Austria’s Roman Catholic Bishops met on Monday in Mariazell for their summer plenary assembly, which runs until Thursday. The most important item on the agenda is the election of the new chairman of the Bishops’ Conference, after Cardinal Christoph Schönborn (75) declared his resignation from this office due to age. It is open on which of the four days the election will take place.
The new chairman must be elected from among the diocesan bishops. All fifteen members of the Bishops’ Conference are actively entitled to vote, whereby this time with diocesan Bishop Ägidius Zsifkovics and Auxiliary Bishop Stephan Turnovszky two members have apologized for the meeting in Mariazell, Kathpress reported. For the first time, the new Carinthian Bishop Josef Marketz will take part in a real plenary assembly of the episcopate.
Special protective measures apply to the meeting of the bishops, which is scheduled to last until Thursday. For example, all members of the Bishops’ Conference had to do a corona test in advance. Also the conference program had to be adapted to the situation. The otherwise usual celebratory mass at the end of the conference in the Basilica with numerous faithful is also omitted.
The Corona Pandemic is also the focus of the conference. Besides the consequences of the crisis for society as a whole, its effects on the Church are also a central theme of the episcopal consultations. A press conference with Schönborn and the new President of the Bishops’ Conference is planned for Friday (19 June) in Vienna. The press conference will take place in the Stephanisaal on Stephansplatz 3.
- Hector Pascua
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