Nov 7, 2011


Thanks once again to Bridget Mary's Blog for this revolutionary news from Vienna. Lay Catholics will begin to celebrate the Eucharist on their own in priestless parishes. This is just the kind of prophetic act the Church needs in this time of crisis to highlight the fact that the hierarchy, who have become mere bureaucratic administrators of  Church 'buildings' and little more (except as signs of contradiction), do not possess some charismatic superiority, some special supernatural power,  that elevates them above the laity. It is this misinformed adulation and 'idolization' of hierarchical power that the community called Church needs to purge from its body, this powerful addiction to sacral power residing exclusively in specially blessed male leaders. This act, if carried out, has implications far more profound than simply providing a solution to the priest shortage. The very system of clericalism needs to go and nothing less than a shock of this magnitude will effect such a profound purification. Blessings upon the We Are Church group in Vienna.

VIENNA Mon Nov 7, 2011 

(Reuters) - "Dissident Austrian Catholics announced lay people will start celebrating Mass when a priest is unavailable, a clear call to disobedience just as the country's bishops hold their autumn conference.

A manifesto adopted by dozens of activists at the weekend said lay people will preach, consecrate and distribute communion in priestless parishes, said Hans Peter Hurka, head of the group We Are Church.

"Church law bans this. The question is, can Church law overrule the Bible? We are of the opinion, based on findings from the Second Vatican Council, that this (ban) is not possible," he said Monday...
Schoenborn, a former student and close associate of Pope Benedict, has ruled out sweeping changes demanded by dissident priests led by his former deputy, Rev. Helmut Schueller...The group, which claims to represent about 10 percent of the Austrian clergy, has challenged Church teaching on taboo topics such as priestly celibacy and women's ordination..."

"...A record 87,000 Austrians left the Church in 2010, many in reaction to sexual abuse scandals."
(Reporting by Michael Shields and Tom Heneghan)



Terence Weldon said...

This is fascinating development Jayden, which I have could willingly explore for hours more - but it's now midnight.

It comes on top of news that a research survey has confirmed that the priests who started the Austrian rebellion have overwhelming support. The Austrian bishops have a major quandary here: they simply cannot afford (literally) to alienate still further the already disaffected Catholic base, but the reforms that are needed are outside their power.

Meanwhile, on a much smaller scale, Fr Bob Maguire of South Melbourne has used the phrase "Occupy the Church" in his call for support with his own conflict with the local bishop. That phrase aptly describes what is happening in Austria now - and I believe will in time expand to a much wider front.

Progressive Catholics are at long last flexing their muscles in defiance of episcopal power and control, and high time it is too. Bishops will learn, as other despots have done in secular uprisings, that where naked power lacks the support of the governed, they have no authority at all.

Lacking military firepower, once that all important consent of the governed is gone, the oligarchs will be left with nothing at all to sustain them.

Terence Weldon said...

(Apologies for the appallingly poor proof reading and subsequent grammatical oddities in the comment above. I did say it is midnight).

Richard Demma said...

Fascinating news, Terence, and a great post at OT. Is it coincidence or providential that this most public of revolts is taking place in the diocese of one of the wisest, most humane Cardinals alive today. In fact, he stands out as so different from the sea of red robes around him, most of whom seem interchangeable.

William D. Lindsey said...

Jayden, I'm catching up on blog reading, and want to thank you for this wonderful commentary. It ties right in to Jamie Manson's prophetic keynote address to the recent Call to Action conference, about which I posted something at my blog today. I will now append a note to that posting direction folks to your posting here.