Linz Lemon

The pope’s choice for auxiliary bishop of Linz, Austria, has withdrawn his name from consideration after a firestorm erupted after the priest’s comments about Hurricane Katrina (which he said was God’s punishment on the people of New Orleans for their sins) and homosexuality (which he said was curable).  Father Gerhard Maria Wagner, withdrew in the wake of criticism and a vote of no-confidence by 31 out of 39 senior priests in the diocese.  The Times has the fallout from this decision, as well as from some of the other recent debacles the Vatican has been facing (including SSPX and Maciel).  Dave Gibson at Dotcommonweal, posted a helpful summary of the Linz mess, entitled "Vox Populi Moves Vatican," to which Robert Mickens, the Vatican correspondent, demurred, saying that it was in fact the "vox cleri" that did it in the end.

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An irony: Pope Benedict XVI’s election was hailed as a move that would place in Chair of St. Peter, after 25 years, a man with extensive experience working in the Curia, and a deep knowledge of Romanita, and how to get things done.  No longer, Vaticanistas said, would the Curia be as haphazardly managed as it was under Pope John Paul II, who was, it was said, more concerned with matters outside the church. 

What happened?

James Martin, SJ

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8 years 8 months ago
The smell of mediaeval humbug in Pope Benedict’s decision-making isn’t dissipating - Rev. Gerhard Maria Wagner, who believes Hurricane Katrina was Divine retribution, is turning down his Papal promotion because of 'fierce criticism.' There has been nothing from him, or the Vatican, repudiating the notion of meteorology as divine feedback. The Vatican continues to pitch for the credulous and nasty at the expense of the thoughtful and tolerant.
8 years 8 months ago
Any chance 'the' American Catholic Weekly will turn more of its attention to the state of the Church in the U.S.? Rather than worrying its little head about events in other countries.
8 years 8 months ago
On this '30 Rock' I will build my Church. No thanks. He is getting things done. The Redemption wasn't pretty.
8 years 8 months ago
The story serves as a perfect example of how a Pope can write one thing and then do something totally opposite even if unintentionally. The Holy Father writes his first beautiful encyclical letter on 'God is Love' and mentions that the reason for the encyclical is because we live, 'In a world where the name of God is sometimes associated with vengeance or even a duty of hatred and violence,' but appoints a priest as an auxiliary bishop who said that Hurricane Katrina was 'God’s punishment for the sinners of New Orleans and described Harry Potter novels as 'Satanic.' (I wonder if this priest, now appointed bishop, has actually read a Harry Potter novel?) Go figure.
8 years 8 months ago
Actually, I took Hurrican Katrina as an example of communication from God directed specifically at the US after the failure of the US to take the message from the tsunami. I took it to be an example of how we should have perceived the 9/11 attack in order to respond to it properly. That is, we should have responded to 9/11 as if it had been an act of nature. That would have been turning the other cheek without showing weakness or lack of resolve. Unfortunately, our fearless leader at the time neither got the message, nor responded properly to either situation.
8 years 8 months ago
When Benedict was elected, Eamon Duffy pointed out that he was the most accomplished theological scholar to hold the papacy in a thousand years... Jimmy Carter was considered to be one of the smartest men to ever be elected president. He was a lousy listener, though. He had to be the smartest guy in the room all the time. In explaining why they cast their papal ballots for Benedict, a lot of the bishops claimed that he had always appeared to be an attentive and empathic listener when they had their ad limina visits with him, but maybe that's just it. Maybe he just appears to be a good listener. Like Jimmy Carter, maybe he just needs to be the smartest guy in the room all the time too.
8 years 8 months ago
I'm happy to read about what happened in Austria. What would happen if Catholics reacted the same way in a US diocese where one of the proliferating number of James Dobson wannabes were appointed? We can hope.

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