Lord cardinal, from your window you can see the hustle and Bustle of Vienna city centre. You feel sometimes lonely?

The theme of solitude concerns, unfortunately, many priests. I could never imagine living alone. At the age of 14 I met the Dominicans. Their Ideal was fascinated by this Commonality, the intellectual. The order has produced, with Thomas Aquinas one of the greatest thinkers in the history of mankind. But I’ve decided, mainly because of the community.

the monastery is Missing sometimes?

It was a difficult step, as I was appointed in 1991 to the Bishop. I had to develop a daily life without these structures. To me, the common rite was missing. I have since the 18th century. Year of life lived in this way and deliberately opted instead for life as a diocesan priest.

How you spend a free Saturday?

I get up relatively early, at a quarter to six. The First is the prayer before the Holy mass with the community. I need this silent Phase, without it tattered me in the course of the day, the resources.

Pope Francis has sent at the beginning of the year, the bishops of the abuse scandals, hard-ridden Church of the USA in a retreat week. Pray helps against this crisis?

In the case of the abuse crisis, it is not about Praying, it’s about the Act, in the sense of the victim. What is the Praying subject: Me crises have always led back to prayer. In personal conflicts, there are often no simple recipe. You could also distract you in the social media, there will be no solution, one must find inner peace to be able to situations sober, to watch and to act properly.

the end of February, the Chairman of the bishops ‘ conferences from around the world to address the abuse issue is finally appropriate. You hope for a liberation?

One should not expect miracles. It will be a pain and long process. The most Important thing is the awareness. I think the Pope makes it very smart, he uses only once, to set in motion a process to find a common way.


The Golden cross, John Paul II gave the Archbishop in the year 1996

©Philipp von Ditfurth/star

do you Remember when you realized for the first Time, and what priests are capable of?

I remember a Situation as a teenager, because I noticed that with one of my esteemed priest, something is wrong. I have the displaced. Of a concrete case of abuse I heard later from my brother, who visited the work boarding school Felbertal. He has only told about it, as it made public was that the Director had become a grip. My youngest brother was on the Odenwald school – as the much-discussed incidents took place. We have often talked about.

were The world teacher.

Yes, the first issue of abuse by spiritual I experienced in the office as Bishop.

your predecessor as Archbishop of Vienna, Hans Hermann cardinal Groër, had to resign because of serious allegations of former pupils of a boys ‘ Seminary. As very you shocked?

I knew him before I was appointed in 1991 as the auxiliary Bishop to Vienna. I taught as a Professor in Switzerland and had met him before, only once, when it was a question of whether he could imagine me as a Bishop. It was not for the time being, in this respect, I was confronted with it. In Switzerland I heard nothing of what was spoken in the diocese of Vienna.

Later, as auxiliary Bishop in Vienna, they defended Groër against the accusations, and harsh.

Because I had heard in my time as an auxiliary Bishop until then, nothing of the rumors, I was too naive. That is why I responded in the first Moment, stunned. I kept some of the has suggested, for a – lovingly told –quirkiness of the cardinal. Much about him was also great.

phew, that’s great?

But! He was in many respects a great man, he has done a lot. But of course I always recognized his weaknesses, which have led to his resignation and, finally, to the papal Visitation.

With all due respect, Eminence, “quirkiness” and “weaknesses” clearly too lenient terms for misconduct?

Not the misconduct was quirky, but his way, the more suspicious people than me maybe could have been warned. But I firmly believe A man is defined solely through his fault. This is important to me. Not even Napoleon has done a lot of things, the admirable things, even awesome? But he was also a gigantic criminal. Someone like Hitler is probably not the exception, there remains a lot left except for the debt.


The Pope and his cardinal Schönborn is considered to be the main defenders of Pope Francis

©Massimiliano Migliorato/Polaris/Laif

do you Feel empathy with the perpetrators, not subjects only protection, but also their Church harm?

you sin first and foremost against people. This is the most important lesson we need to learn as a Catholic Church by this tragedy: first Of all, we must feel for the victim empathy.

What has so far been rarely the case. Instead, covered up and denied.

