The new Bishop of Linz, Austria – the left is freaking out

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."

"Christian Roots"

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."

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53 Responses to The new Bishop of Linz, Austria – the left is freaking out

  1. Hidden One says:

    Now I want to go to Austria.

  2. Quaesumus says:

    What a bishop!

  3. Braadwijk says:

    Awesome!

  4. sandy says:

    Brilliant.Pray to God that we get someone of his calibre at Westminster.

  5. Francesco says:

    CARDINALE SUBITO!

  6. gregY says:

    I love this new bishop.
    Not only because of the positions he takes, but from this article he appears to be very articulate and at ease in defending them.
    Lord, mercifully grant us more bishops like your servant David, men after Your own Heart.

  7. sandy says:

    Brilliant.Pray to God we get someone of his calibre at westminster.

  8. Wow…many of the Messes (I won’t call them Masses) shown on Catholic Church Conservation blog are from Linz…you’ve got to see some of the pictures…if you have a srong stomach…http://cathcon.blogspot.com/search/label/linz

    Pope Benedict is wasting no time…so, is there a priest he may be considering for Westminster not part of the “magic circle?”

    LONG LIVE POPE BENEDICT-MAY GOD GRANT HIM MANY YEARS!!!

  9. Andreas Mulia says:

    We need more and more bishop like this worldwide who dare to fight the true catholic faith.

  10. sandy says:

    Brilliant.Pray to God that we get someone of his calibre at Westminster

  11. Joan Ellen says:

    Thanks be to God. I don’t believe in cloning, but Kalamazoo, MI is waiting for a new bishop!!!

  12. Matt says:

    What a quote about altar boys, and how true. The man knows of what he speaks.

  13. Laura Lowder says:

    Oh, I’m pleased! A friend had emailed me earlier, upset with the broohaha over this appointment, and I’ve just sent her the link to this blog post. She’ll be very pleased.

    We need greater strength and virility in the Church, in her priesthood. This bishop seems to have the requisite amount of testosterone – for which I am grateful.

    Our German Shepherd is making strong, sound, astute appointments – God bless him!

  14. chironomo says:

    This is a bold appointment on Benedict’s part. We have had several bold appointments in the US over the past few months as well. The Pope is obviously more concerned about fidelity to the faith and the rebuilding of orthodoxy than he is about the opinions of those outside the Catholic faith, including some clergy…

    There will be more screaming from the left for sure…

  15. Helen Donnelly says:

    Simply inspirational. May God bless Bishop Wagner.

  16. craig says:

    I don’t buy the claim that “it is a good sign when a man likes sports to some extent”. Given that the statement was inserted after a reference to spectator sports and not physical activity, how is this any more an indicator of character than if a man doesn’t like sports?

  17. Panday says:

    Father Wagner has an STD from the Pontifical Gregorian University (summa cum laude) and has been a parish priest for more then thirty years. Hiss parish of Windischgarten (30 miles south of Linz, pastor since twenty years)is one of the most vibrant parishes in the diocese: more then fourty prayergroups, large Mass attendence, dozens of (male) altarservers and since ten years every day from 08:00-19:00hrs Eucharistic adoration. The diocese of Linz is in a very bad shape (they call it the “Linzer Sonderweg”, i.e. “The special path of the Linzer diocese”), but this “Sonderweg” is coming slowly to an end!

  18. Rachel says:

    As Jim Rome would say, “Rack HIM”! Well said bishop :). Now, if we could just get some more like you here in the USA.

  19. TJM says:

    Ineffable! Bishop-elect Wagner sounds like a practical, orthodox Catholic who can call a spade a spade. He’s right on the money when he asks who is
    being divisive! Congratulations Pope Benedict on another solid appointment. Tom

  20. Romulus says:

    He seems to have many good points and I wish him well. I wish also he hadn’t said some ill-considered, gratuitous, and uncharitable things about my city after hurricane Katrina. With all our faults, I still don’t recall any clergy in New Orleans slagging off Austrians as ripe for divine chastisement. Perhaps matters there are better than I knew.

    A certain appetite for controversy isn’t necessarily a bad thing in a bishop, but I pray Bishop Wagner in future will choose his battles more wisely.

  21. James II says:

    “I don’t buy the claim that “it is a good sign when a man likes sports to some extent”. Given that the statement was inserted after a reference to spectator sports and not physical activity, how is this any more an indicator of character than if a man doesn’t like sports?”

    I agree. Look at the English Premiership or the SPL. The whole thing is based on mass advertisement and unseemly wages. The players are hugely overpaid and almost all have druken and promiscuous lifestyles. They are poor role models for the young. The fact that the signing rights for these matches are almost always sold to Sky Sports means that most people end up watching them in the pubs. It’s no wonder we’ve got such an acute drinking problem, especially among the young. I resent having to walk down the high street with armies of drunken overweight yobs in football jerseys shouting obscene language and urinating on the pavements. Amateur sports are immeasurably better. Soccer is an enjoyable sport and I used to play for my hometown. I loved it and it kept me fit, trim and healthy. More emphasis needs to be placed on actually playing sports rather than simply watching them from the comfort of your own home. The government should also consider banning alcohol and junk food advertising at these games, especially if it’s targeted towards teenagers.

