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Last Updated: Thursday, 7 October, 2004, 13:32 GMT 14:32 UK
Pope replaces sex scandal bishop
By David Willey
BBC Rome correspondent

Bishop Kurt Krenn (left) and the Pope in 1998
Pope John Paul II (right) visited Bishop Krenn in Austria in 1998
Pope John Paul II has accepted the resignation of a disgraced Austrian bishop at the centre of a sex and child pornography scandal at a seminary.

Bishop Kurt Krenn, 68, was in overall charge of the seminary where investigators found thousands of lewd images, including child pornography.

The bishop has told the media that he stepped down voluntarily and not under pressure from the Vatican.

The Pope has appointed another Austrian bishop to take his place.


Bishop Krenn was responsible for the running of the seminary 80km (49 miles) from Vienna, which was identified by an Austrian magazine earlier this year as a centre of homosexual activity.

The magazine published photographs of student priests and their teachers fondling each other.

Austrian police seized computers from the seminary containing pornographic material and prosecuted one of the students for illegally downloading child pornography from the internet.

The rector of the seminary and his assistant have both resigned, and the seminary has been closed.

Bishop Krenn had previously dismissed the scandal as "a childish prank".

Faced with a growing exodus of believers from the Austrian Church, the Vatican reacted with much greater haste than it showed during a long running scandal involving sexual abuse by Catholic priests in the United States.

Within a week, Klaus Kueng, a trusted Austrian bishop, was given the job of carrying out a private investigation on behalf of the Pope.

A member of the powerful Catholic movement Opus Dei, he has now replaced Bishop Krenn, held responsible for allowing the scandal to occur.

Bishop Krenn's deputy has also been replaced.

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