In Vienna on Monday, 10 Austrian bishops convened a crisis session to deal with the fallout. Erich Leitenberger, a spokesman for the Vienna Archdiocese, said church officials around the country had been inundated with letters, phone calls and e-mail messages, including from parishioners saying they were leaving the church.
Austria, a majority-Catholic country with a complicated Nazi past, had been reeling from the pope’s revocation of the excommunication of four schismatic bishops from the ultraconservative Society of St. Pius X, including Bishop Richard Williamson, who has denied the existence of the Nazi gas chambers as well as the scale and genocidal intent of the Holocaust.
While that firestorm was still raging, Benedict ignited another by appointing the Rev. Gerhard Maria Wagner, known for [saying that Kartina was punishment for the sins of the people of New Orleans] and for saying that homosexuality was curable, as the auxiliary bishop of Linz.