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Austrian dissidents escalate conflict, challenge hierarchy

Catholic World News - November 07, 2011

Dissident Catholics in Austria have announced their intention to conduct liturgical ceremonies in which lay people act as priests, preaching and simulating the celebration of Mass.

"Church law bans this," acknowledged Hans Peter Hurka, the leader of the We Are Church movement. His group issued a challenging manifesto just before the Austrian bishops gathered for their annual meeting.

The lay-led ceremonies would violate not only canonical rules but also fundamental theological principles, ignoring central doctrinal teachings about the nature of the Eucharist and of Holy Orders. Nevertheless Hurka made the claim that his group's stance is in accordance with the teachings of Vatican II.

The Austrian hierarchy already faces a challenge from the Priests' Initiative, another radical group that has called for defiance of Church law. The nation's leading prelate, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, has warned repeatedly that the dissident priests are creating a danger of "serious conflict" within the Church. However the cardinal has declined to take disciplinary action, saying that he is "counting on dialogue and cooperation."

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Show 7 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: John J Plick - Nov. 08, 2011 12:42 PM ET USA

    It is almost a scandal to have to read this. Just what is the Roman Catholic Hiearchy trying to prove? That they can avoid dealing with evil indefintely and get away with it? They cannot.

  • Posted by: Duns Scotus - Nov. 07, 2011 11:02 PM ET USA

    Dear Cardinal Schonborn, the Infidels are at the gates of Vienna again! What the Church needs now is another Jan Sobieski, not another William Warham (the milquetoast Archbishop of Canterbury when Henry VII rebelled against Rome).

  • Posted by: Steve214 - Nov. 07, 2011 7:50 PM ET USA

    So, does the Cardinal believe that there are their immortal souls that are being led astray? Right now. In the name of the Church? By official representatives of the Church?

  • Posted by: Defender - Nov. 07, 2011 7:46 PM ET USA

    Again we hear,"in accordance with the teachings of Vatican II." Many priests are not well-versed in the documents of VII, it seems. The cardinal is a product of the times, as well, hence his reticence to correct the situation. Looks like it's time for a new prelate to take over and get things done.

  • Posted by: JP810 - Nov. 07, 2011 6:55 PM ET USA

    Well, well ... I am not surprised. Cardinal Schönborn has his work cut out for him! Maybe, in the meantime, a good solid "kick in the a.." might be a gentle start towards "dialogue and cooperation." Good luck!!!!!!

  • Posted by: kmbold - Nov. 07, 2011 6:11 PM ET USA

    How late does it have to be before it is too late?

  • Posted by: AgnesDay - Nov. 07, 2011 4:52 PM ET USA

    C'mon, Cardinal Schonborn! Give them what they are really asking for. It's not conflict, nor is it control. These men are children, and they are screaming for limits.

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