Pray Tell reported earlier on the Austrian priests’ “Appeal to Disobedience” calling for (more or less the usual) church reforms. Now another group of German-speaking priests, the “Netzwerk katholischer Priester,” has issued a statement opposing the reformist appeal, as reported by www. domradio.de. The statement of the “Network of Catholic Priests” says in part:
We are concerned about the reaction of those bishops in whose dioceses pastors have supported the Pfarrer-Initiative. So far, not one single bishop has called upon the members of the “Pfarrer-Initiative” [“Pastor’s Initiative” – ed.] to renounce their position. Instead, reassurance is given on all sides that of course there will be no sanctions. “Understanding” is shown for the initiators’ “anxieties,” and invitations to “dialogue” are given… As a whole, the impression is given that the bishops are afraid to speak clearly and would rather look on as the Pope is undercut in his authority as pastor of the universal Church. The “Pfarrer-Initiative” is a sad symptom of the de facto schism which has long since come to be in German-speaking lands under the eyes of the bishops… We call upon the bishops to intervene decisively against the dubious “reformist efforts” of the “Pfarrer-Initiative” and expect clear allegiance to the Vicar of Christ on earth. Whoever continues in mere looking on sins against the unity of the Church. The clock is ticking.
The “Netzwerk katholischer Priest” is a group of priests, deacons, and seminarians of varying ages. It claims 500 members, though there is not explicit membership, but rather loose association among like-minded people.