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Pope losing patience with Austrian bishops, Vatican-watcher reports

June 19, 2009

This week's extraordinary meeting at the Vatican, in which the Pope and leaders of the Roman Curia conferred with a delegation of Austrian bishops, was called because the Pontiff is "upset over how [the Austrian bishops] have allowed rebellions and abuses to run free," reports Sandro Magister of L'Espresso. "The statement released at the end of the meeting didn't say so, but for two days in a row the Austrian bishops faced severe criticism," Magister continues. Noting the open rebellion against the Pope's choice of an auxiliary bishop for the Linz diocese-- a choice that the Austrian bishops declined to support-- Magister writes:

Against this backdrop, there is an even clearer contrast between the timidity with which the Austrian bishops govern their respective dioceses and, at the same time, their skillful adherence to the arrogant claim that it is the role of public opinion to designate new bishops or veto the ones appointed by Rome.

The column in L'Espresso goes on to observe that the Catholic bishops of China have also come in for sharp criticism for their willingness to compromise on questions of religious freedom. In this case the criticism came from Cardinal Joseph Zen.


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