Thursday, February 11, 2010
Explosive details of Kaineder sacking bring trouble for Bishop
LINZ. The sacking of Ferdinand Kaineder as communications chief of the Diocese of Linz was part of an agreement which Bishop Ludwig Schwarz made with the "Church Faithful Prayer Initiative ", according to conservative church circles. The Diocese denies this.
"The sacking of Mr Kaineder was a minimal requirement that we have stated since the end of 2006," Gernot Steier, an attorney in Neulengbach in Lower Austria and the manager of the trust account of the conservative " Church Faithful Prayer initiative. The prayer initiative called on supporters to pay no more contribution to the Church in the Diocese of Linz, but to pay into an escrow account - this is a protest against the liberal policy of the Diocese of Linz, and especially against Kaineder who was responsible for the (Cathcon notorious) youth CD.
We have negotiated with the Bishop, who had first promised the sacking, then withdrew the promise because Kaineder had assured him of improvement said Steier, who is also General Secretary of the Christian Democratic Party of Austria ". That the prayer initiative and Bishop Schwarz had been contact in this regard is apparent from a letter dated 12 June 2007 shown to Upper Austrian News: "We hope that you will choose, as promised back in December, someone for the office of the Head of Communications who loves the church and also who is faithful to the Church in spite of the hostility of the spirit of the age," Steier said in his letter to Schwarz.
As the sacking of Kaineder did not occur,the Initiative continued their boycott of the church tax. Around 50,000 euros was placed on their escrow account. Until suddenly last year, when an 11 July 2009 dated agreement between the Initiative and the Bishop came into being. This paper, which has been shown to the Upper Austrian News also bears the signature of the bishop. It says, inter alia, that as far as the Prayer Initiative is concerned with the present agreement that the matter of the faith-destroying youth CD is at an end.. The funds in the escrow account will be transferred to the diocese, sources said. Kaineder is not explicitly mentioned.
Particularly piquant here: On 13 July, two days after the agreement, Kaineder’s role as head of the communications office ended. Kaineder does not wish to take a position on current developments. That there had been pressure from conservative circles was known however, he said. On 22 June 2009 the Bishop had told him for the first time that he planned to replace him, according to Kaineder.
The Diocese denies any connection between the negotiations with the Initiative and Kaineder’s sacking: the topic of discussion was the making of regular church tax contributions. "The fact that the group has made connections to various aspects of decision-making within the Diocese was not in the power of the diocesan representatives." Talks with the group were not the basis for the episcopal decisions, Upper Austrian News has been told.