Featured Image

INNSBRUCK, Austria (LifeSiteNews) — An Austrian bishop will remove from one of his churches a highly controversial “lenten cloth” that has caused outrage amongst faithful Catholics. 

The cloth shows a pig heart half covered by a condom, and Austrian Catholics might file a criminal complaint against their bishop for “disparagement of religious teachings.” 

Bishop Hermann Glettler of the Diocese of Innsbruck installed the so-called “lenten cloth” in the 18th century “Innsbrucker Spitalskirche”(i.e. hospital church). He previously defended it as an “attempt to create a dialogue with contemporary art” and stressed that the image is “of course” not a depiction of the Sacred Heart of Jesus. 

However, the anger of faithful Catholics was seemingly too much for the prelate, leading Glettler to announce on Tuesday that he will “take down the work of art before Holy Week” as “a sign of reconciliation,” the local newspaper Tiroler Tageszeitung reported. 

The Bishop of Innsbruck is under pressure by his critics. In fact, he is facing legal charges on two accounts. Firstly, faithful Catholics are thinking about filing a criminal complaint against Gletter for “disparagement of religious teachings,” according to Secondly, local politician Gerald Depaoli announced that he will file a legal complaint against Glettler because the bishop made public the email addresses of all his critics in his response email. This means that Glettler may have violated the Austrian Data Protection Regulation. 

A few days earlier, Glettler had lashed out at the conservative Catholic news site, which covered the story and criticized the Austrian bishop. He claimed that “this platform is manipulative and hateful in its reporting.” The bishop furthermore alleged that he received “very much positive feedback” for the “artwork.” He did not providing any proof of this, however. 

This was not the first time that Glettler displayed a heterodox “artwork” in one of his churches. Last year, the bishop installed a giant photograph of a half-naked pro-LGBT activist in a Catholic Church in Innsbruck. In 2019, the bishop allowed a “Jesus clock” made from an upside-down corpus with broken arms to be installed in a church. 

READ: Austrian bishop hangs banner of nude trans activist over main altar for Lent 

Glettler is known for his heterodoxy. He has publicly called for “blessings” for same-sex couples and condoned an active homosexual lifestyle. He furthermore said in 2020 that the Church’s doctrine that women cannot be ordained as priests is an “inequality” that is “difficult to justify.” In 2019, he hosted seminars for divorced and “remarried” couples living in adultery in which he allowed the couples to receive Holy Communion and a “celebration of reconciliation and of blessing.”