Veronika Oleksyn, AP, via the Washington Post:
VIENNA — A group of Austrian priests has vehemently criticized Pope Benedict XVI’s decision to promote an ultraconservative pastor who suggested Hurricane Katrina was provoked by sin in New Orleans, the group’s head said Wednesday.
The Vatican announced Jan. 31 that the Rev. Gerhard Maria Wagner, 54, would become auxiliary bishop in Linz, the capital of Upper Austria province. The decision has sparked an outcry from Catholics who warn the unexpected pick could push people to leave the church.
Wagner, among other things, has questioned whether the "noticeable" increase of natural disasters such as Katrina was a result of pollution caused by humans or the result of "spiritual pollution." He also characterized Harry Potter novels as "Satanism."