Right wing Bishop to Nazi Pope

Less than two weeks after being named as a bishop by the Pope, Father Gerhard Maria Wagner, a controversial Austrian priest, has asked to be relieved of the post.

From Rome the BBC’s Vatican correspondent David Willey reports on growing signs of communications failures at the Vatican.

The appointment of Father Wagner, an ultra right-wing priest, to the rank of auxiliary bishop of Linz unleashed a storm of criticism inside the Austrian Church. The bishops of Austria are holding an emergency meeting in Vienna to decide what to do next.

The Vatican says it has received no official communication from Father Wagner announcing that he is standing down.

Did the Pope know, when he signed the official document nominating Father Wagner, that the cleric had told his parishioners that the devastation and loss of life caused by Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans had been divine retribution for the sins of its citizens?

And that the priest had described the Harry Potter novels as “satanic”?

Did the Pope know that Bishop Richard Williamson, an ultra-traditionalist cleric at the centre of another recent and controversial papal decision, had publicly denied the Nazi Holocaust?

Although the Pope may not use Google himself, his team of highly professional advisers could certainly have checked the public record on the internet.

Ironically, the Vatican announced only this month that it is putting papal events onto YouTube in a joint venture with Google in order to increase the evangelical reach and visibility of the Catholic Church.

Did the Pope anticipate the political storm which arose in the Muslim world two years ago after an academic lecture at the university where he used to teach in Germany, in which he equated Islam with violence?

Were correct procedures followed in the appointment of the Austrian bishop?

Austria and the Vatican are linked by a concordat, which means that all senior appointments have to be approved by Vienna as well as Rome.

The answer to all these questions appears to be the same: no.

All of which raises another interesting question.

How is it that an organisation predicated upon the infallibility of its teaching should so consistently be failing to keep its internal and external channels of communication functioning smoothly?

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~ by jeditopcat on 21 February, 2009.

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