Action Alert!

the power of a jpeg

By Diogenes (articles) | Feb 03, 2005

We've seen it happen already in Minnesota, South Africa, and Austria: the faithful complain about irregular or deviant practices; they get brushed off by the Chancery; someone posts a photo illustrating the situation on the Net and -- quicker than you can say, "We're on a learning curve here" -- a midlife change in career has been announced for another clergyman.

It appears that lightning has struck a second time in the Danubian hinterlands. A week or so ago Fr. Bryce Sibley blogged a photo of a man dressed as a deacon seeming to enact the Liturgy of the Eucharist at a children's Mass. Samy Schrittwieser, the creative deacon in question, tends a parish in the Linz diocese and had imprudently displayed jpegs of himself on the parish website, among them pix of his sharing suspiciously sacerdotal altar duties with his pastoral assistant and a Protestant minister, both female. Even though the Austrian Church has been renewed to the brink of oblivion, a remnant of skeptics was not amused by Samy's Mystery Eucharist Theatre, and said so.

"His Excellency can't come to phone right now..."

As of Tuesday (according to the Austrian Kath.Net story) the diocese had made no public statement about the case, although all the controversial photos have been taken down from the parish site. It's too early to predict in detail what explanations will be tendered, but we can confidently assume that the situation merits further study.


Richard Cross holds a doctorate in psychology, who has taught at the university level, including at Franciscan University. He is currently an educational researcher and consultant in the field of psychology and related disciplines.
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