The decision to revoke Mgr. Helmut Schueller’s title comes just as the Austrian rebel priest movement prepares for a big international event
This punishment, which is more symbolic that anything, is nevertheless the sign of a certain cooling towards the activity of Austria’s rebel priests, just as they prepare for a big international event in 2013, which is aimed at creating links between priests across the world who are becoming restless with the Vatican’s ultra-conservatism and are seeking deep reforms in the Catholic Church.
Yesterday, the Vatican announced it was stripping Helmut Schueller, former vicar general of the Archdiocese of Vienna who has led the Pfarrer Initiative for some years now, of title “monsignor”. The Pharrer Initiative is a movement of Austrian priests that is asking for ecclesiastical reforms in areas such as obligatory celibacy and the administration of communion to divorcees and same-sex couples. Scheuller remains a priest to all effects and purposes but is not longer the “Chaplain of His Holiness”, an honorary title he received when he was president of Caritas Austria.
The Diocese of Vienna informed Schueller about Rome’s decision, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn’s spokesman, Michael Prueller told the Austrian press. Schueller is the parish priest of St. Stephan in the village of Probstdorf near Vienna.
The news comes just days after Schueller’s interview with Austrian news agency APA, in which he announced an international meeting of movements that have sprung up across the world in recent years, either following in the footsteps of the Austrian rebel priests or presenting their own requests.
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