  22. Berthold says:

    The appointment of this bishop was another piece of ammunition for the Anti-Papal frenzy currently dominating German papers. I would not be surprised if the radical liberals like ‘We are church’ were planning to cause a lot of trouble for the new bishop (Some years ago in Switzerland many local councils (‘Kirchgemeinden’), there the legal owners of the church buildings, barred the orthodox and thus hated bishop Haas from entering the parish churches! I am not sure if similar things would be legally possible in Austria).
    The website of ‘We are church Austria’ has a furious statment, ending with an appeal to the faithful to ignore the ‘church directors’ (‘Kirchenleitung’) and live their own faith according their own responsibility – and all blame for these schismatic tendencies (‘Spaltungstendenzen’) lies with the authorities!

    I actually assume that many of the people who agree with such statements are not against the Church, but merely regurgitate the nonsense that has been preached to them in the last decades. It will be terribly difficult to clear up all the mess, and I fear that there is a lot more trouble ahead.

  23. irishgirl says:

    Awesome.

    A Bishop who knows how to ‘bish’!

    Another bullseye, Papa Benedict! Now, can you send someone like him to Syracuse?

  24. Hendrik (German) says:

    I have seen some videos (interviews) with Fr. Wagner. It’s only in german, at gloria.tv: http://www.gloria.tv/?search=Gerhard+Maria+Wagner&searchsubmit.x=0&searchsubmit.y=0 . He’s a great priest and good shepherd!

  25. Berthold says:

    The appointment of this bishop was another piece of ammunition for the Anti-Papal frenzy currently dominating German papers. I would not be surprised if the radical liberals like ‘We are church’ were planning to cause a lot of trouble for the new bishop (Some years ago in Switzerland many local councils (‘Kirchgemeinden’), there the legal owners of the church buildings, barred the orthodox and thus hated bishop Haas from entering the parish churches! I am not sure if similar things would be legally possible in Austria).
    The website of ‘We are church Austria’ has a furious statment, ending with an appeal to the faithful to ignore the ‘church directors\’ (‘Kirchenleitung’) and live their own faith according their own responsibility – and all blame for these schismatic tendencies (‘Spaltungstendenzen’) lies with the authorities!

    I actually assume that many of the people who agree with such statements are not against the Church, but merely regurgitate the nonsense that has been preached to them in the last decades. It will be terribly difficult to clear up all the mess, and I fear that there is a lot more trouble ahead.

  26. RichR says:

    Prayers for the Pope and this brave new bishop. May they have many years, and may our Lord give them strength to be faithful shepherds.

  27. Dan says:

    Funny how such practices as altar girls — “Gerhard Wagner is for celibacy, has no female altar servers in his parish…” –
    is considered a lefty practice.

    The fact is that it’s a Vatican practice, a Papal-approved practiced, as are numerous post-Vatican II liturgical novelties.

    I don’t know why we pretend that Communion in the hand, altar girls, additional Eucharistic Prayers…are viewed as lefty practices.

    They are neither lefty nor righty practices. They are Vatican-approved practices.

  28. wsxyz says:

    Dan, both Communion in the hand and altar girls were introduced and spread by disobedient priests and bishops at a time when they were forbidden. At some point, the Vatican issued permission for what was already illicitly occurring; assuming, perhaps, that the horse was already out of the barn.

    These practices are rightly associated with dissent because they were born out of dissent and disobedience.

  29. Magdalene says:

    I am most happy that this faithful priest is appointed bishop! And I hope the new appointment for New York will also be a man of holiness and stellar caliber.

    I know Pueblo has a bishop a year past retirement and there are still some 3 dozen priests left in the diocese…may a good, holy, faithful man be named successor here too. And in other places in need of a fresh injection of orthodoxy.

  30. Aquino says:

    If only we could get someone like him here in the UK. There are plenty of such good priests around, but they are sidelined by the magic circle and their acqueiscent Nuncio.

  31. Maynardus says:

    Dan – what’s your point?

  32. TJB says:

    I think I’ll jump to Fr. Z’s defense and say I agree that “it is a good sign when a man likes sports to some extent.” Though Im not going to bother making arguments for it, any reasonable person understands.

  33. Matt says:

    That a man enjoys watching sports IS a generally a good sign of masculinity. …it just is… And if you don’t like watching sports it doesn’t mean you are effeminate either. Perhaps you have other interests. Its not an either/or, nor is it a 100% perfect indicator.

