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World Briefing / Vatican City

Pope revokes bishop promotion

March 03, 2009|TIMES WIRE REPORTS

Pope Benedict XVI was forced to cancel the promotion of a conservative Austrian priest whose appointment had polarized the Roman Catholic Church.

The Vatican said the pope had waived Father Gerhard Maria Wagner from his obligation under church law to accept the promotion to auxiliary bishop of Linz, effectively revoking the appointment.

Critics have attacked Wagner for numerous comments, including one that Hurricane Katrina in 2005 was God's way of punishing the city of New Orleans for its sins. He also condemned the Harry Potter books as satanic, said homosexuality was curable, refused to allow female ministers in his church and ruled out lay participation in church affairs.

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