Despite being one of the four members of the drafting committee of the final document of the Pan-Amazon Synod, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna said today he had not read about criticisms of the synod from respected prelates. 

Asked by the Register after a Vatican press briefing Monday if the substance of criticisms from such Church leaders as Cardinal Gerhard Müller, Cardinal Raymond Burke, Cardinal Walter Brandmüller and Bishop Athanasius Schneider was being listened to, Cardinal Schönborn said he had not “heard everything that’s been spoken about in the synod.”

When he was asked whether he himself had listened and taken on board the criticisms and concerns, he replied, “I haven’t read what they’ve said. I’m sorry, but I’m a limited person and I do not read everything.” He added, “I do not look at the internet. It’s enough,” before he was pulled away by handlers.

As a member of the drafting committee, Cardinal Schönborn will be assembling the recommendations of the small working groups whose work ends this week, but will not participate in the actual writing of the final document — that duty remains with Cardinal Claudio Hummes, the general relator of the synod, and his team.

Cardinal Burke and Bishop Schneider announced a 40-day “crusade of prayer and fasting” to take place during the synod to prevent being approved what they saw were six “serious theological errors and heresies” in the synod working document. 

They also issued a statement confirming their loyalty to the Pope but arguing that constructive criticism of him is an act of fidelity to the papacy made out of “great love for souls” and for Pope Francis.  

Cardinal Müller, prefect emeritus of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, has also written his own critique, and last week historian Cardinal Walter Brandmüller said he believed the indigenous people were “obviously being exploited in order to push an agenda” — a concern Cardinal Robert Sarah also expressed in a recent interview with the Register. 

Cardinal Brandmüller also suggested the synod was “secretly” attempting “to replace religion as man's answer to the call of its Creator by a pantheistic natural religion of man — namely, by a new variant of Modernism from the beginning of the 20th century.”

Cardinal Schönborn said at Monday’s press briefing, in answer to a question about why the Pope was subject to wide criticism, that he could remember the time of St. Paul VI when “for one side he was the destructor of Church, for another he was impediment for progress for the Church, and in the middle, he was simply the Pope.

“That’s my simple basic Catholic attitude, he is the Pope,” he said. There are “differences” between popes, he went on, “but he’s always the Pope and therefore it’s very clear for me to be loyal to the Pope, full stop.” He added that criticism of the Pope “is part of the life” of being the Successor of Peter. “To be Pope means to be criticized,” he said. However, he did not enter into the substance of the criticism. 

Answering a question about whether women deacons would be part of the recommendations he will make, the cardinal said the topic of ministries was “very important” in the “discussions over new pastoral paths” and that “involves” the role of “women ministers.” 

“We’ll see what will be proposed,” he said. 

Asked by the Register after the briefing what he thought about evidence showing a number of organizations prominently engaged with this synod, and some of which are associated with  the Brazilian bishops’ conference, have received millions of dollars from the pro-abortion Ford Foundation, Cardinal Schönborn said, “I have no evidence about it, I don’t speak about things I do not know.”