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Austrian Catholics in exodus over priest sex scandals

Austrian Catholics are leaving the Church in significant numbers following two high-profile sex scandals involving child pornography and allegations of the molestation of young boys.

More than 10,000 people have left the Vienna archdiocese in the last few months, with thousands more leaving parishes across the country.

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna (pictured) said he could not blame people for leaving after a summer of scandal including the discovery of up to 40,000 images, including child pornography, on computers at a seminary in the diocese of St Pölten.

This month, a second scandal hit the Austrian Church when officials disclosed they were investigating one of the country's best-known priests after several people alleged he had sexually molested them when they were youths in the 1980s.

"We've had these unending icy rains the entire summer: more and more scandals, negative headlines, and from many people, cries of 'We've had enough!'," Cardinal Schönborn wrote in a commentary for this Sunday's edition of a Vienna church newspaper.

The cardinal appealed to Austrians to remain faithful to their local parishes, saying he hoped the Church would forge a new beginning after putting the affairs behind it.

Austrian Catholics stage exodus over priest sex scandals (The Scotsman 25/9/04)

Austrians Leaving Catholic Church (Associated Press/ 24/9/04)
Hapsburg beatification rouses disputes (Catholic World News 24/9/04)
Pressure mounts for Austrian bishop to step down (CathNews 21/9/04)
When a pope is not a pontiff (National Catholic Reporter 26/7/04)
Austrian bishop silenced during apostolic visitation (CathNews 26/7/04)
Austrian Seminary shut over porn scandal (CathNews 13/8/04)
Papal emissary closes seminary (The Advertiser/AP 13/8/04)
Pope's emissary shuts down Austrian seminary (Irish Times 12/8/04)
Child porn found in Austrian seminary, shut down (Associated Press/USA Today 12/8/04)
Papal Emissary Closes Austrian Seminary (Associated Press/ 12/8/04)
Scandal-ridden seminary closed down in Austria (Catholic World News 12/8/04)
Seminary shut after porn scandal (CNN 12/8/04)
When a pope is not a pontiff (National Catholic Reporter 26/7/04)
Austrian bishop silenced during apostolic visitation (CathNews 26/7/04)
John L. Allen: Conversation with Sant'Egidio founder Andrea Riccardi; Vatican gets serious on Africa; Catholic-Jewish dialogue; Vatican investigates Austrian seminary sex scandal; More reflections from Peru (National Catholic Reporter 23/7/04)
The ultimate betrayal (The Tablet 24/7/04)
Speedy response to Austrian sex scandal reflects seriousness (CathNews 22/7/04)
Pope names bishop to look into scandal at Austrian seminary (CathNews 21/7/04)
Other Pontifical Acts (Vatican Information Service 20/7/04)
Vatican sends investigator to Austrian diocese (Catholic World News 20/7/04)
Pope Names Investigator for Austrian Sex Scandal (Reuters 20/7/04)
Vatican Enters Austria Seminary Dispute (The Guardian/Associated Press 20/7/04)
Austrian chancellor incensed by priest sex scandal (Reuters 17/7/04)
Austrian bishops await Vatican move on scandal (Catholic World News 16/7/04)
St. Pölten and Gomorrah? ( 20/7/04)
Vatican investigates Austrian child porn scandal (Associated Press/MSNBC 20/7/04)
Austria probes seminary sex claims (CathNews 13/7/04)
Priests 'In Orgy' at Seminary (The Scotsman 12/7/04)

28 Sep 2004