VIENNA, Austria (Catholic Online) - While many Anglicans are seeking full communion with the Catholic Church - precisely because of the orthodoxy of doctrine and practice, a group of 250 priests in Austria have launched an outright rebellion against the Church into which they were ordained. They are openly rejecting the doctrine, discipline and practice which are at the heart of the Catholic Christian faith. In effect, they are becoming protest-ants, and they are seeking to lead others to join them in their errors. 

This group of openly dissident priests has gone public with their rebellion launching a website listing their points of dissent in a document entitled "A Call to Disobedience" (In German). They issued this "Call" on Trinity Sunday. Catholic Culture in their report offered a helpful translation of the seven pledges made by the members of the dissenting group:

-  to pray for Church reform at every liturgy, since "in the presence of God there is freedom of speech"
- not to deny the Holy Eucharist to "believers of good will," including non-Catholic Christians and those who have remarried outside the Church
- to avoid offering Mass more than once on Sundays and holy days and to avoid making use of visiting priests--instead holding a "self-designed" Liturgy of the Word
- to describe such a Liturgy of the Word with the distribution of Holy Communion as a "priestless Eucharistic celebration"; "thus we fulfill the Sunday obligation in a time of priest shortage"
- to "ignore" canonical norms that restrict the preaching of the homily to clergy
- to oppose parish mergers, insisting instead that each parish have its own individual leader, "whether man or woman"
- to "use every opportunity to speak out openly in favor of the admission of the married and of women to the priesthood"

Sadly, many of the news services reporting this story are using tired labels, stolen from the political arena. They refer to the dissenters as "liberal" or "progressive" and those who actually want to be Catholic and love the structure, tradition and teaching office of the Church as "conservative" or even "traditionalist". The dissenters refer to their rejection of the teaching of the Catholic Church and the authority of the Church as "reform" and an eager press accepts their sophistry and loaded language, repeating it in news reports. 

What the press does not understand is that orthodoxy (right doctrine) and orthopraxy (right practice) are not some throwback to the past but signal instead a work of the Holy Spirit within the Church and for the world. The future of true progress passes through a dynamically revived Catholic faith, life and worship - in Europe and around the rest of the world. Pope Benedict XVI visited Austria in 2007 to record crowds of pilgrims as a pilgrim himself. He told the crowds who gathered that Christianity was not just the legacy of Europe's past but "the way to the future."

We ask our readers to pray for these priests, that they might repent and rediscover the joy of their holy vocation. Being in the full communion of the Catholic Church is a treasure and our brothers have lost their way. Pray as well for  Christopher Cardinal Schönborn, the Archbishop of Vienna, and the other Bishops charged with helping them find it again - and guarding the flock against the errors being promoted in this "Call to Dissent".