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Tuesday, February 17, 2009

The Austrian Bishops collapsed in a row- Father Wagner's brother speaks out

Wagners Bruder: „Gerhard, das stehst du nicht durch“ |

On Sunday, 18.30 Helmut Wagner’s telephone rang. At the other end of the line was his brother Gerhard, the parish priest of Windischgarsten. He said: "Helmut, I have withdrawn from my office as Bishop."

OÖN: Mr. Wagner, how was your brother, when he informed you of this renunciation?
Wagner: He is above everything and sees them as not so pleasant.

OÖN: Are you sure?
Wagner: I had the impression that he is relieved. For my brother, withdrawal was the most sensible course. It was so hopeless that is what changed.

OÖN: What could your brother have changed?
Wagner: He has a parish in Windischgarsten, where all function together splendidly. He thought that this is also possible in the diocese, but the clergy was not behind it. All the bishops collapsed in a row.

OÖN: Do you have an explanation as to why?
Wagner: I have never had the feeling that this originates from the Pope. The reality is different. I have seen the first alarm level following the decision of the Deanery Conference. The whole thing is quite painful: they drove at my brother for so long until he gave up.

OÖN: Many are irritated by your brother’s statments. Among them that Harry Potter is the work of the devil and that the Hurricane Katrina a punishment of God. Your opinion?
Wagner: I have been too little occupied with these subjects. So I will not take a position as I am too much a diplomat. I have a similar attitude to him. I am a secondary school teacher and as such am also for clear lines. You need to set boundaries and orientation. Wishy-washiness is becoming a problem. Gerhard wanted to show this and that is why he has been banished.

OÖN: Has your brother sought advice?
Wagner: We were two or three times in contact. I told him: "Gerhard, you won’t manage it." At Christmas he was with me. He speculated what would happen if he became should be appointed Bishop. I discouraged him even then. You do not have to say to all yes and Amen. When he was appointed two weeks ago, he stood in shock.

OÖN: And now?
Wagner: I will visit him soon. A little talk. That he will need.

OÖN: Describe your brother.
Wagner: Ambitious, conscientious, loving. He will always help everyone. He has a lifelong sense of responsibility which he will take to the grave. He has until recently hoped that a miracle happens and he can change something. But society is not currently ready for someone like him.
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