorje sceptic, but let’s put some things straight: This not some unique event but part of a series of prayer meetings that have been held yearly for about five years now in Vienna’s St Stephen’s Cathedral and are styled “prayers for peace”. They are organized by the Medjugorje-inspired prayer movement “Oase des Friedens” (Oasis of Peace) and are called “Message for You!” (English in the original).

    That Cdl Schönborn has been quite a supporter of Medjugorje is not news. Maybe he could behave more prudently, not associating himself so directly with the seers and their messages. Still, even though I am a Medju sceptic myself, I think you could hardly call the Cardinal a “loose cannon” or even a “flake” based on such an event.

    In fact, Mark, I think it’s rather disrespectful to resort to name-calling towards a prince of the Church, whose personality and motives you hardly know. There are of course many elements of the Cardinal’s leadership and behavior that could be criticized (not at all having to do with Medjugorje though, but with other things), but always in an informed and respectful way.

  • kim wing

    I was blessed by this mass. Let us pray for Our Priests and respect them as the Virgin Mary reminds us that God called them.