In wake of the fall-out from the controversial priest Gerhard Maria Wagner’s auxiliary bishop appointment and resignation, Vienna Archbishop Christoph Cardinal Schönborn has called for patience and understanding in a pastoral letter released earlier this week.
The cardinal empathized with his flock by stating, "Many people find it impossible to understand recent decisions by the Vatican, which have made some of them angry. I understand their reaction."
Schönborn agreed that the Church needed to admit Her mistakes and called for solidarity during this time, "I appeal to you to remain on our common path," he said.
Last week, the Vatican announced it would not be sending an apostolic delegation to Linz to investigate the former auxiliary bishop-designate Wagner and the controversy surrounding the conservative priest and his statements concerning the Harry Potter book series as "a work of Satanism," homosexuality as "curable" and natural disasters like the 2004 tsunami in Southeastern Asia and 2005 Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans as God’s punishment of human sin.
Wagner’s comments also include the topic of Baptism and the decrease of the Catholic Church’s influence in Austria. Wagner asked believers at a Catholic Church in Windischgarsten: "If the Church isn’t that important anymore, why is a child brought into the Church to be baptized? Why don’t people take their children somewhere else?"
In other sermons, Wagner warned that "many more people than you think have made a pact with the devil, with Satan," and complained about people who "make use of catholic Holidays" but don’t "want to have anything to do with the Church."
Wagner’s controversial public comments led to an exodus of Catholics from the Church in the diocese after his nomination.
The Pope formally accepted Wagner’s resignation last week.