Vatican disciplines Austrian dissident priest

VATICAN CITY Thu Nov 29, 2012 9:50am EST

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives to lead the general audience in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican November 28, 2012. REUTERS/Max Rossi

Pope Benedict XVI waves as he arrives to lead the general audience in the Paul VI Hall at the Vatican November 28, 2012.

Credit: Reuters/Max Rossi

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VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - The Vatican has cracked down on a prominent Austrian Roman Catholic priest who has been leading a disobedience campaign to openly challenge Roman Catholic teachings on celibacy and women priests.

The Vatican said on Thursday it had stripped Father Helmut Schueller of the right to use title monsignor and said he also was no longer a "Chaplain of His Holiness". Schueller remains a priest.

Schueller, a former deputy to Vienna's archbishop, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, had been given the honorary title in his capacity as head of the Austrian branch of the Catholic charity group Caritas.

Schueller is head of the group "Call to Disobedience", which has broad public backing in opinion polls and says it represents about 10 percent of the Austrian clergy.

Nearly 150,000 Austrians left the Church in 2011-2012, many in reaction to sexual abuse scandals.

The group wants Church rules changed so that priests can marry and women can become priests. It has said it will break Church rules by giving communion to Protestants and divorced Catholics who remarry.

Schueller told Austrian media that the Vatican decision had not shaken his principles.

Reformist Austrian Catholics have for decades challenged the conservative policies of Benedict and his predecessor John Paul, creating protest movements and advocating changes the Vatican refuses to make.

Schueller has met like-minded clergy in Austria and abroad since launching the "Call to Disobedience" group. Catholic reform groups in Germany, Ireland and the United States have made similar demands from the Church.

The Catholic Church does not allow priests to marry and teaches that it has no authority to allow women to become priests because Jesus willingly chose only men as his apostles when he instituted the priesthood at the Last Supper.

Proponents of a female priesthood say Jesus was only adhering to the social norms of his times.

Last week, the Vatican disciplined another priest who advocated women's ordination.

Father Ray Bourgeois, an American of the Maryknoll religious order, was kicked out of the priesthood and the order by the Vatican's doctrinal department, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

Last year, Bourgeois, who had been a priest for 40 years, was among a group of Roman Catholic activists detained by Italian police after they tried to deliver a petition to the Vatican in favor of a female priesthood.

Benedict, who for decades before his 2005 election as pope was the Vatican's chief doctrinal enforcer, directly denounced disobedient priests last April, saying it was not the right path to renewal in the Church.

(Additional reporting by Tom Heneghan; Editing by Jon Hemming)

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Comments (11)
DeanMJackson wrote:
Ladies and gentlemen, neither the Vatican, nor Pope Benedict, are conservatives, which was proven when the Marxist-oriented, liberation theologist Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller was appointed last summer to head up the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the purpose for the appointment to plug the damaging leaks from the Vatican. This is the man that the supposedly “conservative” Pope Benedict knows he can trust 100% to prevent any more embarrassing leaks from the Vatican…a Marxist-oriented, liberation theology enthusiast. Does this make sense to you?

We now have proof that the current “power struggle” within the Vatican has nothing to do with a clash of “conservative clerics” vs. “liberal clerics”.

So what is the power struggle all about? More insidious than you could guess. Remember how Stalin infiltrated the Russian Orthodox Church? Well, guess what? Those agents were never removed after the “collapse” of the USSR! Oh, you didn’t know that? Well, you would if you had paid more attention to the inexplicable things taking place within the “former” USSR these past 21 years. Well, so much for split milk, suffice to say that the Vatican was also infiltrated by Moscow by the late 1950s, which is why the Vatican refused to release the Third Secret of Fatima in 1960 because of the inconvenient part of the “secret” which mentioned the infiltration of the Vatican by “Satanic” forces (read: Communist forces). Well, the Communists in the Vatican weren’t going to release such a document, it might have led to an unwelcome closer inspection of the Vatican by outside sources.

Now you also know who set in place the policy of passing onto other parishes priests who molest children, instead of assigning those priests to duties not involving children. It should have been obvious to us all that only nonbelievers inside the Vatican would tolerate such a policy when such a policy was an assured one-way ticked to Hell if believers were in control of the Vatican. Moscow’s plan is not to destroy the Catholic Church, but weaken and control it.

Nov 29, 2012 4:29pm EST  --  Report as abuse
DeanMJackson wrote:
Correction to my comment above: should read:

Well, so much for spilt milk,

Nov 29, 2012 4:53pm EST  --  Report as abuse
thk wrote:
This whole idea of harping on obedience, especially to someone else’s conscience, is one sure way of wrecking a person’s belief in anything spiritual or religious. Basically, the Vatican Catholic Cult’s hierarchs say, “do it our way or the hyway.” This is their idea of formation of conscience. This whole idea of papal infallibility is a hoax based on Italian political metrics of the late 1800s. Jesus never committed “infallibility” to Peter or the Apostles. What they didn’t have, they could not give. “Nemo dat, quod non habet.” The Ante-Nicene Fathers never heard of “The Keys.” Early Church apologists played fast and loose with the gospels and Paul’s Epistles in order to meet contingencies of their times and communities. Celsus, a bishop in 170 A.D., roundly called out Christian scribes because of their rewriting of the gospels and epistles and was condemned as a heretic for his effort. The so-called New Testament Scriptures were not codified until the 4th Century. An awful lot of editing and rewriting took place between 70 A.D., date of the Markan composition and the Council of Nicaea in 325 A.D. The entire 21st chapter of the Johannine gospel is an interpolation by another hand thought to lend Dominical credence to Roman hegemony over other competing ancient Sees like Antioch, Corinth, Alexandria. Continued speculation in high Christological soteriology has been going on for millennia in all Christian communities. Unfortunately, Catholics have been faced with a siege mentality on the part of popes and hierarchs because of the Protestant Reformation. As a result, all further theological study has been curtailed by the Vatican. The only authorized material allowed is the recirculation of medieval myths, fairy tales and fables canonized as dogmas, papal pieties and hierarchical diktats. Unless, and until the ethos of the Cult’s leadership undergoes a conversion, it will have forfeited its title to and recognition as Church leaders.

Nov 29, 2012 8:24pm EST  --  Report as abuse
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