Bishop Erwin Kräutler of the Diocese of Xingu, the geographically largest diocese in Brazil, has called for a poll of all the world’s Catholic bishops on the question of who may be ordained. Kräutler states that the issues raised in the Austrian Pastor’s Initiative concern not merely Europe, but the entire Church. Kräutler is originally from Austria. In his Brazilian diocese there are 30 priests for 900 communities with 600,000 people.
In an interview in a Salzburg newspaper yesterday he said, “The question arises whether people don’t have a right to the celebration of Mass on Sundays. I say: Yes, they have a right. In the spirit of the Council, the Church must come up with a plan. I will certainly not say what, but I do say that we must begin to discuss this seriously… The question cannot be brushed aside any more, but presently everything is at a standstill.”
Bishop Kräutler does not consider a gathering of bishops in Rome to be the appropriate means. He thinks it would make more sense to poll all the bishops of the entire world. “What is your opinion, what do you think of this, what do your people say? Talk to the priests, the religious, the laity. Have a meeting and formulate your opinion.”
The bishop believes that the “pulse of the universal Church” should be taken, and taken seriously. “We believe that the Spirit of God is with all of us, not just with one person.” He advocates forming some sort of committee after the polling, “with the Pope and under the Pope,” which would see whether there is need for a new council or some other representative plenary assembly.
Bishop Kräutler spoke also about younger priests in Brazil today. “There are young priests who are very pious and contemplative, but at the same time are so at the service of their people that I truly rejoice in them.” But there are others “who are happy to represent the institution.” They are happy “because their status is emphasized so strongly in the new movements.” He added, “But the others who come from liberation theology, these the people truly esteem. That is the difference.”