Saturday, December 5, 2015

Manfred Scheuer, Custodian of Decline, Is the New Bishop of Linz

Manfred Scheuer is New Bishop of Linz
Martha Weinzl
(Vienna) In the Austrian diocese of Linz there is an ambivalent mood that reflects the overall condition of the Catholic Church in Austria. Some are happy, others are depressed. On November 16th it was reported by state radio ORF, that Innsbruck Bishop Manfred Scheuer (60), will be the new diocesan bishop of Linz. The daily newspaper, Oberösterreichische Nachrichten reported today triumphantly: "Linz gets the Bishop it desires'".

Haste in Announcing

The Vatican did not immediately confirm the appointment rumors, but they were reported by the Catholic News Agency  and on the website of the Archdiocese of Vienna as a reliable fact. According Oberösterreichische Nachrichten the appointment is to take place "in the coming days" [It was actually 18 November] the appointment. Despite this reservation, there can be no doubt about it: Manfred Scheuer is next bishop of Linz. The Austrian government, which must agree to every episcopal designation under concordat, today issued  their consent for Scheuer.
Someone there was in any case in a hurry with the announcement of the change from Innsbruck to Linz. Within the Church secrecy applies  until the official appointment by the Pope. It's an indication of how happy are certain high Church circles over the appointment. An appointment that they have benevolently promoted. The Diocese of Linz is a prime example of the ecclesiastical decline. There is therefore a lot of interested eyes on a bishop's appointment.

Criteria for an Austrian Bishop Anno 2015

The criteria for a bishop candidate are laid down in church, but paper is patient. The actual criteria are in Austria something like this:
A bishop should be as  inconspicuous as possible and an unknown quantity, even more so, he should not offend anywhere, at least not in public opinion in  relevant  circles in politics, media and business, he should therefore be situated as much as possible in the middle of prevailing general climate in the country   and not be an open rebel, but especially not "hurt" anyone  by which is meant the divorced and remarried, those living in wild "marriages" or elites living in homosexual relationships in society and the church, including the female proportion of them who have had an abortion. In sum, this means that he should not develop too many initiatives, fit well into the post-Conciliar councils modes, in other words be a team player and recently also demonstrate  "synodality", and above all avoid being a committed  and determined preacher of the Catholic faith.
The most important thing for a bishop is that  he should keep Church exit numbers as low as possible so that the church-tax continues to flow.
So bottom line, he  should largely pass himself off as Mainstream  or provide sufficient guarantees to accommodate this. So he will report primarily to speak on subjects  in which he may make his agreement with the government and the public, at least in the published opinion. And, he will be silent on those parts of Catholic doctrine as much as possible that are not part of the mainstream.
It is in this frame that  the appointments have  moved so far for Austria under Pope Francis. The displacement of Scheuer from Innsbruck to Linz, including  Feldkirch, Salzburg, Graz-Seckau and the Military Ordinary is the fifth appointment of the Argentine Pope,  is a look at the message of the press agency of the Austrian Bishops' Conference KAP which reveals included  keywords:. "The man of the middle," "Counciliar"," ecumenical "," Caritas" (organization). A few days ago Scheuer presented his latest book, whose title is reminiscent of Pope Francis: "Against the Church's narcissism," whose subtitle is a "spiritual-political plea."

Diocese in "Progressive" Managed Decline

This raises the question, for whom is Msgr. Scheuer is  the "desired Bishop" and just who are the "many" are who  want him at the head of the Diocese of Linz?
The highest diocesan bodies have engaged in profiling for two years for the future bishop. Given that the diocesan apparatus is interwoven with the left green and liberal, one can imagine the requirements. Bishop Scheuer, a native of Upper Austria, was named instead of  the "ideal candidate". This has its reasons.
The subversive, largely non-Catholic milieu feared for its sinecures and conveniences. The zeal for "the cause" of "another church" did its work. For better understanding, Linz is hard fought ground between "Church reformers" and "conservatives," the latter are certainly at a disadvantage. They may toil in the lower floors, while others have made themselves comfortable on the upper floors.

Zauner's"Rhenish Alliance," & Aichern's "Priestess"

