Wolfgang Haas, Archbishop of Vaduz, submitted his letter of resignation to Pope Francis through the nuncio on August 7, the day he celebrated his 75th birthday. This resignation was accepted and the appointment of an apostolic administrator was made public Wednesday, September 20.
On the occasion of his departure, the former bishop of Chur published a letter of thanksgiving and thanks, as well as an “open letter” to the apostolic administrator appointed by the Holy See, Benno Elbs, bishop of the neighboring diocese of Feldkirch.
As he recounts in this last letter, it was in his 50th year of priesthood, after 35 years of episcopate – 10 years as bishop of Chur, then 25 years as bishop of Vaduz – that he submitted his resignation. He was informed on August 29 that Pope Francis had accepted his renunciation and that he had appointed Bishop Elbs as administrator as of September 20.
After giving thanks to God, the now Archbishop Emeritus of Vaduz expresses his deep gratitude to all those who assisted him during his episcopate in Lichtenstein. He also asks forgiveness for his inadequacies, faults and limitations.
He announced that he wishes to spend the end of his life in a somewhat monastic retreat. He takes care to note in his open letter to the one who succeeds him in the administration of the diocese, that he was able to meet him to transmit all the relevant information.
He adds that he will not respond to any requests from national or foreign media and that he will not give an interview or press conference. He is content with this “open letter” on the archdiocese’s website.
He finally declined the farewell ceremony proposed by Bishop Elbs, declaring that he intended to live as retired as possible upon the announcement of his retirement.
FSSPX.News recently recounted the difficulties encountered by Archbishop Haas, who became bishop of Chur in 1990 and who will be strongly contested in this diocese where many of the faithful are more Protestant than the Protestants around them. He has even had to face open acts of rebellion.
In 1997 he was appointed archbishop of a tiny portion of his diocese, the new archdiocese of Vaduz, corresponding to the territory of Liechtenstein, created expressly for the occasion: the bishop and Prince Hans Adam II of Liechtenstein were not informed until the last moment. In this new post he continued to show his pastoral courage.
He has thus constantly and regularly opposed marriage for all, going so far as to refuse the so-called “Holy Spirit” ceremony for the opening of the sessions of the Landtag, the Lichtenstein parliament, opposing “any form of public or institutional ecclesiastical dressing up” of immoral behavior, while this assembly was preparing to discuss marriage for all. He also firmly opposed the first Gay Pride organized in the territory of the Principality on June 11, 2022.
He finally clarified that he would do nothing in his diocese regarding the Synod on Synodality. This perhaps explains why his resignation was so promptly accepted, and why he was not even appointed administrator of his diocese while waiting for his successor.