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Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
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Dissident Austrian priests plan to take 'Call to Disobedience' international

January 23, 2012

A dissident Austrian priest hopes to encourage an international movement of clerics who defy the authority of the Church.

Msgr. Helmut Schüller, the head of the Austrian Priests’ Initiative, said that “2012 will be the year of internationalization” for his protest movement. Last year the group issued a “Call to Disobedience,” urging priests to ignore liturgical rules and Church teachings on questions such as homosexuality, clerical celibacy, sharing the Eucharist with Protestants, the ordination of women, and Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics. The Priests’ Initiative claims the backing of about 400 Austrian clerics.

Msgr. Schüller told reporters that he did not expect any further discussions with Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna. The cardinal had said last year that he was hoping to resolve conflict with the dissident priests thought dialogue. Cardinal Schönborn criticized the Priests Initiative for encouraging disobedience, saying that the term carries a “negative connotation.” If disobedience is applied to the faith, the said, “then it can lead to serious conflict.” Nevertheless the cardinal has repeatedly indicated that he does not plan any disciplinary action against the rebellious priests.

Msgr. Schüller, the head of the dissident group, was vicar general of the Vienna archdiocese until Cardinal Schönborn removed him in 1999; he later became head of the charitable group Caritas Austria.


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  • Posted by: Bernadette - Jan. 25, 2012 12:25 PM ET USA

    Cardinal Schonborn is lacking in courage. He needs much prayer. He fears the loss of all those priests if he comes down hard on them with excommunications. All of our hierarchy need to realize that they have the Truth on their side, Jesus Christ! So, let the priests leave! They lead the flock astray! Which is worse? To lose the dissident and disobedient priests or to confuse and lead the flock away from the Church? God will reward the cardinal for doing what is right! Excommunicate!

  • Posted by: Chestertonian - Jan. 23, 2012 7:02 PM ET USA

    They might as well rename it to "Call to Heresy" or "Excommunication" and at least be honest about it.Abp Schonborn needs to man up and send them all back to the seminary for some serious retraining in Church doctrine, of which they seem woefully ignorant. Failing that, excommunication would be a mercy, whether they have the understanding to see it that way or not. They need to realize that they can't merely dabble in heresy, which seems au curant in too many dioceses.