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Dissident groups use scandal to call for change in Austrian Church

Catholic World News - June 23, 2010

“The wall of silence has to be broken,” said Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn as he introduced new policies designed to curb sexual abuse by Austrian priests. The abuse scandal, the cardinal said, “cannot be allowed to repeat itself.”

An AP story on the troubles of the Austrian Church allowed dissident Catholic groups to frame the discussion. One representative of the radical We Are Church organization argued that the crisis arose with the appointment of the late Cardinal Hans Hermann Groer as Archbishop of Vienna in 1986—an impossible argument to sustain, since most of the abuse cases that have come to light occurred before that date.

However the crisis in the Austrian Church is a real one. In the past 2 years more than 90,000 people have removed their names from Catholic Church registries; the Austrian bishops expect nearly as many to leave this year.

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  • Posted by: seewig - Jun. 23, 2010 5:55 PM ET USA

    It is only understandable when so many people leave the Catholic Church which still relies on state agreed "church tax", meaning a church has to be acknowledged by the State, and then is allowed to exist. This agreement is like a stone around the neck of the Church. It cannot function the way it is supposed to. The dropping out Catholic faithful in Austria is only a paring away of the uncommitted who have left the Church spiritually a long time ago. The same as in the rest of Europe.

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