That was a big mistake, it was many to protect the Institution. That is why we have written to the bishops at the time in a letter: The honor of a cardinal must never stand on the protection of the data. This must be the guideline.

in the Meantime, this attitude has arrived in the Vatican. If you have an effect on the Pope?

I was able to contribute my experience, time and again, we went out in a way that is now considered a role model. Even if that was not enough.

What would you do differently today?

in 1995, have us taken by surprise by the events, we were helpless. It took much too long until we realized that conservation is lots of truth is the only way. However, Jesus is clear on this question, he said: The truth shall make you free.

The set of all of the affected priests are not internalized.

The confrontation with the offenders in the years 2010 to 2012 was a blackso drawn-out Phase for me, because some of them are absolutely unapologetic. This has been a burden on me mentally is huge. We have spoken with the accused, asked what happened, and it was only blocked. Denial of the perpetrator’s behavior.

you have a Youtube channel, where you answer questions. There’s a girl on heaven and hell asked.

I remember that.

The idea of hell is so?

of Course. It is a possibility.

The must a priest who invites so much debt, but misleading. In the truest sense of the burning question, isn’t it?

I have to say this with all seriousness: It is of course a danger for the eternal life. If someone damaged the lives of young people massively injured, his priests deny the promises we made were so incredible, must questions, as he wants to appear before his God. Those of God, which he has promised to be a shepherd, brings the people comfort, and help. And this instead, for his perversity abused.


Schoenborn at the summer festival with the Chancellor of Austria Sebastian Kurz

©K. Piles/Imago

Will be measured by the pontificate of Pope Francis, how he dealt with this crisis?

It is undoubtedly the biggest challenge for him and for the whole Church. Francis has made the joy of the gospel to its Central theme. What these people do is the opposite. The “Miss Embassy”. If this is not processed and dealt with, is the talk of the glad tidings for the cat.

you Have advised him?

That was not necessary, its sensitivity is wide awake.

More than his two predecessors?

you See this cross I carry? It is that of Pope John Paul II, he gave it to me in 1996, after I have preached the spiritual exercises in the Vatican. With him, I held intensive discussions on the topic of my predecessor cardinal Groër.

Why he was not active?

John Paul was too loud to be able to imagine what had happened there. It was not in his head, that somebody verb something indicative, let alone a priest.

And Pope Benedict XVI, in which they had in Regensburg, studied?

We have known each other for 46 years, have worked a lot together. We owe him the special court he had set up as prefect of the congregation of the faith in the Vatican – by the way, against the resistance of the Curia. He has started all the work up. … Excuse me, I have to turn off my Smartphone, it’s news.

you can also use Whatsapp. You can chat as a cardinal with the Pope?

no, of course not, he is still the Pope.

when did he last called spontaneous?

There is a funny story I have on my 70. Birthday lunch in the soup kitchen of the Franciscan made, suddenly, one of the needy and handed me his phone – it was a big Surprise: Pope Francis was in the line and congratulated me!

what happened?

I have the Archbishop of Salzburg suspected to have arranged this. The man to whom the phone belonged to, keeps it until today as a relic.

we Come to someone who is more important than Pope Francis.

Whom do you mean?


(laughs) you’re right that is more important.

Jesus was a rebel, could be quite uncomfortable. Alone as he umschmiss in the temple, market stalls …

O Yes, remember the harsh words that has found Jesus over the Pharisees and scribes. One thing but the hypocrisy he abhors the most. He said to the bigoted priests, ye hypocrites in your long robes and tassels …

Um …

Yes. I know, I also think of our College of cardinals. He said: you have the first seats in the synagogues, but to silence the poor, for sinners, you have no place. He was relentless. As he says this bad word: Whoever gives one of these Little ones which believe in me, a Nuisance, for it would be better if he’d thrown with a millstone around the neck into the sea. The is violently.

what is the hypocrisy in the Church? Many of us know pastors who live with her housekeeper. You believe that Jesus is celibacy really so important?

I ask him often.

What does he answer?