After decades of "liberal" bishops a change could hardly be reckoned. Yet in 1956, Bishop Franz Zauner was appointed by Pope Pius XII.   (since 1949 coadjutor), the Diocese  under John XXIII. expressed swung with flying colors into the camp of the "optimists," in historical terminology, into the camp of the "Rhenish Alliance". Linz was one of the dioceses of the German-speaking world, where the "spirit of the Council" raged especially virulently. With Alois Wagner,  Zauner received an even more liberal Auxiliary Bishop for the "implementation of the Council".
He was followed after 24 years by the jolly Benedictine Maximilian Aichern. He was a compromise candidate to prevent Alois Wagner as a candidate of the "liberals" and Kurt Krenn as a candidate of the "conservatives". This presented Aichern as the prototype of an "ideal" Austrian bishop. Neither "left", nor "right", but in the center and in case of doubt rather "left" in order to clarify it in an inappropriate reference to political categories. Aichern finally became so colorful that he was retired prematurely in the cause of the "female priesthood" of  Mayr-Lumetzberger. That was, however, again after 24 years.
For the "priestess" Christine Mayr-Lumetzberger,  Aichern may have perhaps felt some weakness because she came as a Benedictine nun from the same Order. Aichern could never really clear it up, that he had sponsored the "priestesses training" for Mayr-Lumetzberger from the diocesan funds. In any case, the ex-nun was not satisfied with the state of consecrated life, but felt called to something higher. She jumped out of the convent and married. But the marriage could not quench the voracity of her thirst. So she left in 2002 to be dubiously consecrated as an invalid "priestess". Shortly thereafter, she grabbed, considering the motto, going whole hog, yet no less  invalid a consecration to "Bishop".
Then came the bishop exchange. Aichern was in good Austrian,  elegantly made an emeritus. Although Benedictine, he no longer wanted to return to the monastery. This included a statement. On Mayr-Lumetzberger there was silence. She would simulate obscure ceremonies, sometimes in Catholic churches. Whether it is always with knowledge of the pastors or clandestinely, is to be seen.

Schönborn's "Most Conservative" Auxiliary,  Bishop of Linz

Vienna's Archbishop, Cardinal Schönborn, the strongman in Austria church, then sent his "most conservative" auxiliary bishop to Linz. That was in the year of 2005.
The ambassador was called Ludwig Maria Schwarz *) and came from the Salesian Order. In the faithful Church circles the sigh of relief was unmistakable. They had been systematically pushed out of the Church leadership. Yet the  full-time church apparatus, which was powerfully over bloated, worked assiduously to grow ever larger. The diocese now has more full-time diocesan apparatus employees than priests. The former feel patronized by the apparatus, cowed, annoyed and imposed upon, often in favor of further lay-Apparatchiks.
The situation in the parishes is the desolate part. The good priests form islands of faith and resistance. They have to deal with rebellious, especially amateurish,  and supposedly theologically  (un)formed individuals. These priests can expect no help from the Diocese.  They know that. The numerous submissions to numerous offices, desks, positions and agencies of the Ordinariate  often find themselves thrown unopened into the trash. That was the only form of "direct protection" and "mental hygiene".
On the other hand, the more "progressive" clerics get more  backing. One third of the Upper Austrian clergy signed the  "Call to Disobedience"  launched in 2006 by  the so-called Pfarrer-Initiative. This reinsurance  also involves the subject of the appointment of bishops.
Bishop Schwarz is considered a trustworthy, but irresolute man. [Really?] "Too good," is how he is generally acknowledged. An award for the bishop is not yet praise. His "goodness" has a downside. He came up the Danube with the mission to eliminate the proverbial "Linz situation". That's what he tried: he forbade the laity preaching and the baptisms by pastoral assistants. But the Appartschiks  cut him off quickly. The result was an inner emigration of the bishop. Sometimes you would hear nothing more from him for months in the public. After a period of such he was shown in 2013 in his own church newspaper while feeding the ducks. Was it a form of withdrawal from communication to the outside,  or an expression of utter resignation?

Remained an Onlooker

The reference to his "own" church newspaper is to be understood as a euphemism. There, the Appartschiks have the final say, anyway, not the bishop. The Linz Church Newspaper has always been renowned as a platform for a "church, faith and an attitude critical of Rome," says the Upper Austrian Catholic newsletter "The Truth" in 2009. The church newspaper had ten years previously wanted to offeer the price of its  with the Homosexuals Initiative Linz, that was only prevented by the protests of the people.
At least one personnel decision by Bishop Schwarz had positive results: in 2006 a CD on sexuality was sent to 15,000 Upper Austrian teenagers,  it was concerned with the advertising of contraceptives, abortion and homosexuality. The  Aichern appointed  "communications chief" of the diocese who was responsible for the action had to resign in 2009. He fell softly and now heads the Media Office of the Austrian religious communities. Its president,  Abbot Christian Haidinger, trumpeted that the Catholic moral teaching is "inhuman" and that he is in favor of  Communion for divorced and remarried, women priests and the lifting of the priestly celibacy. Things.are likely better among like-minded people.
Bishop Schwarz twice consecrated FSSP deacons to priests in his tenure, most recently this past July 4th. It reveals what achievements this bishop would have been able, had he would had a suitable staff and a suitable environment around. This is certainly not an excuse.
Bishop Schwarz leaves his office after ten years  as the head of the diocese and can claim to have remained an onlooker in a certain way.

