Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, Archbishop of Vienna, spoke about unity in an interview with Nicky Gumbel this morning at the Royal Albert Hall. Of the conference he said, ‘What I see here is amazing, the Lord is bringing us together in an unexpected way.’
When Nicky asked: ‘How can unity progress?’ The Cardinal replied: ‘What the Archbishop (of Canterbury) said yesterday was good – there is no other way than to come together in the love of Jesus – that is the way of unity. The first time I met evangelicals – what brought me to them was to feel the deep love of Jesus, which sometimes I find more vibrant and more expressed in other Christian communities than in my own. We have to learn from each other.’
Cardinal Schönborn talked about his family – with eight bishops and three cardinals in his ancestry, and his father’s resistance to the Nazi regime, going so far as joining the British army. When asked about his faith journey he explained he discovered his faith at the age of eleven, and felt a call to the priesthood at that young age.
Nicky Gumbel asked him about the present Pope. The Cardinal said, ‘Pope Francis is just a joy. I am not allowed to tell the secrets of the conclave but on the evening of 12 March when the conclave began, I am quite sure none of us knew that the next evening we would have Pope Francis as the successor. It was a tremendous experience of the Holy Spirit. We have been driven by the Holy Spirit to this man who was sitting in the corner of the Sistine Chapel – he was the chosen one. I received two strong signs - real signs of the Lord – giving me indication he is the one. ‘
Of Pope Francis and Archbishop Welby, he said, ‘The Lord has given us a great sign through these two elections.’