Archdiocese of Vienna supports priest who drew the line on homosexual parish council members
MISTELBACH, Austria, March 23, 2012 (LifeSiteNews.com) – An openly homosexual man living in a registered domestic partnership in the Archdiocese of Vienna has run against the bulwark of the Catholic Church as he sought to fill — through the support of a majority of parishioners — a vacant parish council position.
Florian Stangl, 26, received 96 out of 142 votes in a recent parish council election. But parish priest Father Gerhard Swierzek reportedly told Stangl the night before the election that the young man’s candidacy was not possible according to Church Law since he was publicly living a life contrary to Biblical values.
Father Swierzek emphasized in an interview with Kurier that he personally had no negative feelings towards the young man, but that his candidacy was simply not possible according to Canon Law.
Stangl told reporters that he made a point of living his homosexual relationship publicly in his small town. “After we closed our partnership before the authorities, we invited more than half the town to our home for a feast,” he said.
Parishioners who voted for the openly homosexual young man say they are ready to fight for their election choice. Some parishioners have told reporters that if their choice of Stangl is not honored, then they are prepared to provoke an uprising.
Stangl is already using the discrimination tactic with the Austrian public to gain their empathy and support. He nows says he feels “discriminated against” since Father Swierzek has asked him to refrain from receiving communion. “The priest has asked me not to go to communion. He said that he would not deny me, but he asked me not to.”
Austrian media has largely fallen for the discrimination tactic that has been used so successfully by homosexual activists around the globe. Stangl has been characterized by the media as a role model, “super-boy”, and ideal Christian, while the Catholic Church has been portrayed as a “centuries behind” institution that is non-democratic and non-caring. Some media reports have even claimed that Stangl was expelled from the Church.
But the Archdiocese of Vienna under the direction of Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn responded in an official statement obtained by LifeSiteNews that “people with homosexual feelings belong to the Church the same way as everybody else. The present case is no exception – and nobody has been ‘thrown out of Church’ because of his homosexual feelings, as some Media have claimed.”
The statement continued that the “Church’s maxims for a good life, which are derived from the Gospel, do not endorse homosexual partnerships and that the magisterium of the Church has spoken unambiguously against homosexual civil unions.”
“It has to be taken into account that the function of a member of the parish council is a specific ecclesiastical service for which there are specific requirements as well. One of them is commitment to the doctrine and the order of the church.”
Michael Prüller, spokesman for the Archdiocese of Vienna, e-mailed LifeSiteNews that the Archdiocese of Vienna is currently looking into the parish council’s voting procedure and will try to make personal contact with all parties involved so as to find a fair solution which respects the integrity of the affected persons and adheres to the rules of the Church.