Many people have sent me notes about the new auxiliary bishop of Linz, Austria. The left wing is going nuts over the appointment of this "ultra-conservative".
A kind reader translated an article from German, which I share with you here:
I Can Not Be Blackmailed Over Church Doctrine
Gerhard Wagner is for celibacy, has no female altar servers in his parish and asks who is really being divisive in the diocese: The future auxiliary bishop did not disappoint at his introduction yesterday.
A few supporters applaud as Wagner enters the hall with Bishop Ludwig Schwarz. Bishop Schwarz is unhappy about the hefty reactions to Wagner’s appointment. "It was not pretty" he says. He reminds critical priests that they have sworn to be reverent and obedient to the Bishop. Then Wagner introduces himself and answers journalists questions.
Who is being divisive?
Wagner jokes "only one thing divides me from Bishop Schwarz: He is a Rapid supporter (Vienna Soccer Club), [it is a good sign when a man likes sports to some extent] and I’m a LASK fan (Linz Soccer Club)" Then he gets serious and speaks about the polarization in the diocese. "What unifies us, is our Catholic faith. Those who dissent should consider whether it is not really they who are being divisive. [excellent!] I fail to see why I should portrayed as divisive when I step up in defence of the Church and align myself with the Pope. Something is not right there." [Right!]
You cannot ignore the fact, says Wagner upon questioning, that the Second Vatican Council strengthened the role of the laity.The Church needs committed laymen. But a priest can only be replaced by a priest. It is not possible to take from a priest that "which belongs to the nature of the priesthood." "Celibacy shows that there are persons willing to completely give themselves for the Kingdom of God, and the people expect that too."
What is a punishment?
In the case of his controversial statements about hurricane Katrina and "spiritual pollution", Wagner says he didn’t write about "God’s Punishment". No one knows whether something is a punishment from God or not, he says. But we must not forget that God does set boundaries for us; just as parents who, when they punish a child, act out of love.
Confronted with the question, whether he is afraid of people leaving the Church as a result his appointment, the future auxiliary Bishop responds with another question: "Should we be continually adapting the doctrine of the Church to please those who threaten to leave tomorrow and the day after tomorrow? I say: We cannot be blackmailed. Of course, I would like to make an effort on behalf of each one." But in the end you can’t prevent someone from leaving.
Female altar servers are not required, says the pastor in response to the question about why there are none in Windischgarsten (Fr. Wagner’s parish). That is not a question of the faith. "At a certain age, boys and girls don’t want to have anything to do with each other. Then, when they do want to have something to do with each other, at 14, then they no longer want to become servers."
The final question concerns the examination of islamic religion teachers. Wagner chimes in: "Islam is spreading because we are not conscious of our Christian roots." Turning to the journalists he says: "You should stop constantly beating up on the Catholic Church. With other religions you are far more circumspect."