Schönborn, Cardinal Christoph

(1945–)
   Born in what is now the Czech Republic, Schönborn was taken by his parents to the Vorarlberg, where he grew up. His first clerical training was at a Dominican seminary in Bonn, then the capital of the Federal Republic of Germany. He took more advanced academic and theological studies in France, receiving his doctorate in theology from the Catholic Institute in Paris in 1975. Schönborn became archbishop of Vienna in 1995; a year later Pope John Paul II named him to the College of Cardinals.
   Widely traveled and deeply involved in ecumenical activities both with fellow Christians as well as Jews and Muslims, Schönborn has been much concerned about the relationship between religion and science. In 2005, both professional scientists and general intellectuals heavily criticized an Op-ed letter Schönborn published in the New York Times in which he tried to address the secular and spiritual dimensions of biological evolution. While he granted that the Christian faith made room for common ancestry as the beginning of an evolutionary process, he firmly ruled out the notion that subsequent species development was unplanned, a proposition that lies at the root of neo-Darwinism. In Schönborn’s homeland, liberals read the essay as one more sign of an unwelcome conservatism that John Paul II had restored to Austrian Catholicism.
   See also König, Franz; Islam; Religion.

Historical dictionary of Austria. . 2014.

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