A Last Audience With the Pope

TIME talks to a Cardinal who met with John Paul II just two hours before he died

Christoph Cardinal Schönborn was standing tall among the faithful. Just minutes after John Paul II's funeral ended, the 60-year-old Austrian was moving briskly through a thick crowd along the ancient Borgo Santo Spirito. With his flowing scarlet robes, robust frame and handsome features, the Austrian Cardinal attracted calls of "Cardinale, Cardinale" from several young Italians, even though they seemed not to know which Cardinal he was. But my colleague Jordan Bonfante and I knew, and we followed him.

The Archbishop of Vienna is a theological heavyweight, speaks six languages and possesses unquestioned pastoral skills. He is, in other words, papabile, one of...

Want the full story?

Subscribe Now


Get TIME the way you want it

  • One Week Digital Pass — $4.99
  • Monthly Pay-As-You-Go DIGITAL ACCESS$2.99
  • One Year ALL ACCESSJust $30!   Best Deal!
    Print Magazine + Digital Edition + Subscriber-only Content on TIME.com

Learn more about the benefits of being a TIME subscriber

If you are already a subscriber sign up — registration is free!