Austria Grateful for Papal Action for Sankt Poelten

VIENNA, Austria, JULY 21, 2004 ( Austrians seem pleased with John Paul II’s quick decision to send a special inspector to the Sankt Poelten Diocese, where the major seminary is linked to a child-pornography scandal.

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The Vatican press office announced Tuesday that the Pope asked Austrian Bishop Klaus Küng of Feldkirch to investigate the situation.

«The Holy Father’s decision was received with great satisfaction, both by public opinion in the country, as well as by the Church in Austria, especially because of the speed of the Pope’s decision, who has just returned from Valle d’Aosta,» said Erich Leitenberger, director of the Austrian Catholic agency Kathpress.

«This means that both the Holy See as well as the Holy Father in person realize that a very serious situation has been verified in Sankt Poelten which has repercussions for the whole country,» he explained on Vatican Radio.

«The decision to appoint an apostolic inspector for a diocese is made in very few cases; that is, it is an extremely severe and important measure,» Leitenberger said.

The diocese «has lived through a very sad moment, very grave in its history,» he added. «Now it has great hope in the work of the apostolic inspector and in the decisions that the Holy See will make as a result of its intervention.»

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