Pope’s Special Investigator Closes Austrian Seminary Embroiled in Homosexual Photo Scandal

VIENNA, August 12, 2004 ( - 50 miles west of the Austrian capital, Bishop Klaus Kueng is wrapping up his investigation of the seminary that has been a center of heated controversy since mid-July. On July 12, the Austrian news service Profil published a series of lurid photographs and a report of homosexual activity at Sankt Poelten seminary, involving both seminarians and staff.

The Austrian bishops conference took prompt action and ordered an internal investigation. Seminary rector Ulrich Kuechl and vice-rector Wolfgang Rothe have stepped down while continuing to insist that they are innocent of any wrongdoing, and the Austrian bishops conference has indicated that they will ask the Vatican to remove the local bishop, Kurt Krenn. Bishop Krenn has called the allegations groundless and the sex acts depicted, “harmless pranks having nothing to do with homosexuality”.  The alleged goings-on at the Poelten seminary are anything but harmless, according to Bishop Kueng. A criminal investigation involving child pornography is underway, and the seminary’s days are numbered. After a brisk investigation the bishop stated, “I am closing the seminary right away.” Bishop Kueng, Austrian born and a member of Opus Dei, was sent to the Poelten seminary as “Apostolic Visitor”, an emissary appointed by Rome to intervene in cases of “grave irregularity” when local church authorities are unable or unwilling to resolve the situation satisfactorily.  In closing the Poelten seminary, Bishop Kueng is making more than a political move. In interviews with the press, the bishop has been candid about the church’s refusal to admit active homosexual men to the priesthood. He has expressed grave reservations about allowing men who are homosexually inclined but not sexually active into seminaries and said any such cases would be a “very rare exception” after a “very long examination.” The seminary was defeating its purpose by turning out young men utterly unfit to serve the Catholic Church.  See former LifeSite coverage at:   jmo

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