The real reason that people are leaving the Church is for the fact that over ninety percent are paper Catholics -- among whom are many priests and even Bishops -- there's no real connection to the Church there.
Here's the kath.net story:
With a view on controversial themes within the Church ++Schönborn pleads for an "open debate". This is also applicable to celibacy, for there is "good cause why we should discuss it."
Brixen (kath.net/KAP)In the crisis the binding power of the Church will again be made clear. The president of the Austrian Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn said this to the media in Brixen, with a view on the large numbers of those leaving the Church last year. The meeting of all the entire Bishops conference will deal intensively with the questions of church losses and also the legal measures against sexual abuse. The sex abuse crisis has been naturally blamed for the climbing numbers of church defections.
But there are also "signs of hope for a spring in the Church", urged the Viennese Archbishop, who spoke for an "open debate" within the Church about polemical themees. It needs consideration that people today can decide to live in the context of a plural and multi-religious society. This new freedom is also positive: "Christianity will be more a point of conviction, and we will have a free Church in a free society", emphasized the Cardinal and said: "The binding power of the Church will also become clearly stronger -- despite the abuse crisis."
More signs of hope are in the engagement of many young people, who are showing much concern for civil society and increasing interest in religious themes. For this back ground is pivotal, "the questions of faith, of God are wakening and taking hold in the midst of society", said the Cardinal. With a view upon controversial themes within the Church he pleads for an "open debate". This suffices also for celibacy, for it is " a good reason to have a discussion about it."
The Austrian Episcopate is preoccupied with its measures against sex abuse and correcting the configuration of the established guidelines. In the last year there is an increasing responsibility and "consciousness on to stand on the side of the victim". There are "clear standards" as well as working to know the truth and prevention. "I dare now to say that the Church has forged its way exemplarily", said the president of the Bishops' Conference, and effect a "positive example" at the national level.
The discussion with media representatives from Italy and Austria took place immediately before the begin of the four day plenary assembly of the Austrian Bishops' Conference, which intitially will meet in South Tyrol. Cardinal Schonborn will give a press conference about the Plenary Assembly on the 25th of March at 10.00 O'Clock in the "Club Stephansplatz 4", 1010 Vienna.
Read original at kath.net...