Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic Culture Trusted Commentary
Catholic World News

Financial corruption in Austrian diocese made public, despite Vatican order

December 20, 2018

The administrator of the Austrian diocese of Gurk-Kalgenfurt has released a report on financial irregularities under the administration of a former bishop, despite a Vatican directive that the report should be conveyed quietly to Rome.

The report pointed to “massive public accusations” against Bishop Alois Schwarz, who headed the Gurk diocese 2001 until May of this year, when he was transferred to the Sankt Polten diocese. The charges involved financial deals which appeared to benefit a female staff member who had a close relationship with the bishop.

Msgr. Engelbert Guggenberger, who released the critical report, emphasized that he was doing so not in his role as apostolic administrator of the Gurk diocese, but as dean of the cathedral chapter, which had given its unanimous endorsement of the findings. He also noted that the December 18 report was not made public at a press conference. Earlier this year, the Vatican Congregation for Bishops had ordered the diocese to cancel a press conference that had been scheduled to release the report. Msgr. Guggenberger said that he felt obligated in conscience to make the findings known. “The truth will set you free,” he said.

The December 18 report said that “responsible Church authorities”— specifically including the apostolic nuncio, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, and Vatican officials— had been aware of problems with “the Bishop Schwarz system” for years. The Austrian bishops’ conference had also been alerted to the problem at least a decade ago.


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