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,
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
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.