FaithWorld

Austrian cardinal lays down the law to rebel Catholic priests

June 27, 2012

(St. Stephen's cathedral in Vienna July 7, 2010. REUTERS/Lisi Niesner )

Austria’s Roman Catholic Church has laid down the law to its rebel priests by telling them they could not support a reform manifesto criticized by Pope Benedict and stay in an administrative post.

One priest told Reuters he had already stepped down from the post of deacon rather than renounce the “Call to Disobedience” manifesto that challenges Church teaching on taboo topics such as women’s ordination and offering communion to non-Catholics.

Another priest had withdrawn his support for the reform campaign and kept his job, a Church spokesman said on Wednesday.

He added that two or three more have yet to decide whether to withdraw their support from the manifesto from a reform group called “Priests’ Initiative” whose demands have been echoed by some Catholic groups and clerics in Germany, Ireland, Belgium and the United States.

“You can easily remain a member of the Priests’ Initiative. You must only distance yourself from the ‘Call to Disobedience’ in an appropriate way,” Church spokesman Nikolaus Haselsteiner said.

“In an average company, a department head can’t say he doesn’t care what the CEO says,” he added.

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Standing on the shore with his old hand out and the tide coming in.

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