Pope Names Inspector for Austrian Diocese in Wake of Scandal

Church Officials Welcome Decision Regarding Sankt Poelten

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VATICAN CITY, JULY 20, 2004 (Zenit.org).- John Paul II appointed a special inspector for the Austrian Diocese of Sankt Poelten and its seminary, after authorities had found a huge cache of child pornography at the facility.



The Pope appointed Bishop Klaus Küng of Feldkirch as apostolic visitor, the Vatican press office announced today.

The Catholic Church in Austria was shaken in recent weeks by the scandal at the seminary. Among those implicated are the rector, vice rector and several seminarians.

Key Church officials in Austria welcomed the Holy Father's decision to appoint an apostolic visitor.

"Exceptional," was how Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, archbishop of Vienna, described the papal decision.

"It is an important step to remedy the situation," he said. "The apostolic visitor will have to report on all aspects of this matter and make the necessary decisions."

Bishop Küng told the Austrian press agency APA that his "is a delicate and difficult task." He asserted that he will fulfill it with "determination and thoroughness."

Bishop Kurt Krenn of Sankt Poelten also supported the Pope's decision, saying he hoped the investigation would be "profound and objective."

Father Werner Schmid, the seminary's new director, told the Catholic agency Kathpress that officials must start from zero, redefining "the behavior that cannot take place in a seminary."