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Vatican prodding Austrian bishops to act against dissenting priests?

April 09, 2012

The Vatican is prompting Austrian bishops to take disciplinary action against the dissident priests who have issued a “Call to Disobedience,” the German-language news service reports.

Speaking about the dissident priests, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, the president of the Austrian bishops’ conference, told an interviewer that “we need to address this matter soon.” Cardinal Schönborn—who to date has resisted calls for disciplinary action--said that the members of the Priests’ Initiative should issue a “clarification” of their statements, in which the group has said that priests should directly challenge Church teachings on issues such as homosexuality, divorce and remarriage, clerical celibacy, and the ordination of women.

In his homily during Mass on Holy Thursday, Pope Benedict XVI took the highly unusual step of explicitly criticizing the Austrian priests’ group for their call to disobedience against Church authority. Asked for comment on the Pope’s words, Cardinal Schönborn remarked that the Pope was “well informed” about the situation in Austria.

In January, members of the Austrian hierarchy reportedly traveled to Rome to talk with Vatican leaders about the proper response to the “Call to Disobedience.” reports that Vatican officials subsequently wrote to the Austrian bishops urging them to take some action to curb the priests’ promotion of dissent.


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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: filioque - Apr. 09, 2012 10:38 PM ET USA

    Why is there any hesitation? The Austrian bishops met in Rome in January and here it is April. I should think the Pope's remarks can be taken as much as a public rebuke of the do-nothing Austrian bishops as of the dissident priests. The Pope is having to do their job for them. When will someone start worrying about the right of the faithful to clear doctrine and protection from false teaching?

  • Posted by: joecober6835 - Apr. 09, 2012 10:26 PM ET USA

    Please,bishops,uphold God's law.Do your duty.

  • Posted by: Contrary1995 - Apr. 09, 2012 7:06 PM ET USA

    The cardinal archbishop of Vienna has himself called into question the Church's teaching on homosexuality. Are we to expect him to discipline dissenters?