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Vatican may not rescind appointment of controversial Austrian bishop

February 20, 2009

The Vatican has not yet decided how to respond to an Austrian priest's request that his appointment as an auxiliary bishop of the Linz diocese be rescinded. Father Gerhard Wagner, whose nomination had provoked angry opposition among Austrian priests, has asked the Pope to withdraw his name from consideration. But the Vatican has not yet done so, and Vatican-watcher Paolo Rodari told Tagespost that there are differing opinions within the Roman Curia. Some Vatican officials believe that Father Wagner's public statements on issues ranging from "moral pollution" to the Harry Potter novels show that he is not an appropriate candidate for episcopal office. Others suggest that the Vatican should go ahead with the appointment, demonstrating that the Holy See will not bow to pressure from the media, nor from the rebellious clergy of Austria, nor even from the Austrian hierarchy, which had issued a public critique of the appointment.


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