Oy vey. Benedict has just appointed a new auxiliary bishop in the Austrian diocese of Linz–the Rev. Gerhard Maria Wagner, 54, who thinks Katrina was punishment for New Orleans’ sins (and he hates “Harry Potter”, too). As Rocco notes, Linz is known as a “liberal” diocese so maybe Wagner is supposed to bring the wayward flock around. He’ll need lots of luck–and to stay away from Louisiana, with comments like these, from the AP account:
A 2005 report by Kath.Net, a Catholic Austrian news agency, said Wagner had characterized Katrina as divine retribution in a short essay in a parish newsletter.
Wagner wrote that people should ask themselves whether the ”noticeable” increase of natural disasters such as Katrina was a result of pollution caused by humans or the result of ”spiritual pollution,” according to a copy of the essay published Sunday on Kath.Net’s Web site.
”This was not the sinking of just any city but that of a people’s dream city with the ‘best brothels and prettiest prostitutes,”’ he wrote.
Wagner told The Associated Press on Sunday he had ”never talked about divine retribution” per se, describing his 2005 writing as simply an attempt to lay out the connections between events.
Wagner seemes to know the city intimately. He added, “The conditions of immorality in this city are indescribable.” But of course he tried to do his best. More comments here:
After the Hurricane Katrina disaster in 2005, he again commented: “It’s no coincidence that in New Orleans all five abortion clinics as well as night clubs were destroyed.”
And he asked: “Is the noticeable rise in natural disasters a consequence of environmental pollution or rather of spiritual pollution?”
And as the BBC’s David Willey reports, Wagner has also “accused the popular Harry Potter novels of spreading Satanism.” That’s something Benedict might relate to, as noted here…
Quite a guy. He adds that he will keep speaking out: “In the future, I will keep expressing myself.”