German cardinal skips Mass to avoid priest accused of Nazi sympathies
German Cardinal Kurt Koch, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, cancelled his participation in an upcoming Mass because one of the celebrants is a newly ordained priest with a history of alleged Nazi sympathies.
A spokesman for the Diocese of Wurzburg confirmed the reason for Cardinal Koch’s cancellation with Germany’s Catholic news agency, KNA.
Fr Michael Polster, 30, was one of two seminarians expelled from a Bavarian seminary in 2013 due to alleged Nazi inclinations, racist remarks, and concentration camp jokes described then by German Church officials as “totally unacceptable and unbearable.” Fr Polster, ordained on 21st April by Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke of Eichstatt, was scheduled to give his first blessing at the 13th May Fatima Feast Day Mass in the scenic pilgrimage town of Retzbach, about a 20-minute drive from Wurzburg.
An investigation launched by an ecclesiastical committee in 2013 established Polster was one of two Wurzburg seminarians who had performed the Hitler salute, made jokes about Nazi atrocities, and asked for a “(racial slur) to clean up” in the cafeteria, according to 2013 news reports by the German bishops’ conference and Suddeutsche Zeitung. The investigation heard testimony from 18 seminarians and 10 others.
Picture: St Kilian’s Cathedral in Wurzburg, Germany, is seen on 8th April 2017. A cardinal’s refusal to celebrate Mass in a nearby city rekindled controversy over a newly ordained priest expelled from a Wurzburg seminary over Nazi sympathies. (CNS photo/Zita Ballinger Fletcher).Tags: Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke, Cardinal Koch, Cardinal Kurt Koch, Eichstatt, Fr Michael Polster, Fr Polster, German, Germany, Nazi, Retzbach, Wurzburg