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Austrian cardinal OKs gay man for parish council

April 2, 2012
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VIENNA—Austria's cardinal has overruled one of his priests and is allowing a gay Catholic to serve on a parish council.

Florian Stangl lives in a registered domestic partnership. The 26-year-old was overwhelmingly elected to the council recently, but it was overruled by the priest -- a decision initially backed by the archdiocese.

Such councils include lay people and discuss local church and parish affairs.

Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn changed his mind over the weekend after hosting Stangl and his partner for lunch, declaring Stangl to be "at the right place." Despite his close ties to his one-time professor, Pope Benedict XVI, Schoenborn has voiced an open mind to such taboo issues as priestly celibacy.

Church teaching holds that homosexual acts are "intrinsically disordered," but that gays should be treated with dignity and respect.

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