The Case of Wagner

After the "liberal" desert in the country,  a decade would hardly have sufficed anyway   to give the diocese its orientation again. That was also seen in Rome under Pope Benedict XVI. Therefore, in 2009,  Bishop Schwarz should have been provided with the intellectually brilliant, theologically and pastorally experienced priest of Windischgarsten, the dogmatist Gerhard Maria Wagner as an auxiliary bishop.
What Benedict XVI.  had  estimated of Wagner, was that he was despised by "liberal" circles near him.  Wagner is known for his faithfulness. Feared especially is his intellect and his pugnacity. The parallels were to the St. Pölten Bishop,  Kurt Krenn, also from Upper Austria, were quickly drawn. His bishop's chair had been sawed beneath him in laborious work of 2004. The "progressive" and even the "moderate" trendsetting church circles of Austria therefore wanting nothing less than a second Krenn.
So the horn of the hunt was blown. In no time the appointed auxiliary bishop had become fair game. The Bishop of Linz in spe,Manfred Scheuer, hastened to distance hiself from his former classmate Wagner. To position oneself correctly at the right time, is part of the small multiplication table of the elites. Their art is to survive, - and to rise even higher if possible.
To make it short: Pooling efforts of anti-Church circles, "church critical" media, progressive hardliners and not least, the internal Church mainstream around Cardinal Schönborn, Wagner was prevented. Every day some new dirt was hurled at him. Which he would have withstood, but the plea finally came out of the Rome for "the sake of peace" to renounce the office. Wagner obeyed and stepped back, even before he had received episcopal ordination. How could the Bishop to be also be against the will of the Pope who had appointed him?
The Case of Wagner illustrates the influence of the Viennese Cardinal, who succeeded in altering Benedict XVI's decision. A persistent rumor goes that this was only managed by the "devil painted on the wall," that is, a schism was predicted, should Wagner become an auxiliary bishop.

Minimize Risks With Scheuer

A Bishop Wagner would have been hard for the Linz apparatchiks to  bear. But this assumed that Wagner would succeed Bishop Schwarz. A Bishop Wagner would set  alarm bells ringing in liberal circles.
Six years have passed since then. This past June 4th Bishop Schwarz finished his 75th birthday. But Pastor Wagner played no role in the appointment of the new Bishop.
The case explains in large part why Scheuer is considered in certain circles  a "preferred candidate". Each appointment entails unknowns and risks. The appointment of Scheuer minimizes these to a manageable size. As the reigning bishop, there is also a far better chance to get through the personnel decision in Rome, than a new "liberal" candidate.
The good forces in the Diocese of Linz, which make themselves known  in a whole series of initiatives, are forced to come to this decision reluctantly. The deficits are known that await a remedy but for which there is but no remedy in sight.  Finally, the following applies: The apparatus works primarily -  for the apparatus. With Bishop Scheuer,  the apparatus has a good chance, that everything remains as it is. And that is saying something in Linz.

The Negative Side of the Diocese

It is said that the essence and the mission of the diocese distorting apparatus retains its sinecures and continues to represent a Christianity Light.
It is said that cathedral minister Strasser may proceed with the destruction of the sanctuary.
It is said that the pastor of a Linzer parish can continue  in an apartment instead of the rectory with his wife and children.
It means  that as a whole, the priests with concubines (some of whom are male)  in the diocese, who are apparent  to such an extent as they were just after the Reformation. For the next 15 years they may be reassured that  their way of life will not change.
It is also stated that in some parishes on Sunday, as in Linz and Wels, instead of the pastor, a pastoral assistant with alb and pseudo stole, celebrating "worship", singing, preaching, pottering at the altar anything indefinable.
It is said that in the oldest church in Linz, "worship" is still celebrated every Sunday, but only on one Sunday is it a Holy Mass, while on the other Sundays  a "Liturgical Team" celebrates, where  the church visitors are actively prevented from fulfilling their Sunday obligation.
It is said that the church newspaper still ekes out a wallflower, located in politically correct tired platitudes.
It is said that with church funds  dodgy leftist clubs are sponsored and so that these anti-clerical circles in Catholic education worldwide can gather in the diocese.
It is said that faithful initiatives continue to receive no real support and a serious evangelization of the country is out of the question.
It is said that  everything that is "believed" in the official Catholic associations, no episcopal examination is subjected.  Also in Linz, as in most dioceses, it would rather not know the bishops
Listing is disillusioning, which is why it should be left off with.

