Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, the Dominican Archbishop of Vienna and long-time confidant of Pope Benedict XVI, seems to have a knack for creating controversy, but, in this case, also an evident knack for being a human being.
An openly gay man, who is in a registered civil partnership with another man, was elected to his parish council. The pastor over-ruled the selection. The Cardinal met with the man and his partner over lunch and then over-ruled the pastor, permitting the man to serve on the parish council. The cardinal said that having met the young man, he understood "why the community had given him the most votes, because he is really impressive.” Ask yourself how Cardinal Schonborn's method - whatever you think of his decision - compares with that of Bishop McManus of Worcester who declined to meet with Vicki Kennedy and explain why he was revoking her invitation to give a commencement address at a Catholic college in his diocese. Maybe Schonborn would have met with the man over lunch and concluded that he really should not be on the parish council. Would the man have staged a protest? Maybe. But, these things are best decided over lunch and, in this case, the really striking thing to me was that the cardinal had sufficient respect for the man as a human person to invite him and his partner to lunch.
Being human goes a long way. I also wish to encourage everyone to read Ed Peters' comments on the situation which are linked to in the article cited above or which can be referenced directly here. Peters is no liberal, and I often find myself disagreeing with him, but his sense of balance and fairplay shines through in this post.
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