The Vatican intervened in the debate over the resignation of Father Gerhard Maria Wagner, who had been appointed auxiliary bishop in Linz. As officially announced by the latter on Monday, Pope Benedict XVI accepted. Wagner's resignation to. The Catholic News Agency (KNA) documents stages of a conflict that also gets its explosiveness from earlier events concerning bishop appointments in Austria.
April 1950: Franz Jachym (1910-1984), professor of moral theology in Vienna, is appointed coadjutor to Cardinal Theodor Innitzer of Vienna. Immediately before his ordination, Jachym leaves St. Stephen's Cathedral, for reasons never fully explained. The ceremony will take place a month later after a personal conversation with Pope Pius XII. made up in Rome. A precedent for the "Causa Wagner"..
July 1986: Benedictine Hans Hermann Groer (1919-2003) is honored by Pope John Paul II. Appointed archbishop of Vienna and elevated to cardinal in 1988. An appointment that becomes a problem a few years later.
March 1987: Kurt Krenn, a theology professor in Regensburg, is appointed auxiliary bishop in Vienna. The consecration was preceded by sharp protests against Krenn, who expressed strict conservatism. On the day of the consecration in late April, Catholics lay on the ground in a vain attempt to prevent him from entering the cathedral.
1991: Krenn moves to St at pope's behest as diocesan bishop. Polten. New protests are the result.
1995: A former student of Cardinal Groer makes serious accusations of sexual abuse against him. Groer remains silent on the matter, but resigns from the presidency of the bishops' conference in April. Shortly thereafter, the Vatican assigns Auxiliary Bishop Christoph Schonborn to him as coadjutor with the right of succession. In mid-September, Groer's resignation on grounds of age from the previous year is accepted. The "Causa Groer" leads to a so-called church referendum in Austria and a wave of church resignations.
2004: Following a sex scandal at the seminary in St. Polten must resign Krenn from the leadership of the diocese after he called downloads of child pornography and homosexual acts in the seminary "boy stupidities". Bishop Klaus Kung of Vorarlberg will initially be appointed as apostolic visitator to investigate the incidents and in the fall will be appointed the new bishop of St. Polten deployed.
31. January 2009: Pope Benedict XVI. Appoints Gerhard Maria Wagner, pastor of Windischgarsten in Upper Austria, as auxiliary bishop in Linz. The news triggers a wave of protest; the conservative Wagner had made headlines several times with controversial statements. The country's media get broadly on the subject, reporting that the appointment bypassed the Austrian bishops at the instigation of those close to the pope.
11. February 2009: In an unusual move, a large majority of the diocese's conference of deans publicly opposes Wagner's ordination. This one may renounce the office or Diozesanbischof Ludwig Schwarz does not carry out the consecration.
15. February 2009: Media in the region report on a petition among Upper Austrian pastors against the consecration. In the evening, Wagner lets it be known that he has asked the pope to withdraw his appointment. The news agency Kathpress, citing Bishop Schwarz, reports that the Vatican has already complied. Confirmation from Rome, however, remains elusive.
16. February 2009: Austrian bishops gather for crisis meeting in Vienna. They speak of errors in the procedure of the appointment and express respect for Wagner's decision.
17. February 2009: Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi says there will be an official statement on the Causa Wagner. But the timing of this is not foreseeable at present, he said.
2. March 2009: The Vatican informs that Pope Benedict XVI. had accepted Wagner's resignation.