The 14th Bishop of Linz

Manfred Scheuer is the 14th Bishop of Linz, a still relatively young diocese, which emerged only on a 1783/1785 imperial initiative. Until then, Upper Austria belonged ecclesiastically to the diocese of Passau.
Scheuer, born in 1955, taught dogmatic theology at the Catholic University of Linz. How much this is good, you can consider, when you know that Bishop Schwarz,  although he was rendered the luxury of a private university, never the less preferred to send his few seminarians to study in Innsbruck. He could have sent them also to Heiligenkreuz, but that would already have been too much of a good thing and in the Diocesan bodies without opposition unenforceable. But opposition was to Bishop Schwarz an abomination. As I said, a "good man".
His academic career led Scheuer then to Trier. He was also the postulator for the conscientious objector Franz Jägerstätter. The attitude Jägerstätter is not without controversy. Scheuer in any event gathered  politically correct points with him.
He never appeared as an open rebel, but was, however, more inclined  for "liberal" concerns than for "conservative" ones. The "disobedient" cleric found in him a benevolent interlocutor. The demands of the "rebels", he never rejected, but explained only in perfect modern Church talk, some were "unworkable"  at the diocesan level.
In Scheuer's previous diocese Innsbruck Martha Heizer, the chairman of "We Are Church",  simulated Mass before peers at home. Scheuer took no action, however,  as it was his duty, but appointed a commission of inquiry in 2011. Only when the CDF imposed excommunication in spring 2014, Scheuer brought the Roman decree.

Scheuer's track in the sand

So what does not leave any traces after twelve years as bishop of North Tyrol? Striking it was only through his inaction in the case of Heizer; prompt distancing of Bishop Wagner; the hasty confession as a Kasperian who advocated for "more rights" for divorced and remarried; by the removal of a chaplain, who had dared to speak of hell and purgatory; as an extra in multireligious events of the governing state; of the "stimulated" to allow  lay preaching as "pastorallly necessary".
Scheuer has proved himself especially as an administrator of the creeping decline. It seems that more  can not be expected in the Austrian Schönborn-Church of a diocesan bishop.
And as such, Scheuer is the "desired Bishop" of like-minded in Linz. Impulses for spiritual renewal of the Church of Upper Austria beyond a watered-green-savvy Christianity are not to be expected from him. The tragedy continues.
Finally, but by no means least to be regretted, as the very "progressive" agenda, categories foreign to the Church, like "conservative," "liberal," "moderate" has prevailed, the Protestant Synodal thinking has been borrowed as a mimicry of parliamentary structures. It suggests a false equivalence and equality of different positions next to each other.  Whoever finds more followers and has occupied important positions, can just enforce it. The only distinction in the Church  should be between an orthodox and a heretical position. Under the influence of relativism on the other hand,   all  positions are tolerated indifferently as valid (almost). Moreover, what was rejected yesterday, can already be tolerated tomorrow. The   confusion and disorientation caused among priests and laity lies in front of everyone and calls out for help.
*)[Kreuz always called Schwarz an Old Liberal, and he was a scourge of Wagner and a very successful and pious Polish priest who upset a few non-participating members of his parish and the local media.] 

Text: Martha Weinzl
Image: Archdiocese of Vienna (Screenshot)
Trans: Tancred


James said...

Pope Francis is liberal and crazy.

Anonymous said...

I have a friend who is a young nun in Rome. She went to Italy when she found a good Order which still wear the old habits of the 1950's an has not declined tremendously since Vatican II. Never beyond 1,000 members, and mostly all in Italy ( six houses in Spain, 2-3 in France, 1 in England, 2 in Ethiopia, 2 in India and until 1972, 1 in the USA) they have 33 Italian convents, many with schools attached educating the young. My friend is now based in a convent school on the outskirts of Rome(suburbs). She is one of 16 sisters. At the Motherhouse in Rome, a few blocks from the Vatican, this year they received 22 postulants...the most since the early 1960's. Most are young Italian girls. By contrast, the once flourishing and traditional pioneers in communications for the Church, the now habitless Daughters of Saint Paul have 2 postulants in their gigantic Motherhouse nearby.
But my point is that the sisters at my friend's Motherhouse, and often from her school, would travel to St. Peter's every Sunday for the Pope's Angelus. In groups of 5-10, they iin their traditional black habits with big white square bibs(collars) made for a colorful sight, and many tourists always wanted to photograph them, because after all....when was it we saw real nuns? But now, most of the sisters have no interest in Pope Francis, his agenda, or what he says. They read about him, like we do, and like all faithful Catholics, are appalled.
My friend e-mailed me that fewer and fewer of the native Romans and Italians attend Bergoglio's's a lot of tourists and outsiders who don't know him for what he really is, like the Italians do.
She told me not ot be surprised if Bergoglio's "Holy Year of mercy", is a flop attendance wise.
I hope it is. I am sure it will be.
Damian Malliapalli

Lynda said...

Thank God for the few holy religious who are bringing the Faith to the world, carrying out the mission of the Church and saving souls. May God preserve and strengthen them.