Austria: Laypeople May Not Celebrate Mass

Austria’s Catholic bishops have rejected a call by dissident church members for laypeople to begin celebrating Mass in parishes with no priests. The bishops said they had discussed “heavy demands for change” at their plenary meeting from Nov. 7 to Nov. 10. However, they said, “the summons to disobedience has not only left many Catholics shaking their heads, but has also triggered alarm and sadness.” The bishops were responding to a statement issued on Nov. 5 by the Austrian branch of the We Are Church movement, which said laypeople should start making up for clergy shortages by consecrating and distributing Holy Communion, as well as preaching and presiding at Mass. The bishops said that some demands connected to “this call for disobedience at the initiative of priests and laity are simply unsustainable” and breach “the central truth of our Catholic faith.”

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