e-mail us
No action on Krenn after meeting


A meeting of Austria’s bishops adjourned Jan. 5 without any response to demands for the removal of the bishop of Sankt Pölten, Kurt Krenn (NCR, Dec. 18, 1998).

Instead, the president of the episcopal conference, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, said Austrian Catholics should “catch our breath” in 1999 after the tumultuous events of 1998.

The results of the Dialogue for Austria are in the hands of six working groups, each headed by a bishop. While some groups have met, the bishops have not said what they expect the groups to produce.

The row over Krenn began in November when he denounced a report from the bishops to the pope admitting mishandling of charges of sexual abuse against former Cardinal of Vienna Hermann Groër.

Krenn, Groër’s main defender, said he had not been consulted. When Schönborn said he had, Krenn responded, “Liars should keep their mouths shut.”

The comment, along with Krenn’s opposition to reform and his reputation for pastoral rigidity, triggered calls for resignation.

Following the Jan. 4 and 5 meeting, however, Krenn told reporters that “there was no personal debate and no criticism of me personally ... I possess the full confidence of the pope,” he said.

Krenn did wrest an oblique concession from Schönborn, who said that “mistakes were made” in the report to the pope. He did not elaborate.

As the bishops were meeting, new figures were released documenting the number of Catholics who left the church in 1998. Krenn’s diocese led the country with an increase of 37.34 percent over the number of defections in the previous year.

National Catholic Reporter, January 22, 1999