01Dec Vatican punishes Austrian ‘Call to Disobedience’ priest

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.


(Report reproduced from www.ucenews.com: read full report here )

10 Responses

  1. Soline Humbert

    The honorific title of Monsignor (Mon Seigneur:My Lord) goes back to the 14th century Avignon papal court …Upon being stripped of his title Helmut Schueller will also have forfeited the right of wearing a black cassock with fuschia piping and buttons, and a fuschia sash….
    Now we know why women can’t be ordained: The titles and fashion accessories!

  2. Mary O Vallely

    Stripped of his title? Well,honestly! The sooner they get rid of all these silly titles the better. It all sounds so schoolboyish and just totally out of kilter with the Gospels, doesn’t it?! Reading lately about the cost of the new cardinals’ outfits (though I suppose it does keep Roman tailors in work) it seems almost obscene to spend that amount of money moving one man another step up a clerical ladder when so many struggle to feed and clothe their families. We do not need any ladder!
    I see there is a new Latin Mass Association being set up in Ballymena, Co. Antrim.They want to return to traditional Catholicism and state that they are ” becoming increasingly frustrated with the Protestantisation of the Church.” Well, I think we could learn a lot from our Protestant sisters and brothers. Get back to basics, for a start, and do away with titles, cappae magnae (Eddie Finnegan can correct my Latin) pink, purple and white shoulder capes etc; Luke’s Gospel needs another serious re-read!
    I have nothing against the Tridentine Mass but do object to a negative use of the word “Protestantisation” though God knows some have given it a bad name round Ballymena but only some. Pax.
    Mary V

  3. Ger Gleeson

    It appears to me that Rome may have done Fr Helmut Schueller a favour. Fancy titles and 18th century outfits are a far cry from the God who was born in a stable and died naked on the cross. The sooner we as a Church get back to basics, without the fancy trappings, the better.

  4. Peter Stobart

    I was shocked and saddened to see that about 150,000 Austrians left the Church in 2011-2012.

    The Vatican just doesn’t get it, does it?

  5. William Clifford

    Does obedience no longer matter?

    One of my favourite saints is John of the Cross. When writing a commentary on the Living Flame of Love (one of THE masterpieces of mysticism) he stated:

    “Submitting it to the judgement and better opinion of our Holy Mother the Roman Catholic Church, by whose rule no one errs…”

    Maybe the issue isn’t so much about obedience, but humility.

  6. Eddie Finnegan

    And talking of titles, I see this Reuters report has taken on a variety of titles depending on who’s relaying it, I suppose. “Vatican disciplines Austrian dissident priest” becomes “Dissident monsignor and Caritas chief is stripped of title” becomes “Vatican punishes Austrian ‘Call to Disobedience’ priest”.
    Maybe if ACP members want to use it in next week’s Parish Newsletter they could try: “Vatican rewards and liberates Austrian Reformer from his chains”.
    It’s unlikely, of course, that Pope Benedict was about to invite Chaplain of his Holiness Schueller to hear the papal confession or preach the Christmas homily in St Peter’s. Given the intricate Austro-German-Italian axis, why not an Advent showing of Chaplin’s ‘The Great Dictator'(1940) for Pope and Curia in the Sistine Chapel? That should give them a belly laugh to burst their kummerbunds.

  7. Lloyd Allan MacPherson

    Got to hand it to the Pope though – he is waking you all from your slumber. At the moment when all seemed lost, he prodded. Hopefully this act will incite the movement to attack the reforms it so desperately wants to change.

  8. Fergus P Egan

    The worst crimes against humanity are empowered and legitimatized by the “obedience”, and much of that in the name of God. Perhaps this highly revered virtue, which is a condition for priestly service in the Church, is not so much a virtue after all. There are other virtues that better serve God and the Church , virtues which certainly trump “obedience” . For people of conscience, “obedience” might well be relegated to the other side of the page – under the category “sin”.
    But what, then, about the loss of power and prestige? Ah! Isn’t that the point?

  9. Sean (Derry)

    Peter Stobart @ no.4, 150,000 Austrians just doesn’t get it, do they? That’s what unfortunately happens when the Church gets infiltrated with dissident ‘priests’ that lead their flock astray.

  10. Antonio Esteves

    When he became a priest he known that no longer lives for him but for others. To be a priest is to serve the people of God. Priest, bishop’s, pope’s are sinners like any other. All must obey the rules of the Church.
    The tradition of the church must prevail. The Catholic is to serve Catholic’s and we do not expect our protestants brothers and sisters accepting it.
    We are catholic!
    God bless.

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