More on the Father Friedl case.
In the talks besides Bishop Schwarz and Father Friedl, Vicar General Severin Lederhilger participated as the person responsible for diocesan personnel.
Friedl was confident prior to the meeting. "In a year I can retire, I do not think that I can still be sacked." He favours a "temporary celibacy" to combat the priest shortage in an effective manner. A coexistence of celibate and married priests would make the church more human and credible he believes. Finally, the conscience is always the last resort.
The parish priest of Ungenach was most recently a red rag for conservative groups, after his commitment to the Zogaj family. He was also a participant in the deans conference which in a majority rejected Gerhard Maria Wagner for Bishop , and thus triggered a unique situation in the Diocese. Meanwhile, Wagner's consecration is off the agenda (Cathcon- for how much longer?).
Backing of like-minded
The Ungenach priest Josef Friedl received prior support. On Saturday night, the networking group "Future in the Church" published letter online. The letter was published on the website of “We are Church” (Cathcon- oh, no you are not!) in which priests speak of their partners as a "gift from heaven"
The letters of support indicate that the priests who belong to this group give Friedl the highest levels of respect: "(...) As those who are in the same situation, we network in self-help groups in Austria and other adjoining German-speaking dioceses. According to our insight, the reality is that there are about one third of the Catholic priests in the same situation. We ask the church leadership to seek a path which liberates this priestly form of life in the Church. We are all aware of the service of the priest as vocation and fulfilment in life. Our partners are our gift from heaven and valuable assistance in our lives and service. (...)"
The networking group "Church in the Future" operates in several dioceses in Austria and Bavaria. Secret meetings of the priests take place regularly.