Breaking News:


26. 01. 12. - 16:19

Church rebels worry the Vatican

The highest representatives of the Austrian Catholic Church gathered with Vatican officials to speak about a group of priests who declared themselves "disobedient", it has emerged.

The Salzburger Nachrichten newspaper revealed yesterday (Weds) that Viennese Archbishop Christoph Cardinal Schönborn and two other members of the Conference of Austrian Bishops, went to Rome on Monday to meet with clergymen in the Vatican. The paper claimed that the gathering was organised to discuss how to react to the increasing acclaim among Austrians for the demands of Helmut Schüller’s Preachers’ Initiative.

Schüller – who was president of Caritas Austria for some years before withdrawing to Probstdorf in Lower Austria to head the local parish – presented the guidelines of his movement half a year ago. He said the Preachers’ Initiative wanted the Vatican to allow Austrian priests to give Holy Communion to divorced people. The rebellious group also want female priests in the Catholic Church and an abolition of celibacy.

A spokesman for the Austrian Roman Catholic Church confirmed today (Thurs) that the meeting took place on Monday. He claimed that it was a regular gathering at which various topics were raised. Schönborn said already some weeks ago that he planned to raise the controversial issue when speaking with Vatican officials.

Schönborn said in several interviews that he was not denying the urgent need for reforms of the Church. However, the archbishop also spoke out against Schüller's suggestions which conservative representatives of the Church consider as radical propaganda. They also accuse Schüller of trying to split the Church. Schüller said the Church was on the brink of breaking up indeed – because of its leaders’ unwillingness to react to significant developments in today’s society.

Austrian Church officials did not confirm that the Preachers’ Initiative was spoken about in the Vatican on Monday. Newspapers report that the movement’s appeals were discussed indeed. Schüller said today he was not afraid of consequences over his actions. The ex-Caritas Austria president announced: "I appreciate that the Worldwide Church starts thinking about our ideals. Maybe this was the start of something."

Schüller said last week he planned to cooperate with priests abroad who shared his opinions. "We receive a lot of approval from Catholic reform movements all over the world," he said. The Probstdorf parish priest also criticised the Vatican for its conservative attitude. Schüller claimed it bore resemblance to an "absolutist monarchy". He added: "The Catholic Church must finally start taking its members seriously."

Around 400 Austrian priests have joined Schüller’s initiative over the past months. Schüller pointed out that the decision to be "disobedient" towards the Vatican found all-round acclaim. Schönborn harshly criticised the group of priests for choosing this term. Newspapers report that Schüller and Schönborn have no plans to meet in the foreseeable future to speak about a possible agreement.

Polls show that a vast majority of Austrians generally support the points of view shared in the Preachers’ Initiative. The development of the feud between the group around Schüller and conservative circles of the Church could be crucial to how things go for reform movements elsewhere since Austria is still one of the Catholic Church’s strongholds in Europe. More than five million Austrians – 65 per cent of the country’s citizens – are part of the Church. The number of people quitting their membership dropped by 32 per cent from 2010 to 2011 when 58,603 cancellations were registered.

Write your comment to this article here
  • Cal wrote on 08. 04. 2012 from Louisville KY USA

    The phrase "I can not do otherwise" is now hanging in the air. First uttered in German, now destined to be spoken in every Catholic tongue.


  • H. Boston wrote on 27. 01. 2012 from USA

    "The rebellious group also want female priests in the Catholic Church and an abolition of celibacy". Not a chance -- because to allow female priests and married priests would endanger the SECRET Vatican Billions. It isn't because women do not know enough theology, it's because the Vatican billions would be threatened in its intact HOMOSEXUAL guard, read more in Pope Crimes and Vatican Evils


