Austrian Bishops' Conference

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2014 meeting of the Austrian Bishops' Conference with Foreign Minister Sebastian Kurz (centre)

The Austrian Bishops' Conference (German: Österreichische Bischofskonferenz) is the official assembly of the Roman Catholic bishops of Austria. It is the supreme authority of the Roman Catholic Church in Austria, established as a formal body under public law in 1849. Its members include the archbishops of Vienna and Salzburg, all diocesan and auxiliary bishops, as well as the abbot of immediate Wettingen-Mehrerau Abbey.

The Episcopal Conference represents the Catholic Church towards the Austrian Federal Government in all matters of legal relationships between church and state and freedom of religion. It is also the supreme ecclesiastical authority in Austria concerning Catholic canon law. The assembly is a member of the Council of the Bishops' Conferences of Europe (CCEE) and of the Commission of the Bishops' Conferences of the European Community. It also runs the official Catholic news agency Kathpress.

The current chairman of the Bishop's Conference is the Vienna archbishop Cardinal Christoph Schönborn.

Legal bases[edit]

The Conference functions in accordance with the Documents of the Second Vatican Council, in particular the Christus Dominus Decree on the Pastoral Office of Bishops (37/38), the 1983 Code of Canon Law (Cann. 447–459), and its own constitutions. Its legal position as a formal corporation under public law and representative body of a state-recognised religious community was confirmed by a 1933 concordat between the Holy See and the First Austrian Republic.


Former members[edit]

The following bishops, mostly for reasons of age, completed their functions and are therefore not members of the Austrian Bishops' Conference (in alphabetical order):

  • Maximilian Aichern OSB (born 26 December 1932), Diocesan bishop of Linz from 1982 to 2005
  • Elmar Fischer (born 6 October 1936), bishop of Feldkirch 2005-2011
  • Paul Iby (born 23 January 1935), Bishop of Eisenstadt 1992-2010
  • Egon Kapellari (born 12 January 1936) Diocesan Bishop of Gurk-Klagenfurt 1982-2001, Diocesan Bishop of Graz-Seckau 2001-2015
  • Alois Kothgasser (born May 29,1937), Bishop of Innsbruck 1997-2002; Archbishop of Salzburg 2003-2013
  • Helmut Krätzl (born October 23, 1931), Auxiliary Bishop of Vienna from 1977 to 2008
  • Kassian Lauterer OCist (born 29 January 1934), Abbot of Wettingen-Mehrerau 1968-2009
  • Ludwig Schwarz SDB, Bishop of Linz 2005-2015
  • Johann Weber (born 26 April 1927), Bishop of Graz-Seckau 1969-2001, Chairman of the Austrian Bishops' Conference from 1995 to 1998
  • Christian Werner, military Bishop of Austria (1994-2015) and Titular Bishop of Wiener Neustadt (since 1997)



External links[edit]