Pope Benedict XVI on Monday rescinded the promotion of a very, very conservative pastor who has recently come under some scrutiny for his remarks that Hurricane Katrina was God’s way of punishing New Orleans, the New York Times reports.
In January, the Pope promoted‚ Rev. Gerhard Maria Wagner‚ to the position of‚ auxiliary‚ bishop in Austria’s third largest city, Linz.
When the announcement was made in January, it was followed by a public outcry from Austrian Catholics, who believed Rev. Wagner’s‚ appointment would push some believers away from the Catholic church.
Wagner’s ideologies have been widely disputed and discredited. He blamed Katrina and other natural disasters on “spiritual pollution” caused by the human race. He’s also classified the Harry Potter novels as “satanic.”
Wagner gave up the post of auxiliary bishop in Linz last month, following the publication of his comments and the subsequent and inevitable controversy. The Pope’s nullification of the promotion just serves to further distance the church from Wagner’s insane comments.
This really reminds me of Bishop Richard Williamson’s‚ remark about how no Jews were gassed during the Holocaust. He was excommunicated and the Vatican demanded he recant his statement (even though I don’t see what that does, him saying he’s sorry after the fact doesn’t really mean anything. It’s like when Michael Richards apologized after the comedy club thing) which he did, and even though it was a pretty bad apology, his excommunication was lifted.
I don’t think it should’ve been lifted for Williamson, and even though his remarks were more offensive than Wagner’s, I think Wagner should be excommunicated too. The Pope is trying to reach out to the super conservatives, but is in a sense alienating some of the other Catholics at the same time.
You can’t please everyone so there’s no sense in trying. Just kick out the people who screw up. Someone denies gassing during the Holocaust, kick ’em out. Someone says Harry Potter is satanic, kick ’em out for sure because Harry Potter kicks ass.
My understanding is that the Pope is demanding he change his beliefs and state that implicitly(that is to recant). He apologized for offending anyone and it was rejected. He has not been fully restored.