The organisers of a death metal festival have mockingly thanked an Austrian bishop for his "support" and invited him to their event, after he urged people to pray for the souls of those attending.
"We are grateful for support of any kind and are therefore very happy that the diocesan bishop Klaus Kueng has called for a common prayer for our event," a tongue-in-cheek statement said on the Extremefest's Facebook page Monday.
Kueng had urged believers Thursday "to pray for the festival's participants" when they gathered on July 5-7 in his town of Sankt Poelten, in northern Austria.
"We are glad Mr. Kueng resorted to criticism through peaceful means, which in the history of the catholic church has not always been the case," the organisers teased.
"The bishop is... cordially invited to our festival so that he can get a confirmation of his view or even abandon it," they added.
Kathpress, the Austrian catholic church's news agency, had quoted Kueng Thursday as saying he had nothing against rock concerts but deploring that the Extremefest was "infused with agressive-occult band names, references to blood and violence and disturbing images."
The line-up at the three-day festival includes names like Suicidal Angels, Cannibal Corpse, All Shall Perish, Hellsaw and Darkened Nocturn Slaughtercult.