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God, the Devil and Us

The applause of the large audience echoed in the Camineum of the National Library, Mar. 24, as Golden-Globe-winning Austrian actor and director Klaus Maria Brandauer and Vienna’s Archbishop Cardinal Christoph Schönborn made their way to the brightly lit podium at the front of the hall. While waiting for the murmur to die, the two men […]

Church Trouble

The Catholic Church has a problem, and it’s not just rapists in the clergy. It has become increasingly apparent in the last few decades that the Church is out of touch – an anachronism of a bygone era, which has done more harm to humanity than any good. There is plenty of evidence to support […]

Austrian Catholics Opt Out

The Austrian Catholic Church has fallen on hard times, facing a declining membership that mirrors a similar phenomenon around the world. In September 2007, Austrian Catholic leaders were hopeful that Pope Benedict XIV’s visit to the Alpine republic would inspire the membership and bring in new energy. However, according to the Catholic press agency Kathpress, […]

Book Review: Charles A. Coulombe’s The Pope’s Legion

Catholic for All Seasons A man stands alongside his co-conspirators against the wall of an army headquarters in Berlin. He is considered to be the most brilliant officer in the German Army, is a decorated war hero, is loved and admired by all who know him, and is worshipped by his young wife and their […]

The Pontiff, John Lennon and Me

“Prague, the city of a hundred spires” – that’s how the Czech capital was advertised to me in an e-mail from a friend, insisting I spend a free weekend to visit. Sure, why not? 4.1 million international tourists per year can’t be wrong, after all. One cursory Wikipedia search and a five-hour train ride later, […]

Denial Of Love

Denial Of Love

Austria’s Roman Catholic Church is in trouble again. And, once more, the issue is sex. But while past scandals have sprung from allegations of carrying on among priests and priests-to-be – including the revelations in the mid 1990s that the Vienna Archbishop Cardinal Hans Hermann Groër himself may have been a pedophile – the focus […]

The Pope & The Guru

The Pope & The Guru

When Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was ordained pope in 2005, Austrians felt nearly as proud as the Germans that one of their own had, for the first time in nearly 500 years, been elected to lead the Catholic Church. After all, he was from Marktl am Inn in Bavaria  — which all Austrians realize is actually […]

Thirty Years of Test-Tube Babies

Thirty Years of Test-Tube Babies

Louise Brown, the first person to be conceived outside a human body, turned 30 last year. The birth of a “test-tube baby,” as the headlines described in vitro fertilization was highly controversial at the time. Leon Kass, who subsequently served as chair of President George W. Bush’s Council on Bioethics, argued that the risk of […]

Beaded Curtain

Now we have a second Europe-Islam scandal. In the wake of Pope Benedict’s reference to a Byzantine emperor’s description of Islam as “evil and inhumane,” the Roman Catholic Church is being accused of insulting the faith. The Pope’s apology of sorts and call for dialogue was not accepted as such, because it was understood as […]

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