Clergy rebellion against Roman Catholic Church in Austria

Time reports on “a clergy rebellion” in the Austrian Roman Catholic Church:

A Clergy Rebellion in Austria’s Catholic Church


There is open rebellion among the clergy of Austria’s Catholic Church. One highly placed man of the cloth has even warned about the risk of a coming schism as significant numbers of priests are refusing obedience to the Pope and bishops for the first time in memory.

The 300-plus supporters of the so-called Priests’ Initiative have had enough of what they call the church’s “delaying” tactics, and they are advocating pushing ahead with policies that openly defy current practices. These include letting nonordained people lead religious services and deliver sermons; making communion available to divorced people who have remarried; allowing women to become priests and to take on important positions in the hierarchy; and letting priests carry out pastoral functions even if, in defiance of church rules, they have a wife and family.

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  1. Peter Pearson

    Gosh, it would be so much simpler to join the Episcopal Church. Yes, that’s not an easy decision to come to, especially when you’ve been raised in the “One, True Church,” but it is possible. I did it and I have never regretted that decision.

  2. Matthew Buterbaugh+

    Peter, I was thinking that same thing. It would only be fitting to offer them a place in the Anglican Communion. Perhaps we could draft some sort of “Constitution” for disaffected members to have a smooth transition this way.

  3. Apps 55753818692 1675970731 F785b701a6d1b8c33f0408

    AND…we could give the disaffected Roman Priests the option of staying celibate in order to avoid culture shock.

    Seriously, however, they’re going to have to get more than 300 supporters to even begin to convince Rome. It would be great if the American Roman Catholics chimed in as loudly as the Austrian ones.

    Cullin R. Schooley

  4. Peter Pearson

    So how do we reach out to these folks to offer our support? Many of us (Episcopalians) are former RC’s and it would seem appropriate that we let them know that they have options. Unfortunately I have found that our leaders seem to be very reluctant to offend the RC heirarchy regardless of how they insult and undermine us. What can we do? Maybe if the people lead our leaders will follow????

  5. Whatever the RC clergy in Austria decide to do, they have my prayers and support. If the priests are excommunicated, then representatives of the Episcopal/Anglican Church in Europe should definitely reach out to them.

    June Butler

  6. Warren Woodfin

    This sounds like a replay of the discontent among German-speaking Catholics in the wake of the first Vatican Council in the 1870’s, which led to the great enlargement of the Old Catholic churches. The Old Catholic Church would be a natural home for the dissident priests, one with which the Episcopal Church is already in full communion.

  7. Danny Berry

    I like Woodfin’s reading of this phenomenon. Now it’s Austria’s turn to have had ENOUGH. I have no doubt that the clergy who are so disaffected with the Vatican’s instransigence (and, frankly, irrelevance) are Christ-loving, church-loving men who want to be faithful to the Gospel. Unfortunately, bureaucratic institutions are not usually so enamored of the idea of faithfulness to the Gospel: they’re enamored of one thing and one thing only: self-preservation. It’s the first rule of any bureaucracy, no matter what kind of bureancracy it is. These guys may as well toss in the towel now. Their chief pastor, the Archbishop of Vienna, has already shown them he doesn’t care a fig for them.

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