Wednesday, August 31, 2011
"Austrian priests Defy Catholic Church, Face Showdown"/ Movement of Holy Spirit Rocking Catholic Church: A Holy Shakeup, Indeed!
By Tom Heneghan, Religion Editor
PARIS Wed Aug 31, 2011 7:52pm IST
PARIS (Reuters) - "Dissident Austrian priests defying their Catholic Church with calls for married clergy, women priests and other reforms enjoy wide public support, according to a new poll on a dispute that could lead to their dismissal.
Three-quarters of people polled in the traditionally Catholic country backed the priests' "Call to Disobedience," a manifesto that Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn compares to a football ..."Dissident leader Rev Helmut Schueller, who as Vienna vicar general was Schoenborn's deputy from 1995 to 1999 and once led the Austrian chapter of the international Catholic charity Caritas, has said he has no intention of giving up.He says many priests are already quietly breaking the rules anyway, often with the knowledge of their bishops, and his campaign aims to force the hierarchy to agree to change. About 8 percent of Austrian priests have supported his movement."
SOLID SUPPORT FOR SCHUELLER
"The survey published this week by the Oekonsult polling group showed 76 percent of Austrians queried supported Schueller and his colleagues. Some 85 percent said the Church should not do anything to drive away its reform-minded members.While the poll was not limited to Catholics, 70 percent of the respondents said the Church and its leaders were "a very important moral authority" for them. Some 66 percent said they liked Schoenborn personally.
Schueller is now a parish priest and university chaplain in Vienna. If he is dismissed, 97 percent of those polled said, a "very large wave" of people leaving the Church would follow.
A record 87,000 Austrians left the Church in 2010, many in reaction to sexual abuse scandals there.In the past year, over 800 people have registered complaints of molestation by priests after the sexual abuse scandals rocking the Church in Ireland, Belgium and other European countries also broke out in Austria."
Bridget Mary's Reflection:
Catholics in Austria are supporting their priests who are calling for genuine reform of a church in deep crisis over the fallout from the cover-up of the sexual abuse of thousands of youth.
Brava, Fr. Schueller, and the 300+ priests in Austria who are leading this spiritual rebellion to reform the Catholic Church. Thank you for your courageous call for women priests and married priests. The full equality of women in the church is the voice of God in our time. 'Injustice anywhere", as Martin Luther King reminded us, is a "threat to justice everywhere."So too in the Catholic Church!
It is time to end clericalism and empower the people of God. Your call to disobedience is a prophetic act of faithfulness to the Gospel of Jesus. It is the movement of the Holy Spirit rocking the Catholic Church. It is about time for this holy shakeup!
Bridget Mary Meehan, ARCWP
Association of Roman Catholic Women Priests