Forgot your password?

Choose a newsletter

Premium access granted to you by Expatica

You've been given FREE premium access to Worldcrunch

Enter your email to begin


Hope For Gay Catholics? Top Cardinal OKs Openly Gay Man To Serve On Parish Council

Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna, who has close ties with Pope Benedict XVI, has overruled a local decision that had blocked a gay man from taking his place on a parish council in a northern Austrian town. Are the winds changing for gays in the Catholic Church?

Article illustrative image Partner logo Cardinal Christoph Schnborn (Th1979)


The influential Archbishop of Vienna, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, has approved an openly gay man to be part of a parish council in a northern Austrian town. Schönborn’s closeness, both personally and theologically, to Pope Benedict XVI, is sure to raise hope for Catholics seeking more rights for gays within the Church.

Florian Stangl, 26, who lives in a civil union with his partner, was elected by fellow congregants to serve on the official Church-certified lay board that oversees daily affairs for the parish of Stützenhofen, north of Vienna. Initially, the local parish priest had blocked Stangl from sitting on the council, but Schönborn overruled the priest after hosting Stangl and his partner for lunch over the weekend.

The Cardinal noted that “there are many members of the parish council whose lifestyles don’t completely conform with the ideals of the Church. Schönborn said he appreciated the gay couple’s “commitment to living a life of faith,” adding that he was “profoundly impressed” by Stangl’s faith as well as “by his humility and his dedication to the Church.”

Schönborn noted that typically candidates for such parish councils must sign a declaration that they abide by the Church’s faith and doctrine. Church teaching does not focus on gays themselves, but stipulates that homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered," and opposes civil unions.

Schönborn is considered as one of the closest Catholic leaders to the Pope, having been a student of the future pontiff in the 1970s when he was just a theology professor known as Joseph Ratzinger. Schönborn is also on the short list of Cardinals considered as potential successors to the pontiff. Another influential Cardinal and Catholic theologian, former Milan Archbishop Carlo Maria Martini, recently wrote that the Church should reconsider its position regarding stable gay couples.

Read the original article in full by Andrea Tornielli

Photo – Th1979

*Newsbites are news digests, not direct translations



Sign up for our weekly Global Life newsletter now

Be a part of the conversation. Click to show comments
About this article source Website:

La Stampa ("The Press") is a top Italian daily founded in 1867 under the name Gazzetta Piemontese. Based in Turin, La Stampa is owned by the Fiat Group and distributed in many other European countries.

Worldcrunch brings top stories from the world's best news sources into English for the first time.

- Find out how we work
- Stay connected with our newsletter
- Try premium access for just $0.99

Want to get in touch or report a bug? Find us at

Load More Stories

Unlimited access to exclusive journalism, the best world news source across all your devices

Subscribe Now Photo of Worldcrunch on different devices

Your premium access to Worldcrunch is provided by

University of Central Lancashire

Please register to begin

By registering you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.