Cardinal Schönborn: “Fresh Spring Wind in the Church” with Pope Francis

“Through Pope Francis, Christ has sent us a fresh spring wind in the Church,” said Cardinal Christoph Schönborn at the Blessing of Palms in Vienna. One senses that “Christ is with us along the way.”

Cardinal Schönborn summarized his impressions of the first days of the new pope in Rome, saying that what so moved the people in St. Peter’s Square about Pope Francis is his “simplicity, humility, and straightforwardness.” He added, “Humility makes us free.”

Schönborn said that the pope’s freedom, sovereignty, and spontaneity comes from a deep source, from prayer. At table in St. Martha’s House, Pope Francis told the Viennese archbishop that he gets up at 4:30 every day in order to have two hours of “quiet time” for prayer.

Cardinal Schönborn concluded by saying, “In this spring-like atmosphere in the church, we may look full of joy at Christ, who shows us the way to life, beyond the Cross to Easter morning.”

Source: Katholische Presseagentur Österreich


  1. If Francis decides to appoint people with similar backgrounds to his own to head curial dicasteries and otherwise to help with reform, i.e. people with pastoral experience as diocesan bishops, Christoph Schönborn would be an obvious candidate.

  2. I agree. I am also pleased to see that the tide of popular opinion in favor of the new pope is not an opportunity being overlooked through an over-abundance of caution. When the news is good, and the general atmosphere is hopeful, it is time to engage people pastorally, and build on their positive feelings and hopes. Yes, the springtime is awakening!

    I don’t think this means a loss of practical wisdom. One of the outstanding moments in Schoenborn’s recent past was his act in kneeling down, with members of We Are Church, in penitence, at a liturgy concerning the sex abuse crisis. He knows well that symbolic gestures are important, as does Pope Francis. But I think they both are aware that gestures need to be followed up by action.

  3. I am torn! While I am drawn to and quite appreciative of what some on this blog derisively (I think) refer to as the papal court and the feudal and monarchical social structures (and strictures!) surrounding the papacy, there is another face which I have long, very long, thought was desperately needed, namely, that our holy father should be a monk of much humbler surroundings, ceremony and etiquette – the proverbial ‘holy man.’ Truthfully, I am drawn to both sides of this coin in equal measure, as though the one was not complete without its complimentary other half. Indeed, embodying both would present the whole Christ, who is Good Shepherd, Friend of the Homeless, Healer of the Sick, etc., and at the same time is Christ the King, the Great High Priest, Pantocrator, Rex Universorum, and Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace, etc., etc. Perhaps it would be fitting if Holy Father Francis would move out of his hotel and have a humble hermitage built within the Vatican grounds where he would live, work, and pray, while being accessible to any and all. He could then use the grand rooms of the apostolic palace for state ocassions and diplomatic affairs when appropriate. I like almost everything about his papacy, so far. I do, though, fear greatly that he will be indifferent (hopefully not hostile) to the great improvements in liturgical praxis and music which are in sore need of wise guidance, just as much as are the needs of other ministries which have thus far been brought to our attention.

    As for the suggestion of someone above who thought that the Apostolic Palace should be sold and the money given to the poor. First of all, in the event that it would be ‘sellable’ and a buyer could be found, it isn’t likely that the funds from the sale would feed ‘the poor’ for very long – and then what? – we would have lost a treasure which belonged to the poor and to all of us. Let them who are always wanting to spend worship money on the poor and sell this, that and the other – let them sell their own stuff.

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