Pope Asks Austrian Bishops for Fidelity

Meets With Prelates to Discuss Doctrinal Issues

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VATICAN CITY, JUNE 16, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is asking the bishops of Austria for authentic fidelity to the Second Vatican Council and the magisterium.

The Pope spoke with the bishops in meetings at the Vatican on Monday and Tuesday, attended as well by members of the Roman Curia.

During the meetings, “characterized by a lively collegial affection” themes that “affect the situation of the Diocese of Linz and the Church in Austria” were taken up “with fraternal dialogue and a constructive spirit […] presenting solutions for the current problems,” according to a statement from the Vatican.

The Diocese of Linz has seen controversy in recent years regarding ecclesial personalities and their positions against the magisterium. At the end of January this year, a priest chosen to be an auxiliary bishop, Father Gerhard Maria Wagner, asked the Holy Father to be released from the appointment even before he was made bishop, because of the controversy that his selection had caused in the press and among the prelates themselves.

“The Holy Father has recalled the urgency of going deeper in the faith and the integral fidelity to the Second Vatican Council and the post-conciliar magisterium of the Church, and of the renewal of catechesis in the light of the Catechism of the Catholic Church,” the Vatican statement added.

It added: “There has been discussion of doctrinal and pastoral questions and of the situation of the clergy, the laity, the major seminaries and the theological faculties in Linz and in other dioceses of Austria.

“The Austrian bishops have thanked the Holy Father for his paternal solicitude and for this meeting, a sign of his closeness to the Church in Austria, and they have assured him of their full communion and affection. The Austrian bishops also thank the Roman Curia for the fruitful collaboration and availability.”

In the meetings, the following Austrian bishops participated: Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna and president of the episcopal conference, Archbishop Alois Kothgasser of Salzburg, Bishop Egon Kapellari of Graz-Seckau, and Bishop Ludwig Schwarz of Linz.

Among the collaborators of the Pope who participated were Archbishop Peter Stephan Zurbriggen, apostolic nuncio in Austria; Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops; Cardinal William Levada, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith; Cardinal Cláudio Hummes, prefect of the Congregation for Clergy; Cardinal Zenon Grocholewski, prefect of the Congregation for Catholic Education; and Cardinal Stanislaw Rylko, president of the Pontifical Council for the Laity.

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