Pope Benedict XVI has promoted an anti-gay pastor in Austria to bishop, the second controversial appointment this week, the BBC reports.

Yesterday, the Vatican announced the appointment of Rev. Gerhard Maria Wagner to auxiliary bishop in Linz, Austria.

Wagner, 54, said in 2005 that Hurricane Katrina was God's punishment for the sins of New Orleans.  He specifically called attention to the city's annual gay pride parade, Southern Decadence, scheduled to take place several days after the storm.

Kath.net, the Austrian Catholic news agency, released passages it says are comments Wagner made in a parish newsletter.

Wagner said the “gate's of the city were wide open to celebrate sin” in reference to the annual gay event. He said he was glad that the hurricane destroyed not only the nightclubs and brothels in the city, but also five abortion clinics.

Ironically, the French Quarter, where the gay parade was scheduled to take place, was spared major damage.

He called Katrina “divine retribution” for New Orleans' tolerance of gays and lesbians.

“The conditions of immorality in this city are indescribable,” the news agency quoted him saying.

Last week, the Pope rehabilitated Richard Williamson, who has said he does not believe there had been Nazi gas chambers in Germany. Williamson, along with three other members of the Society of Pius X, a group of ultra-conservative Catholics, had his 20-year excommunication lifted.

Wagner, who received a doctorate in theology from the Gregorian Pontifical University in Rome, has tended to the spiritual needs of parishioners in the Austrian town of Windischgarsten since 1988.

The Pope's campaign against the acceptance of gays and lesbians has steadily grown louder. Recently, he spoke via broadcast at an anti-gay marriage rally in Spain. Spain granted gays and lesbians the right to marry in 2005.