Cardinal Schönborn to be the next Pope?
According to The Times, there is now 'open warfare' in the Vatican after Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, accused former Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Angelo Sodano of having blocked investigations into sex abuse crimes committed by his predecessor, the late Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer. The BBC confirms the Roman Catholic civil war, quoting Cardinal Schönborn as saying: "I can still very clearly remember the moment when Cardinal Ratzinger sadly told me that the other camp had asserted itself."
This is interesting for a number of reasons:
Firstly, Cardinal Schönborn is a former theology pupil of Pope Benedict and a close ally. He has praised Pope Benedict for having pushed for sex abuse inquiries when he was Cardinal and head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. He said that 'others' however had stopped John Paul II from taking action, adding 'the days of cover up are over'.
Secondly, Cardinal Schönborn is Austrian and a front-runner to succeed Pope Benedict. There is a certain eurocentric neatness in a Polish pope followed by a German pope followed by an Austrian pope.
Thirdly, there is a cetain religio-political fulfilment for those who are persuaded by the prophecy that the next pope will be the last: the House of Habsburg is best known for being the origin of all of the formally-elected Holy Roman Emperors over the centuries. From 1278 to 1918, the Habsburgs reigned over a territory that grew from a small section of Austria along the Danube, into the 16th century realm of Charles V who boasted that 'The sun never sets on my domain'.
Otto Von Habsburg was an MEP until 1999. He is the 'uncrowned emperor' and widely considered the visionary architect of a reunified Europe and continues a thousand-year legacy of Catholic political leadership. Archduke Otto fulfilled the quintessentially Habsburg role as defender of the Pope when John Paul II visited Strasbourg to address the European Parliament in 1988. He had barely begun to speak when the Rev. Ian Paisley jumped to his feet and denounced the Pope as the anti-Christ, while unfurling a banner proclaiming the same message. In an instant, Otto von Habsburg was on his feet to grab the banner from Dr Paisley's hand and, with several others, escorting him out of the chamber.
Archduke Otto renounced the headship of the House of Habsburg to his eldest son Karl (Archduke of Austria, Prince Royal of Hungary and Bohemia), who is also a former MEP and now first in the line of succession to the Austro-Hungarian throne: he is the de facto regent of Germany.
Since 1974, Karl Von Habsburg has been actively involved in the Pan European Movement in Austria. He is considered an expert on minority rights for the Christian Democratic Group (EPP).
He is tipped as a future Austrian chancellor.
An Austrian pope presiding over the 'coronation' of a Habsburg.
Wouldn't that be neat?