    • Amos wrote on 28. 01. 2012 from N.Brunswick, NJ/USA

      Women priesthood The argument that Jesus was a man, therefore, all priests must be men is theologically questionable. Catholic theology teaches that Jesus was a divine person, the second person of  the Trinity. His divine personhood embraced two natures, a human nature and a divine nature.  In his human nature, Jesus was a man, in his divine nature, he is God. Jesus uttered the words "This is my body, this is my blood" through his human nature, but the change could only have taken place through the interposition of his divine nature inhering in his divine personhood. A priest exercising the function of confecting the Eucharist, does not do so as a result of his human nature or human personhood, but by sharing through ordination in the divine power of Jesus. Divine  power knows no distinction by reason of gender.  As Aquinas put it, sex is but an accident inhering in the substance of personhood as an attribute. To put it bluntly, all humans are created equal, not because they posses a human nature, but are equal because they are persons, who posses a human nature. The equality resides not in their human nature which accidentally may have one or the other gender, but in their personhood endowed with a human nature. The error is made by assigning the modifier human to person but assuming they are one substance, when in in fact, the quality of humanness inheres in the substance of person as an attribute. The gospels, recording events from an earlier time, cannot ignore the prominence given to women as witnesses to Jesus' teaching and deeds. It is only in subsequent apologetical writings that there was created a culture that justified a male only leadership in the later faith communities.  The personal satisfaction afforded by the proposition of a male only priesthood, is no evidence of it's validity. Nor is the intensity of feeling or conviction with which this proportion is held. Augustine of Hippo, Doctor of the Church, a favorite source of quotes by Catholic apologists and divines was a sexual neurotic, who never succeeded in logically resolving the Manichean duality he internalized early in life.  His protestations to the contrary are belied by his coarse statement on womankind, echoed down the centuries by like-minded clerical celibate bachelors, who would feel the fires of Hell welling up around them should they ever see a real live vagina: "Love her as a wife, but hate her as a woman!"  Augustine wrote. Theological speculators have wasted way too much ink and human resources trying to disprove what is  patently evident using the logic of the Scholastics. Uta Ranke-Heinemann writes: "The whole of church history adds up to one long, arbitrary, narrow-minded masculine despotism over the female sex." Acts 10: 34 "Then Peter began to speak: 'I now realize how true it is that God does not show favoritism, but accepts people from every nation who fear him and do what is right.'" Proverbs 28:19 "Where there is no vision, the people perish."


  • Jason wrote on 27. 01. 2012 from Vien

    USA, Not sure what to say here? The level of ignorance of the faith and hostility to authority is exactly what one would expect the fruits of heretical Priests to be Is it possible to reason with the unreasonable? Can one get radical individualists to think beyond themselves? I can understand if we were talking about complicated theology hereÂbut what I am hearing is complete confusion over the most fundamental definitions: Eucharist, obedience, faith, etc. With such poorly educated Catholics (both Priests and laity) where does one begin? This article really magnifies the fruits of the past 50 yearsÂan almost complete loss among the members of the Catholic faith as to what it means to be CatholicÂ. Despite what television and public school teachers say, our forefathers were not stupid why should anyone tear down their constructions without understanding why they were constructed in the first place? Why would anyone think they can just take all the benefits the Catholic Church has bestowed upon the world for granted and just tack on their cute little ideas to make it better without them reverberating throughout the entire system of faith? Why would anyone risk potentially catastrophic results on an experiment which appeals to particular generations ideals (only a hiccup of time when it is all said and done)? Why risk loosing the church for ever just to accommodate our generations own inability (or really lack of faith) to become virtuous Everyone just wants to be justified and keep doing what they Âwant to do. IÂm sad.


  • JeannieGuzman wrote on 26. 01. 2012 from USA

    Just as Martin Luther proved to the world that the Roman Catholic Church didn't have a franchise on the Gift of Salvation, maybe Schuller's group will convince Austrians that the Roman Catholic Church doesn't have an exclusive franchise on the Eucharist! As a divorcee, I am encouraged to the very core of my being, whenever I read of anyone who is trying to bring the comfort of the Eucharist to hurting and grieving people, regardless of their marital status! The main thing that is holding the Catholic Church together is the open lie that Jesus didn't give His Body and Blood to EVERYONE, regardless of religious affiliation. I applaud any group that has an open Eucharistic Table. May God grant them earthshaking success! I wish that I could have answered this post in my finest German dialect of Michiganish, but unfortunately my English will have to suffice.


  • Joseph Sexton wrote on 26. 01. 2012 from Amherst, NY, USA

    Of course the Vatican will remain unmovable, and there will always be those who choose to "push the envelope". The Eucharist is viewed by the Official Church as a kind of reward for good behavior. Others, such as the Austrian group, apparently view the Eucharist more from its healing aspect. It is similar to the divergent views in ecumenical circles: some see Eucharist as a sign of unity achieved, while others see it as a means towards achieving unity. All I can say is, did not Christ say he had come not for the (self-)righteous but for those who needed healing? It seems to me that the Vatican hasn't quite yet understood that point.


Cosmo and Nanu