Confusing news reports are giving the
impression that the Vatican’s top brass are at war with each other over the sex
abuse scandal. It was widely reported that Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, of
Vienna, had openly attacked the Vatican’s former secretary of state, Cardinal Angelo
Sodano. The source of the stories, The Tablet, was relying on
articles in Austrian newspapers which summarised the cardinal’s remarks to
journalists on April 28.

The head of the Austrian Church has
launched an attack of one of the most senior cardinals in the Vatican, saying
that Cardinal Angelo Sodano, dean of the College of Cardinals, “deeply wronged”
the victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy when he dismissed media reports
of the scandal. In a meeting with editors of the main Austrian daily newspapers
last week, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, also said
the Roman Curia was “urgently in need of reform”, and that lasting gay
relationships deserved respect. He reiterated his view that the Church needs to
reconsider its position on re-married divorcees.

A check of Italian and Austrian
newspapers  made it clear that  Cardinal Schönborn seems mightily
annoyed with the retired Cardinal Sodano. It appears that he also believes that
Sodano derailed attempts to expose the perfidy of the founder of the Legionaries
of Christ, Fr Marcial Maciel.

Portuguese Cardinal Jose Saraiva Martins, prefect emeritus of the
Congregation for the Causes of Saints told an Italian website about Catholic
affairs, Pontifex,
that Schönborn’s scathing remarks were

“A brother priest should have and could used other methods, not
accusations in such a harsh way in the newspapers. From this point of view,
while understanding his good intentions he has not rendered a great service to
the church. To be honest, I would not have done things that way and I regret

Michael Cook

Michael Cook is the editor of MercatorNet. He lives in Sydney, Australia.