Catholic Church Losing Members Over Sex Scandals

September 25, 2004


Wire Service: AP

On September 25, 2004 the Associated Press reported, "Austrians disgusted by a summer of scandal involving child pornography at a seminary and a prominent priest accused of sexual abuse are leaving the Roman Catholic church in significant numbers, church leaders said Friday. Applications to withdraw from parishes in the Archdiocese of Vienna rose by 36 percent in July and by another 40 percent in August, it said. As of Aug. 31, 10,709 people had left the church, it said. Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, Austria's top churchman, said he couldn't blame people for wanting out after the discovery in July of 40,000 lurid images - including child pornography - on computers at the seminary just west of Vienna. Earlier this month, a second scandal hit Austria's church when Catholic officials disclosed they were investigating allegations that one of the country's best-known priests molested teenagers in the 1980s."