Liechtenstein’s Archbishop Cancels Mass for Parliament Over Marriage Equality Proposal

Archbishop Wolfgang Haas of Vaduz

A critic has described the decision of Liechtenstein’s archbishop to cancel a Mass for the country’s parliament over marriage equality as “spiritual blackmail.”

Recently, Archbishop Wolfgang Haas of Vaduz canceled the traditional opening Mass for Liechtenstein’s Parliament, reported Haas, writing in an archdiocesan publication, stated that “such a liturgical celebration no longer makes sense in view of the parliamentary behavior of the vast majority of our state parliamentarians in an essential matter of Christian ethics.” The archbishop also claimed such a law would contradict the tiny European nation’s constitution, which names Catholicism as the state religion.

In response, Raphael Rauch, a Catholic journalist, wrote in that it is “spiritual blackmail to make worship dependent on a particular political agenda.” Rauch emphasized that this was especially true since Pope Francis himself has affirmed legal protections for queer couples.

Rauch commented that it is “high time that the people looked closely at those in power and held the government responsible” in order to “protect from further damage,” specifically citing six groups who should counter Haas’ actions. The journalist wrote that Liechtenstein’s parliament and clergy should make their protests known to the Vatican, and in the case of priests, celebrate their own Mass for members of parliament.

Rauch also lists three neighbors who should intervene: Archbishop Martin Krebs, apostolic nuncio to Switzerland and Liechtenstein, the Swiss Bishops’ Conference, and the Austrian Bishops’ Conference, all of whom, the journalist said, are not only impacted by Haas’ harmful actions, but could positively effect change in Liechtenstein’s church. Rauch concluded strongly, “Enough, Archbishop Wolfgang Haas!”

The Mass cancellation is not Haas’ first LGBTQ-related controversy. Bondings 2.0 previously reported that the archbishop refused to celebrate a Confirmation Mass at a local parish because the town was holding a Pride celebration that same weekend. Haas also has described marriage equality as a “diabolical attack,” and refused to aid Liechtenstein’s Catholics participating in the Synod on Synodality, which he has strongly disparaged.

While Archbishop Haas believes he is following Catholic tradition by cancelling the Mass, in reality, he distances himself and others from the faith. The Gospel insists that people’s flourishing be at the forefront of Catholics’ concerns, yet Haas fails to acknowledge LGBTQ+ individuals’ dignity. A distorted conception of doctrine has made him seemingly incapable of understanding the pain caused by actions like cancelling this Mass. Rauch correctly asserts that the archbishop’s actions do tremendous damage to the church. Hopefully, Liechtenstein’s civil and ecclesial leaders will together show their support for the LGBTQ+ community, even if their archbishop does not.

Sarah Cassidy (she/her) and Robert Shine (he/him), New Ways Ministry, January 12, 2023

5 replies
  1. Thomas Ellison
    Thomas Ellison says:

    I am not familiar enough with Lichtenstein’s political alliance with the church , but a state religion seems problematic. Herr Archbishop looks angry and unhappy. Memo to Wolfgang : Don’t take it out on others. This is not the way of Jesus.

  2. Gary Stavella
    Gary Stavella says:

    Archbishop Haas actions suggest that he seems to have completely missed the point of the Synod on Synodality, currently in progress.

  3. hilary
    hilary says:

    This is so very sad – are we not all made in the image and likeness of G-D…….this surely asks more questions about G-D than it does of us. …………

  4. Loretta
    Loretta says:

    Yes, the Catholic hierarchy has consistently held the the blessed sacrament hostage. I don’t think that’s what Jesus had in mind when he said, “This is my body, take and eat.” I mean come on, a real sinner, Judas, was given the the Bread of Life.


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