Pope appoints bishop who says Hurricane Katrina was 'divine punishment'


 Days after lifting the excommunication of a Lefebvrist bishop who denies the Holocaust, Pope Benedict has promoted a priest who described Hurricane Katrina as God's punishment for sexual excess and tolerance of homosexuality in New Orleans.

Austrian Parish Father Gerhard Wagner, 54, has been appointed an auxiliary bishop of Linz in Austria - a childhood home of Adolph Hitler.

Fr Wagner told his parish the hurricane destroyed not only brothels and nightclubs, but also abortion clinics, adding that: "the conditions of immorality in this city are indescribable."

Fr Wagner also complained about the Harry Potter movies and books, saying that they promoted Satanism.

A spokesman for the upper Austrian priest's council said he was not pleased with the decision. He said he had the general impression the Vatican had not consulted with the Linz Diocese over the matter.

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