I can’t get a clear answer. Jesus says clearly: do not be Afraid! He stressed in his Speeches that one should not put traditions is higher than its Central sentence: love your neighbor as yourself. As long as traditions are more important than the joy of the gospel, he would not say, we are in the right Lot.

so you have indulgence with priests who do not take it so exactly with the celibacy?

We need to distinguish between what is a matter for the confessional is, and what a court of law. There are sins, and there are crimes. The people have priests to a good sense, you look like weaknesses, but they will not forgive, if one is hypocritical, avaricious and small-minded.

you are the invitation of Gery Keszler, founder of Aids-charity-project “Life Ball”, followed and in a Symposium occurred.

Then we have prayed in a word, worship for the 25 million victims of Aids, and the Mozart Requiem. It was very solemn and appropriate.

you have in the LGBT scene aroused great hopes. But when she was against the marriage for all discussions …

… a few days later, Yes, there were disappointments. I can not fail. My Belief is that marriage is for a man and a woman is – that relationship, from which new life can arise.

But why the Church is not limited to the Christian marriage and out of it, if the state allows a secular Version for all? to be

To be honest, we have accepted that a long time ago. In Israel it is different, because there is no civil marriage. If a parliamentary majority wants it, is to make the state of it, please. But we should as a Church be allowed to do that, we define it otherwise and for us to have your say, if we are to believe that the way for the whole Gesociety is not good. It must also be possible. The Church has no sovereignty of interpretation – but it is the interpretation of freedom, we can and should speak up.

What do you say to homosexual couples that implement something wonderful: to promise each other?

Personally, I find it touching that in a time in which marriage loses its radiance, same-sex sentient and living pairs, this maximum form of your choice to partnership. You feel a sense of liability in the partnership. Indirectly, it is a testimony that marriage is important.

Many conservatives and even right-wing politicians define themselves today as a Christian and as a justification to some intolerance. How do they fit together?

not at all. There is the issue of the refugees vagina, this water, this is the year 2015. Since the atmosphere is tilted. I do believe that it has taken a lot of regulation. What we are experiencing now, makes me worry that the humanitarian aspect occurs in the Background. We must remember that it is people. Most have not left their homes voluntarily. But I agree with the Chancellor, Sebastian Kurz, that there is a need for a framework.

Why have been set up in their spacious rooms are never beds for refugees?

We’ll be on the peak of the crisis, many of the refugees and cared for. Here, too, in the Diocesan centre at Stephansplatz, at peak times, even more than 50 at a time. Many have also found longer in ecclesiastical houses and apartments. But not here in the Baroque office space, we have not even the sanitary facilities. In the meantime, it’s going to be other questions. We should not regard Integration and deportation separated. If families fit into society, they should be allowed to stay here.

influenced your personal attitude to the own flight experience?

I was still a Baby, when we were expelled from Czechoslovakia. But Yes, I still remember the consequences of the escape, as we moved from one area to the next. I was six when we got our first own apartment. Therefore, I feel with people who have experienced the Trauma of escape. And I think we should give them no further harm, by the police in the Morning in front of the door and takes her away.

is it True that you have self-doubt even in the Church?

I’m a Altachtundsechziger, I have experienced the difficult years between 1965 and 1968, in the monastery of the regional seminar into in the vicinity of Bonn, when it went in Germany, haywire. I met Rudi Dutschke, personally, never, but the environment I knew well. And my heart beat on the left. At the time, I doubted much, much asked a Theological question.

What did you finally converted and back to the Church?

The experience of social Distress. There was a man, brother of a high Federal judge who was totally crashed. He had lost everything, had become the type brother. We have set up for him a room in the monastery. That was an intense experience, with Emergency.

you can Understand the doubts of many believers to the Church out of this experience better?

Maybe. My path led me through the encounter with the poor. This is my basic grid until today.

You can also engage without a Church social.

That’s right. But if I’m in the arms am I in God. What is important is what Jesus said: What is the Lowest does, you did it to me. I’m not interested in who has what party or what religion, but as someone with the needy bypasses. I have experienced a number of crises of the Church.

And you have hope?

We will also master this crisis, if we keep to the regeneration power of the gospel.