  34. RosieC says:

    He sounds very solid and very practical. I really liked his answer to the altar server question.

  35. Mitch says:

    “With other religions you are far more circumspect”….Amen to that!

  36. Maynardus says:

    re: “I Can Not Be Blackmailed Over Church Doctrine”

    I can’t recall hearing a better response from a priest or bishop confronted with an onslaught of opprobrium from the forces of the world! Translate it into Latin and make it the “default” motto of all new bishops and the Church Militant will be back in business!

  37. RichR says:

    I think Ralph McInerny said it best in his novel, “Red Hat”. A bishop going through a moment of conscience reminisces about the resolve of the orthodox hierarchy during his seminary days long ago. He wrote: “When faced with criticism, their motto was, ‘To Hell with the opposition, full steam ahead!’”

  38. IvoDeNorthfield says:

    Wow! I was depressed yesterday. This interview has cheered me up. God bless the Holy Father.

  39. joe says:

    Wow! Yet another bishop who knows how to bish!

    Where do we put in an order for, say, a couple hundred more?

    AMDG,

  40. paul says:

    Sounds awfully similar to when JPII sent Bp. Carlson to Saginaw.
    Pray for this bishop–he will have a heavy cross to bear, but I’m confident that his leadership will slowly turn the diocese around, giving joy to the orthodox and discouragement to the dissenters.

  41. Marilee says:

    AWESOME….. Holy Father Pope BENEDICT XVI… Thank you for Bishops like this who will truly shepherd us to go to Heaven. PLEASE, PLEASE HOLY FATHER, send someone like Fr Wagner here in SEATTLE.

    Let us please pray for our Shepherds especially for POPE BENEDICT XVI because he has lots of enemies in the CURIA and the VATICAN landscape who have aligned themselves with SATAN.
    Sweet Lord Jesus, please forgive us for the Sacrilege of COMMUNION ON THE HAND.

  42. Reggie says:

    He sounds like a good man, however, the Katrina comment was off based.
    I worked with those who evacuated people from that city and I feel that the comment was very inappropreate for how God acts. Hurricanes do what hurricanes do, however, I dont beleive that God would punish people for living in a city, that is more than how Father put it, a city of sin. What about New York, Las Vegas, Hollywood?
    Some one needs to remind the new Bishop that his words hurt.

  43. Andraea says:

    A true shepherd. Very very inspiring to see holy, orthodox and faithful priests are being elevated to be succesors to the apostles. God bless Pope Benedict and Bishop Wagner.

  44. ED says:

    While you guys pray for a solid bishop like this why do you stand on the sidelines as spectators ,it’s time to confront personally any priests laity deacons who are beauracratic dissenters in your diocese!!!

  45. Martin says:

    Brilliant. A Bishop who is courageous and valiant!!!

  46. wsxyz says:

    Reggie: I would say, first off, that you probably don’t know what Fr. Wagner actually said about New Orleans. You should realize by now that the media sensationalizes and distorts.

    Second, why wouldn’t you believe that God would punish a city, affecting all those who live in it? There are examples of such in the Bible.

    Third, did God use a hurricane to punish New Orleans? No one knows, but it is within the realm of possibility.

    I find it interesting that so many people, even readers of this blog, find it inconceivable that God has anything to do with the weather when we know for certain that everything in creation is either willed by God or permitted by God, who created all things, including the weather.

  47. Kelly says:

    Canon law question: Can the diocese of Oakland, CA be incorporated into his diocese???

  48. doctordrew says:

    I am very excited over this appointment, I hope to hear more of his pronouncements. These things, however, tend to bring a melancholy as well as I think of our own Bishop here, who i continually pray for.

    Perhaps I can relocate to Linz. My german is much too rusty now but with some work, perhaps a Rosetta Stone?

  49. John Womack says:

    “Thanks be to God. I don’t believe in cloning, but Kalamazoo, MI is waiting for a new bishop”

    Joan Ellen, I couldn’t agree more. Lord, if there are any more clones available, please send one to lead the Diocese of San Bernardino, CA.

  50. Rommel Lopez says:

    Wish he were a Filipino bishop… (sigh!)

  51. God grant this bishop (and our Holy Father) many happy and blessed years!

    How refreshing! Perhaps what is most shocking to the press is that not only is this bishop orthodox, he is manly – what is more he speaks like a man. Direct, insightful and with boldness.

    God grant us more bishops – more spiritual fathers – like this to His Church!

  52. Bruce W. says:

    keep firing the fastballs,bishop,and never forget to mix in some “chin music”! a bit of baseball lingo, a bit of a sports fan meself.

  53. Cal says:

    It seems that the Holy See has rethought the appointment: Rorate Coeli is reporting that Wagner has resigned the appointment as auxiliary bishop and that the Pope accepted it.

    http://rorate-caeli.blogspot.com/2009/02/popes-appointee-bullied-into-submission.html