"The church does not sacrifice trees," Paul Wuthe, a spokesman for the papal visit, told the Catholic news agency Kathpress.
Well that is comforting to know, but definitely not a statement you hear a a spokesman for the papal visit make often. Here is the article that prompted it.
They were planted to honor one pope. Now they’re being purged for another.
Four stately lime trees ceremoniously planted near a popular Roman Catholic shrine in 1983 for a visit to Austria by the late Pope John Paul II are being uprooted to make way for a large grandstand for next month’s pilgrimage by Pope Benedict XVI.
Environmentalists have criticized the action, but church and municipal officials are playing down the trees’ significance.
"This shows the hypocrisy of the church," said Lambert Schoenleitner, a regional spokesman for the environmentalist Green Party in the southern province of Styria.
The hypocrisy of the church! I am shocked shocked I tell you! I am starting to loose my faith over this axing of papal trees makes me question my roots and I might leave to another branch. I might have to oPine on this further and this is no oak.
Schoenleitner believes nature should be revered as much as faith and doesn’t think trees should be sacrificed for an event that will last just a few hours.
I want mercy and not sacrifice of trees.
Organizers say the trees must go to make room for a 52 1/2-foot-high steel grandstand to accommodate some of the thousands of pilgrims who will flock to the shrine town of Mariazell, 60 miles southwest of Vienna.
During his Sept. 7-9 visit, the seventh foreign trip in his two-year papacy, Benedict will make a stop in Mariazell to mark the 850th anniversary of its founding.
Officials conceded that a few more trees might have to be felled for the pope’s stop in Mariazell, which the Archdiocese of Vienna considers the highlight of his visit. Up to 30,000 faithful are expected to converge on the shrine to the Virgin Mary.