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Wednesday, February 11, 2009

Diocese of Linz in open revolt against the Pope

Diözese bekommt den Unmut über die Ernennung Wagners zu spüren

Diocese expresses displeasure over the appointment of Bishop Wagner

WELS / LINZ. Crisis atmosphere in the Diocese of Linz: Numerous people are leaving the church as a result of the recent decisions of the Vatican, the deaneries by a large majority oppose the appointment of Gerhard Wagner as Bishop.

110 departures from the Catholic Church in Linz, four times as many as in the first week of February 2008, 31 in Urfahr and the surrounding area (2008: six), 80 since the beginning of the year in Vöcklabruck, 23 in the region around Wels against four in the same period last year : In recent days, the number of departures from the Church has markedly increased.

"We still have no overview of the numbers. But to link the increased outflow with the upcoming demands to be sent out for the church tax, would be wrong, "diocesan spokesman Ferdinand Kaineder confirmed to the OÖN. Indeed, the diocese has received numerous letters and emails received which give the rationale for leaving the Church "Two issues are at the forefront: the decision of the Pope to reverse the excommunication of the four bishops of the Lefebvre Fraternity and the appointment of Bishop Gerhard Wagner," says Kaineder. These numerous and specifically justified withdrawal statements were unusual. "We need to talk: A church is not the word of the Pope, but parochial life, that works," This is how Kaineder sees the challenge.

Deaneries against Wagner

Also in the Upper Austrian clergy Wagner has few supporters. Yesterday the Conference of Deans voted in Wels on his appointment as Auxiliary Bishop. The result: 31 of the 35 deans present rejected the decision by Pope Benedict XVI and only four stood behind Wagner. The deans are the priestly heads of several parishes and are appointed by the Bishop on a proposal from the Diocesan Pastoral Conference. Archdeacon Franz Wild had to insist after the decision that it should be made public.

In canon law, the decision is not binding. Area Dean Arno Jungreithmayr (guess which one of the three men pictured left with the Protestant Minister of Wels) said however it is a clear signal. Appointments could also be undone.

More soon on how highly regarded Bishop Wagner is by ordinary praying Catholics in contrast to the pseudo-clerical and libero-clerical elite that try to run the Diocese on behalf of the bishop. It must be the only place in the world where the Bishop has to suffer his predecessor's name as well as his own being inserted in the Canon of the Mass- but I am open to be proved wrong on this point.

The Bishop of Linz hit back tonight. Bishop Wagner was criticised for not being available for interviews- he is in Rome to receive the blessing of the Pope.
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