Of late, we’ve heard a great deal about systemic discrimination and racism in the US. Via the Black Lives Matter movement, we’ve been sensitized to systemic discrimination in police departments and other agencies of the criminal justice systems.
But many have alleged there’s systemic discrimination and institutional racism in corporations, universities, and religious institutions as well.
I’ve written many blogs about discrimination, and one recent example is here. But I haven’t written about religious discrimination. Since this is under the purview of this website dedicated to discrimination, let’s look at the Catholic Church for a while.
Systemic Discrimination in Religion.
The Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schonborn (no relation), has expressed concern for some time about gender discrimination in his church.
In fact so much so that the Cardinal’s become something of a thorn in the side of the church. He’s stirred up enough controversy about Church bias that he’s been asked if he’s worried about causing a split or schism.
Schonborn has championed a number of LGBT causes. But critics charge that the cardinal’s policies amount to turning his back on traditional Catholicism. They point out, according to an article in the Church Militant, that “Schönborn is well-known for his pro-LGBT stance — typified by his support of female impersonator performances inside Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral.”
During one such event, the “Believe Together” AIDS benefit concert in November 2019, impersonator Conchita Wurst, also known as Tom Neuwirth, sang along with a choir, accompanied by the pipe organ at the event.
Moreover, gay activist Gery Keszler [see below], an organizer of the concert, claimed Schönborn privately invoked a blessing upon his relationship with his same-sex partner.
Many faithful Catholics were stunned by the concert. Archbishop Carlo Maria Viganò, for instance, reacted by calling it a “homoerotic and blasphemous provocation.”
“We have seen idolatry penetrate the Temple of God and lay claim to the worship …,” he continued. And he likened it to the “Believe Together” concert in St. Stephen cathedral with the Pachamama idol making appearances in churches during the Vatican’s Amazonian Synod in October 2019.
Schönborn had dismissed the Church’s teaching on homosexuality in 2018. At the World Meeting of Families, he applauded gay unions and couplings. “[T]hey share their joys and sufferings, they help one another,” he said. “It must be recognized that [gays take] an important step for their own good and the good of others,” referring to their foray into gay life.
Support of Women’s Ordination
Earlier this year the Austrian prelate suggested the possibility of women’s ordination and female deacons. At a televised press conference in Austria, Schönborn said “the question of the role of women in the Church ‘remains open,’ calling “women’s invisibility in the Church akin to a ‘wound.'”
The cardinal added he worries that men will dominate in all the world religions. He wonders what this could mean in view of global changes in societies. “How will religions deal with this?” he asked. “We have to ask ourselves this question.”
All this, despite Pope John Paul II writing in the Ordinatio Sacerdotalis in 1994 that “The Church has no authority whatsoever to confer priestly ordination on women and … this judgment is to be definitively held by all the Church’s faithful.”
What’s next for Cardinal Schonborn?
The 75-year old Schönborn ends his 22-year term at the helm of the Austrian conference of Catholic bishops this year.
His successor will be the 63 y.o. archbishop of Salzburg, Franz Lackner. He will likely carry on Schönborn’s radical departure from the Church’s teaching.
Why? Earlier this year, Lackner published a book laying the foundation for an official “blessing” of same-sex couples.
Archbishop Franz Lackner of Salzburg.
Anti-bias-Warrior the next Pope?
Benedict XVI 2005 78
John XXIII 1958 76
John Paul II 1978 58
Francis 2013 76
Will Church Bias against Women Continue?
What do you think conservative religions will do to rectify sex and gender discrimination?
And what’re the chances of a “good troublemaker” like Schonborn becoming pope?