Catholic World News

Vatican strips Austrian dissident of honorary title 'Monsignor'

November 29, 2012

The leader of a dissident movement of Austrian priests has been stripped of the title “Monsignor” by the Vatican.

Father Helmut Schüller, the head of the Austrian Priests’ Initiative and a former vicar general of the Vienna archdiocese, no longer holds the honorary title of “Chaplain of his Holiness,” the Vatican announced on November 29. The action comes more than a year after the Austrian Priests’ Initiative launched a “Call to Disobedience,” encouraging clergymen to defy Church teachings on issues including homosexuality, intercommunion, and the ordination of women. More than 400 Austrian priests have expressed support for the dissident movement.

Vienna’s Cardinal Christoph Schönborn has repeatedly admonished the dissident priests, objecting especially to their endorsement of open disobedience. But the Austrian cardinal has avoided disciplinary action, apart from announcing in June that priests who had endorsed the “Call to Disobedience” could not serve in certain leadership roles in the Vienna archdiocese.

The Vatican has been prodding the Austrian bishops to take action regarding the Priests’ Initiative. On Holy Thursday, during the Chrism Mass, Pope Benedict XVI observed in his homily that “a group of priests from a European country issued a summons to disobedience,” and said that the drive was contrary to “that configuration to Christ which is the precondition for true renewal.”


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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: impossible - Dec. 03, 2012 11:52 AM ET USA

    My, my, my, that must certainly sting his fingers. How awful to inflict such violence - indeed, slapping the fingers instead of defrocking and excommunicating him.

  • Posted by: seewig - Nov. 29, 2012 8:22 PM ET USA

    Finally, a clear and justified response. Poor Cardinal Schönborn, who didn't dare to do anything to this vicious man. The damage this sick man has done to the Catholic Church in Austria is immeasurable. His latest activity was the "Disobedience" rally which got him 10% of the clergy. He fired him once, when he was his vicar, but Schüller used the secular media (there are no others in Austria) to denounce Cardinal Schönborn, and lie about the circumstances. Austria could use a Cardinal Dolan.

  • Posted by: Don Vicente - Nov. 29, 2012 4:05 PM ET USA

    You know, it's about time that this happened. Being a "Chaplain to His Holiness" is an honor that Fr. Schuller accepted gladly; now he is biting the hand that decorated him. The Holy Father is acting as though the honor actually MEANT something. Good for him!