Austrian Seminary Investigated by Episcopate

VIENNA, Austria, JULY 14, 2004 ( The Austrian bishops’ conference announced the start of an investigation into allegations involving superiors and students of the Sankt Polten Seminary.

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The episcopate has established a commission to make the internal investigation, the Austrian Catholic agency Kathpress reported Tuesday.

The media have published reports that the attorney general’s office found thousands of pornographic photographs in connection with the seminary.

Bishop Egon Kapellari of Graz, vice president of episcopal conference, told public radio station ORF said that order must be restored in the seminary according to Church rules.

The formation center did not follow the criteria established in Austria to select candidates for the priesthood, but opted «for a separate path which did not turn out to be the appropriate one,» the bishop said.

Franz Schrittwieser, former rector of the seminary, who was dismissed three years ago, told the radio station that candidates were admitted who did not meet the necessary conditions and who had been previously rejected by other dioceses because of «psychic instability or illness.»

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