US Catholic Faith in Real Life

Lefebvrite fallout keeps on coming

Bryan Cones | Print this pagePrint | Email this pageShare

The Lefebvrite controversy seems to be moving from initial concern over its effects on Catholic-Jewish dialogue to fear among Catholics, especially in Europe, that the Vatican is backing away from the reforms of Vatican II.

A group of theologians in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland have begun a petition urging the Vatican to require the SSPX to accept the teachings of Vatican II before full reconciliation is granted, according to Spero News. Supporters can sign on at

In a more surprising move, however, a priest who was to be made an auxiliary bishop in Linz, Austria, has withdrawn after protests from senior clergy in the diocese. Gerhard Maria Wagner had said that Hurrican Katrina was a punishment from God for the sins of New Orleans, and his appointment a week after the lifting of the SSPX excommunications had circumvented the usual process for choosing bishops in Austria.

"We hope inadequate channels of communication in the Vatican can be improved so the Pope's service to humanity is not impaired," said the Austrian bishops in a statement, according to Reuters, assuring Austrian Catholics that they would make sure the proper procedures were followed in the future.

Paul Zulehner, a theologian at the University of Vienna, was a little more blunt: "The seizure of power by the right-wingers has now failed, apparently through the clear intervention of several Austrian bishops."

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