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Author Topic: Austrians Leaving Catholic Church  (Read 1314 times) Average Rating: 0
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Brendan03
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« on: September 24, 2004, 03:08:57 PM »

The facts here are very much dependent on the reality that in Germany and Austria such things can be *tracked* because the churches are supported financially by the state, and the state collects "Kirchensteuer", or church tax, from everyone who does not formally declare to the state that they are not a member of any religious denomination that is supported by state funding.  It's therefore easier to guess at how many have left, and when, than it is in many other countries because it is a matter of public record.

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Austrians Leaving Catholic Church
By THE ASSOCIATED PRESS

Published: September 24, 2004


Filed at 2:50 p.m. ET

VIENNA, Austria (AP) -- Austrians disgusted by a summer of scandal involving child pornography at a seminary and a prominent priest accused of sexual abuse are leaving the Roman Catholic church in significant numbers, church leaders said Friday.

Applications to withdraw from parishes in the Archdiocese of Vienna rose by 36 percent in July and by another 40 percent in August, it said. As of Aug. 31, 10,709 people had left the church, it said.

Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, Austria's top churchman, said he couldn't blame people for wanting out after the discovery in July of 40,000 lurid images -- including child pornography -- on computers at the seminary just west of Vienna.

Earlier this month, a second scandal hit Austria's church when Catholic officials disclosed they were investigating allegations that one of the country's best-known priests molested teenagers in the 1980s.

``We've had these unending icy rains the entire summer: more and more scandals, negative headlines, and from many people, cries of `I've had enough!''' Schoenborn wrote in a commentary for this Sunday's edition of a Vienna church newspaper.

The cardinal appealed to Austrians to remain faithful to their parishes.

Austria's scandals have dealt a fresh blow to a church already stung by widespread allegations of priest abuse in the United States. Last year, the Archdiocese of Boston agreed to pay $85 million to settle lawsuits filed by more than 500 victims of clergy sex abuse.

In overwhelmingly Roman Catholic Austria, people are automatically registered as church members when they are baptized as infants. To get their names off the rolls, they must formally apply to the government and pay any state church taxes they may owe.

Before the sex scandals hit, unhappiness with the church tax -- which averages about $350 a year -- was a key reason why people left.

Archdiocese spokesman Erich Leitenberger said Friday that departures were up nearly 11 percent for the year, and that for the church, ``every withdrawal is one too many.''

The Vatican has appointed a special investigator, Austrian Bishop Klaus Kueng, to look into the seminary pornography scandal and report back to Pope John Paul II. Police are conducting a separate criminal investigation.

Last month, Kueng shut down the seminary in St. Poelten, where trainee priests also had snapped photos of each other fondling and kissing one another.

Police and church officials, meanwhile, are investigating allegations that a prominent priest, the Rev. August Paterno, molested at least 10 youths two decades ago. Paterno, well-known for having ghostwritten a nationally televised series on religion, has maintained his innocence. He retired last week.

Helmut Schueller, the Vienna Archdiocese's ombudsman for victims of sexual abuse, conceded that some believers feel betrayed and that the Austrian church's credibility is at stake.

``The faithful have the right to expect those who are in positions of authority in the church to be controlled,'' he told The Tablet, an independent Catholic magazine in Britain.

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« Reply #1 on: September 24, 2004, 04:13:25 PM »

Quote
Last month, Kueng shut down the seminary in St. Poelten, where trainee priests also had snapped photos of each other fondling and kissing one another.

LOL, what  a bunch of fruitcakes......If I ever stumbled onto some priests doing such acts I would give them a swift kick in the but.

Looks like Austria & the rest of western europe can say bye bye Catholicism, hello islamo-facism!!!!!
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« Reply #2 on: September 24, 2004, 04:46:21 PM »

Orthodoxy is missing a huge chance to come in & sweep up some of these people.  Hope someone's doing it.
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« Reply #3 on: September 24, 2004, 05:05:51 PM »

Orthodoxy is missing a huge chance to come in & sweep up some of these people.  Hope someone's doing it.
Unfortunately, those doing so will likely be Neo-Pagans, Islamics, or Protestants.
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Elisha
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« Reply #4 on: September 24, 2004, 06:11:24 PM »

Orthodoxy is missing a huge chance to come in & sweep up some of these people.  Hope someone's doing it.

I think there are a few ROCOR and Greek parishes in Vienna.  My friend Karim, (Palestinian) says that his relatives over in Germany and/or Austria go to Greek parishes over there.  I just hope those parishes are doing their job in adapting (or compromising language-wise) to the local vernacular.
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Brendan03
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« Reply #5 on: September 24, 2004, 06:33:58 PM »

There is in fact at least one ROCOR parish I have seen (and visited) and  Greek parish as well (which was closed when I walked past it a few years ago).  But my guess is that these folks are just going to drift away from religion in general.  Orthodoxy is an unlikely choice ... for Austrians, Catholicism is almost as much of their ethno-national identity as is the case in Spain or Italy.
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