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Austrian Cardinal favours keeping churches open all night

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has praised an initiative to keep churches open round the clock so that the "faithful will have available at any time a place of silence and prayer."

The Archbishop of Vienna told Vatican Radio that the need to keep churches open is all the more acute in large cities.

Schönborn is taking the initiative together with the archbishops of Paris, Lisbon and Brussels, in conjunction with the International Congress for the New Evangelisation and the Urban Mission, sponsored by the Emmanuel Charismatic Community.

Describing the round the clock openning as the 'Night of Mercy', he said: "The big cities is where man feels most the need of the Gospel and the search for God."

The Congress has just concluded in Vienna. It is held annually in a different European capital.

"European capitals should take advantage of the treasure implied in so many beautiful churches full of history," he said. "To leave their doors open at night for the enjoyment of a place of silence and prayer might make possible an amazing experience."

He characterised the "nights of mercy" are a form of urban evangelisation, giving priests the opportunity to speak openly about the faith with the citizens.

"The Church thus opens its heart to the wounded hearts of the people of today," he added. These moments "produce a great number of conversions."


11 Jun 2003