Viennese Auxiliary Bishop Helmut Krätzl died

Viennese Auxiliary Bishop Helmut Krätzl died


The Auxiliary Bishop Emeritus of the Archdiocese of Vienna, Helmut Krätzl, is dead. Krätzl died on Tuesday at the age of 92. “I am grateful to him from the bottom of my heart for his diverse and loyal work in our archdiocese, in whose life he took an interested and attentive part until the end,” Cardinal Christoph Schönborn said on Twitter.Vienna. According to Schönborn, Krätzl dedicated his life “entirely to the proclamation of the good news”: “He loved the church and also suffered with it.”

The 91-year-old was last treated at the Brothers of Charity hospital in Vienna due to his poor health. Krätzl was ordained bishop in 1977. He was in the 69th year of his priestly ministry and in the 46th year of his episcopal ministry.

books and awards

Krätzl published a total of around 15 books, including the 1998 volume “Im Sprung hemmt”. What I am still missing after the Council” attracted particular public attention. He published his last book “My Church in the Light of the Popes” in 2016.

The auxiliary bishop of Vienna received numerous awards over the years; such as the Austrian Cross of Honor for Science and Art, 1st Class (1991), the Golden Commander’s Cross of Honor for Services to the Province of Lower Austria (1992), the Great Golden Decoration of Honor for Services to the State of Vienna (1996), the Great Silver Decoration of Honour the Star for Services to the Republic of Austria (2006), the Honorary Award from the Viktor Frankl Fund of the City of Vienna for Lifetime Achievement (2013), the Julius Raab Medal (2012) and the Cardinal König Prize (2015).

“pillar of Austrian ecumenism”

The Evangelical-Lutheran Bishop Michael Chalupka praised Auxiliary Bishop Helmut Krätzl as “one of the pillars of Austrian ecumenism, together with Christine Gleixner, Michael Staikos and Helmut Nausner”. With him, the Evangelical Church has lost a “distinguished and caring interlocutor,” emphasized Bishop Chalupka, according to the Evangelical press service epdÖ.

Krätzl has always advocated a church capable of learning, “a church that changes, that opens up to people and to the world”. The Second Vatican Council was important for him. “The fact that not everything was implemented, not everything continued and that some things were left undone and prevented always hurt him, and sometimes annoyed him,” said Chalupka. Helmut Krätzl was always “keen on the youth”, emphasized the bishop. So there were many stimulating and valuable dialogues between the experienced auxiliary bishop, who was already years older but “always young at heart” and the young people.

Emeritus Evangelical-Lutheran Bishop Michael Bünker expressed his gratitude for the “respectful coexistence”; he saw Helmut Krätzl as a “fatherly companion and friend of ecumenism”. Helmut Krätzl “never left any doubt that he saw and respected the Evangelical Churches as churches in the full sense of the word and thus as sister churches. Reconciled differences and learning from one another in the sense of ecumenism of the gifts that we exchange and receive – all of this describes ecumenism more aptly for him than theological dogmatism,” says Bünker, who, together with Krätzl, headed the “Mixed Catholic-Protestant Commission” for many years.

“Very close to the Reformed Church”

The Evangelical Church HB also mourns the loss of Auxiliary Bishop Helmut Krätzl. “He was very attached to our Reformed Church,” says State Superintendent Thomas Hennefeld. With his work he “shaped and enriched the ecumenical landscape, which also benefited our church”. According to Hennefeld, Krätzl regularly took part in ecumenical events, discussion rounds and celebrations in the Reformed City Church. “I appreciated his firm commitment to a joint celebration of the Eucharist, even if this is still to come,” emphasized the state superintendent. Personally, he remembers Auxiliary Bishop Krätzl as a “lovable, humorous, but also impatient person for whom progress in ecumenism was far too slow. May his ecumenical efforts point the way to the future.”

The Viennese Superintendent Matthias Geist praised Helmut Krätzl as a “determined pioneer of living ecumenism”. At the same time, according to Geist, he was able to get to know the auxiliary bishop “in his cordial and modest manner” as an “outstanding pastor”. “His rich life and work was characterized by a sensitive nature, with which he reached countless people and thus proclaimed the good news alive. Whether at the joint Christmas party in Vienna’s youth prison or at ecumenical encounters and discussions: even into old age, he was always very present and filled with God’s Spirit,” affirms the superintendent, who used to be a prison chaplain.

Source: Nachrichten

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