At the age of 81

Former Bishop of Chur Huonder dies

Vilters-Wangs - He was regarded as a conservative, irritating figure and caused deep rifts among the faithful in his diocese of Chur. After his retirement, Bishop Vitus Huonder moved into a house belonging to the Pius Society. He has now died at the age of 81.

Published  on 03.04.2024 at 16:51  – 

The former Bishop of Chur, Vitus Hu onder, is dead. He died on Wednesday after a serious illness, the Society of St Pius X announced. Huonder was 81 years old. Since his retirement, he had lived in an institute of the Society of St Pius X in the Swiss town of Wangs (canton of St Gallen) and largely withdrew from public life.

Huonder, born in 1942, was bishop of the Swiss diocese of Chur from 2007 to 2019. He was considered a representative of the conservative wing of the church in Switzerland and repeatedly caused a stir with verbal attacks on sexual doctrine, the church constitution and the protection of life. His statements and leadership style polarised the diocese, which includes the financial metropolis of Zurich as well as the rural cantons. On his 75th birthday in 2017, he submitted his resignation to Pope Francis; however, this only took effect in May 2019. Joseph Maria Bonnemain was appointed his successor in 2021.

After being ordained as a priest and obtaining his doctorate in 1973, Huonder initially worked at the Faculty of Theology at the University of Fribourg and at the Chur School of Theology, before spending several years in parish pastoral care. After his habilitation in liturgical science, his predecessor as Bishop of Chur, Wolfgang Haas, appointed him Vicar General for Graubünden, Glarus and Liechtenstein in 1990 and made him a cathedral chaplain. Haas' successor Amedee Grab confirmed Huonder as Vicar General for Graubünden in 1998. In the run-up to the 2007 bishop election, Huonder was considered a promising candidate. (mal)

3.4., 17.30: supplemented by further information.