Catholic Culture reports:
Over 300 of Austria’s 4,200 priests have pledged to take part in Aufruf zum Ungehorsam (Call to Disobedience), an initiative launched in June.
The Call to Disobedience document cites “the Roman refusal of a long-overdue Church reform and the inaction of bishops.” Priests who support the document pledge
- to pray for Church reform at every liturgy, since “in the presence of God there is freedom of speech”
- not to deny the Holy Eucharist to “believers of good will,” including non-Catholic Christians and those who have remarried outside the Church
- to avoid offering Mass more than once on Sundays and holy days and to avoid making use of visiting priests–instead holding a “self-designed” Liturgy of the Word
- to describe such a Liturgy of the Word with the distribution of Holy Communion as a “priestless Eucharistic celebration”; “thus we fulfill the Sunday obligation in a time of priest shortage”
- to “ignore” canonical norms that restrict the preaching of the homily to clergy
- to oppose parish mergers, insisting instead that each parish have its own individual leader, “whether man or woman”
- to “use every opportunity to speak out openly in favor of the admission of the married and of women to the priesthood”
“The open call to disobedience shocked me,” Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna said in a July 7 letter, noting that many professionals would have “long since lost their jobs” if they had called for disobedience. Reminding priests that they had freely promised obedience to their bishop at ordination, he asked, “Can I rely on you?”
“Christian obedience is a school of freedom,” the cardinal added. “It is about the concrete translation into life of what we pray in every Our Father, when we ask the Father that His will be done in heaven and on earth … This willingness is made concrete in religious obedience to the Pope and bishops.”
Those who truly in conscience believe that they must disobey the hierarchy, and that “‘Rome’ is on the wrong track [and] gravely contradicts the will of God,” ought in consequence to “travel the way no more with the Roman Catholic Church. I believe and hope, however, that this extreme case does not occur here.”
“The one who gives up the principle of obedience dissolves unity,” the cardinal continued, as he pledged to meet with the initiative’s leaders and point out its “inconsistencies,” such as “priestless Eucharist.”
The new initiative’s web site is registered in the name of Father Hans Bensdorp, until 2010 the parish priest of the Church of the Rosary in Hetzendorf in the Archdiocese of Vienna. A YouTube video, uploaded in 2009, shows an excerpt from the Mass commemorating the 35th anniversary of Father Bensdorp’s priestly ordination, according to the video’s description. Tensions between the papacy and segments of the Church in Austria are not novel, as witnessed by the advent of Josephinism in the 18th centry, the fin-de-siècle Los von Rom (Free from Rome) movement, and disagreements between the Vatican and Vienna Cardinal Theodor Innitzer in the face of the Nazi Anschluss.
A ‘Call to Disobedience’?! That says it all.