... is made by John Allen, Jr., who has been profiling some of the "most frequently touted papabili, or men who could be pope":
The case for Schönborn is easy to make.
First up is raw intellectual chops. Schönborn is a polyglot,
comfortable discussing complex points in multiple languages, and a
genuine scholar in his own right. During last fall's synod, I asked
another cardinal why people seemed drawn to Schönborn, and his answer
was simple: "Intelligence attracts."
Second, Schönborn is an intellectual protégé of Benedict XVI, so much
so that over the years he's almost been seen as the pope's "beloved
son," but he also has keenly pastoral side and a capacity for nuance.
For instance, Schönborn has dropped hints that he'd be open to
considering the case for married clergy, and given his patient reaction
to the priests' uprising in Austria, it's unlikely that his first
response as pope to any form of disagreement would be to crack heads. ...
Fourth, Schönborn was an apostle of what's now known as the new
evangelization, meaning the effort to relight the missionary fires of
the faith in the heart of the secularized West, well before there was
even a word for it. He's written widely on the subject, and at the
pastoral grassroots he's encouraged the growth of a variety of spiritual
and missionary movements in Austria, many of them appealing in a
special way to youth. ...
The case against Schönborn, however, also has some fairly compelling elements.
For one thing, some cardinals may look at the fractious situation in
Austrian Catholicism and say to themselves: "This guy has had 18 years
to get the situation under control, and it hasn't happened. What reason
do we have to believe he'd fare any better as pope?"
Whether that's a fair assessment or not, it's likely to weigh on some cardinals' minds.
Second, Schönborn's tiff with Sodano may help him in terms of public
opinion, but it could still be a liability in the College of Cardinals.
Not only is Sodano still the dean of the college and an influential
figure, but other cardinals may wonder if Schönborn might be inclined to
toss them under the bus if the stars aligned that way.
Third, Schönborn is certainly a well-known figure in Vatican circles,
but he's never actually worked inside the system in Rome. For cardinals
seeking someone who can push through a serious reform of the
bureaucracy, that may be a question mark.
Fourth, despite Schönborn's considerable savvy, he occasionally has a
penchant for saying or doing things that strike some people as
Read the entire piece.
Of all the Cardinals, I am most familiar with the writings of Schönborn
(or Schoenborn), in part because of his involvement with the Catechism and YOUCAT, but mostly because many of his books have been translated and published by Ignatius Pressclose to twenty, by my count. Some of his work is, in my estimation, quite brilliant, such as his book of Christology, God Sent His Son, and he has an obvious gift for explaining, presenting, and articulating Catholic doctrine and practice in accessible, popular form, as in his four Living the Catechism of the Catholic Church books. However, man does not live by bread alone, and popes are not elected on writings alonefar from it. But it is somewhat surprising how little attention
Schönborn has been receiving in the English-speaking world (based on my
reading of numerous pieces in secular papers and magazines). Then again,
I think this is going to be the spring of surprises, so it is in
keeping with recent and current events in the Church.