(Reuters) – Dissident Austrian priests defying their Catholic Church with calls for married clergy, women priests and other reforms enjoy wide public support, according to a new poll on a dispute that could lead to their dismissal.
Three-quarters of people polled in the traditionally Catholic country backed the priests’ “Call to Disobedience,” a manifesto that Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn compares to a football team refusing to play by the rules.
The revolt, openly supported by 329 priests, threatens a split in the Austrian Church weeks before Pope Benedict’s Sept 22-25 visit to neighbouring Germany. Benedict, 84, grew up in Bavarian villages close to the Austrian border.
Rather than simply appealing for reforms, the dissidents declared they will break Church rules by giving communion to Protestants and remarried divorced Catholics or allowing lay people to preach and head parishes without a priest….
The `Call to Disobedience` is available online.