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Austrian cardinal: dissident priests cannot serve in administrative posts

June 27, 2012

Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has announced that priests who support a “Call to Disobedience” cannot serve as the heads of local deaneries. But the dissident priests continue to serve as pastors in the Vienna archdiocese.

The archdiocese announced on June 26 that priests who were vocal supporters of the “Call to Disobedience” would not be appointed to administrative positions. Father Peter Meidinger, who had been a dean in one archdiocesan region, confirmed that he had resigned his post after telling Cardinal Schönborn that he would not back away from his support of the dissenting statement. Father Meidinger remains pastor of two parishes.

The “Call to Disobedience,” put forward by the Priests’ Initiative, encourages Catholic priests to defy Church teaching and discipline on issues such as homosexuality, the ordination of women, and the admission of divorced Catholics and non-Catholics to the Eucharist. Cardinal Schönborn has expressed shock at the open call to defiance of Church authority, and warned that the initiative could lead to a “serious conflict” within the archdiocese. But to date he has avoided disciplinary action against the priests involved.

The Vienna archdiocese said that clerics who belonged to the Priests Initiative could still serve in administrative roles, as long as they distanced themselves from the Call to Disobedience.


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  • Posted by: ltoscan2645 - Jun. 28, 2012 9:21 AM ET USA

    @lauriem5377,your point about concern for souls, brought to my mind a talk I recently heard from an evangelical pastor (I couldn't a Catholic radio station)how most Christians don't care about "winning" souls for Christ, and I then reflected back to our Church and my own religious practice,what do I do, what does my parish do to try bring souls to Christ,and I found both very wanting,O Lord help us in our walk with you to bring others to belief in you and their salvation

  • Posted by: dover beachcomber - Jun. 27, 2012 11:17 PM ET USA

    Finally, someone has figured out that if you run a Ford dealership, you can't have salesmen who are hawking Chevys out the back door

  • Posted by: Don Vicente - Jun. 27, 2012 9:03 PM ET USA

    If you think that the vocations crisis is bad here, Austria is 5x worse! As in Germany, priests are civil servants, salaried by the government. A threat to fire pastors would be seen as toothless -- everybody knows that there are no replacements in the wings. Besides, probably most of the Austrian laity agree with the dissident priests. We have problems here in the U.S., but not nearly as bad...

  • Posted by: lauriem5377 - Jun. 27, 2012 6:47 PM ET USA

    How can persistently dissident priests continue to lead a parish ( a flock)? Dissident priests will clearly not lead the laity to a correct understanding of the Catholic faith - our Lord's teachings. Is there no concern for the souls under these priests' care and influence - especially our young people? Something is truly amiss with this thinking.