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Archive for Monday, February 16, 2009

‘Katrina’ pastor giving up promotion

February 16, 2009

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— A pastor who created a controversy by suggesting that God punished New Orleans with Hurricane Katrina because of the city’s sins said Sunday he will ask the pope to rescind his promotion.

Pope Benedict XVI’s recent appointment of the conservative Rev. Gerhard Maria Wagner, 54, to auxiliary bishop in Linz, Austria’s third largest city, sparked an outcry among Catholics who warned it could prompt people to leave the church.

Wagner, among other things, also had characterized Harry Potter novels as “Satanism.”

Linz Diocesan Bishop Ludwig Schwarz declined to comment to The Associated Press about Wagner’s decision, but said more information would result from an extraordinary meeting of Austria’s bishops today in Vienna.

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