Abbot Gregor Henckel-Donnersmarck, abbot of Stift Heiligenkreuz near Vienna, is “saddened” by the results of the poll of Austrian priests. “I see the poll as a symptom of a false image of the church on the part of those who initiated the poll and those who participated in it. … To treat revelation in the matter of a plebiscite is fundamentally false,” he told Die Presse.

He said: “Priests are lacking in ecclesial consciousness, the willingness to give oneself in obedience. Everyone wishes the best for the Church and I do not wish to speak of a schism. But not everyone is sufficiently ecclesially indoctrinated. I say this fully realizing that this means to be lovingly permeated with the teaching of the Church.” Further: “I always say, in dubio pro papa – in doubt, for the Pope.”

The abbot believes that the media are partially responsible for the increasing divergence between priests and Roman teachings. “There is a colossal presence of the public media, and this pulls many into its wake.”

The abbot said, “It disturbs me that, even in the consciousness of theologically educated priests, the theological basis for celibacy and our understanding of ordained ministry is no longer there.”

Die Presse, print edition for June 30th, excerpted and translated by AWR