Text: Giuseppe Nardi
(Vienna) “Schönborn warns of Islamic conquest of Europe” (ORF), “Schönborn: ‘Many Muslims want a conquest of Europe.'” (OE24). The headlines reveal a suspicious departure from the current “Welcome Culture”. But is that really true?
Active Advocate of Unrestricted Border Opening
Vienna’s Archbishop, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, was thought to be one of the most active advocates of an unrestricted opening of the border for mass immigration. It’s a process which proceeds more under the heading “Refugee Aid”, and has dominated the political debate since last year not just in Austria.
Church institutions are among the main service providers that organize the reception of refugees professionally on behalf of the state. However, a majority of them are economic migrants, as government politicians now admit. The proportion of genuine refugees under the international conventions is given, depending on the estimate at 20-33 percent. Each genuine refugee, therefore, is up to four economic migrants entering the country.
However, Cardinal Schönborn has refused to make, together with Caritas and much of the political elite, any differentiation. It’s a refusal which corresponds to the attitude of the immigration party par excellence, the Greens, which was taken in 2015 from still unknown reasons from both Austrian government parties, the Social Democratic SPÖ and the Christian Democratic People’s Party. The resulting bold slogan, Refugee Welcome, comes from the vocabulary of the extreme left.
Voting Advice for the Candidates of Immigration Party par excellence
Last May, Cardinal Schönborn, in the context of the subject of mass immigration and Islamization campaign, made a bizarre voting recommendation – which he did not want to be understood as such – for the federal presidential candidate of the Greens, Alexander Van der Bellen. The president of The Austrian Bishops’ Conference made the statement:
“Nobody has the truth, and you yourself do not.”
In Catholic circles in Vienna the statement, unusual for a Catholic bishop, was read as a benevolent signal to the lodge brothers. Van der Bellen had been a member in 1975 of the Masonic Lodge in Innsbruck. In contrast, his opponent Norbert Hofer, of the nationalist, conservative Freedom Party of Austria at (FPÖ), has the Order of St. George, by which the Cardinal seems but very little impressed.
Salzburg Auxiliary Bishop Andreas Laun previously responded to voters of Catholic organizations for Van der Bellen after which the diocesan bishops, including the Archbishop of Vienna, were enveloped in silence:
“That Christians are, either thoughtless or, even worse, are already so brainwashed that they are prepared to choose a declared God and therefore enemy of the Church – and that others also want to seduce – shows what condition circles in the Church are.”
The election was subsquently annulled by the Constitutional Court because of irregularities and must be repeated in the autumn. Whether Schönborn will repeat his election manifesto, which not supposed to be one, will be repeated or not, should be the test of truth for statements made last Sunday and the credibility of the Church in Austria.
Consistently Incorrectly Analyzed Mass Immigration
In December 2015 Schönborn had, for the Slovak weekly magazine Týždeň, sharply criticized the “refugee policies” of the immigration policies of countries neighboring Austrian: Hungary, Czech Republic, Slovakia and Poland. He accused the governments of these countries of being “blinded by a vicious propaganda”. He was “ashamed” of the rejection of a mass immigration by these countries “in so-called Christian arguments” like the “fear of Islamisation”. A “rational calculation” shows that Europe “needs millions of immigrants to maintain our lifestyle.” What Schönborn honestly reveals, indicates that there are in reality very different motivations behind the “refugee crisis.”
Yet on March 13, 2016, Schönborn reiterated on ORF television Press Hour of the Austrian Church Hierarchy “consistently incorrectly analyzed mass immigration” (see The Church “Refugee” – Craze Continues – Cardinal Schönborn’s Dangerous Illusions and the Decline of the Church ). The attitude of the church hierarchy was marked by “clandestine agreements, self-censorship, confused talk” and “siding with the powerful,” says the Catholic theologian and Pro-lifer Wolfram Schrems.
But what is Cardinal Schönborn saying now?
“Today 333 years ago, Vienna was saved. Will there now be a third attempt at an Islamic conquest of Europe? Many Muslims think and wish that and say: This is Europe at the its end. And I think that Europe today should ask as Moses today’s reading and what God the Merciful does with his younger son: Lord, give us another chance! Do not forget that we are your people just as Moses reminds him: It’s YOUR people, YOU have led them out, YOU have sanctified them, they are YOUR people.”
The statement is less spectacular than some media have stressed. And yet, from the mouth of Vienna’s archbishop it is something spectacular to hear that he is convinced that “many Muslims think and wish” that there will be a “third attempt of an Islamic conquest of Europe”. As to being a real “warning”, such as claimed by the ORF, it was not, however.
Where is it the cardinal said this?
The statement came on September 11, at the end of his homily for this year’s Mary Name Day Ceremony in Vienna’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral. The festival is an annual meeting, which was founded by the Franciscan Petrus Pavlicek at the 1947 prayer a0ction, “Expiatory Rosary Crusade.”
Cardinal Schönborn is reputed to have the adaptability to accommodate his respective audience. Is this true for his homily last Sunday? Was it a rush of realization from a process of reflection that led the Cardinal to the conclusion that “Europe is at the end” that Europe “is well on the way of forfeiting its Christian heritage”? Or is the Cardinal only addressing a pious and “conservative” target audience?
When his unusual statements appeared on the Internet and spread fast. they were interpreted as a departure from the previous “Welcome Course” in matters of immigration and asylum, the Cardinal quickly addressed a corrective. On Twitter, he was eager to dispel this false impression:
“Do not get my message as a call to arms against the refugees”.
He also referred to the website of the Archdiocese of Vienna, where “the intention of the sermon was again clarified” than as ORF reported. The archdiocese had published the sermon in the text and to be safe, included commentary to prevent any misunderstanding from arising.
The blame does not fall upon Islam, not even the Islamists, insisted the cardinal. “We put the Christian heritage of Europe in danger.”
The commentary explains: “Islamism could indeed may be the beneficiary […]. But hope lies in the mercy of God.” Then the comment is even clearer: “From the context it is also clear that the Cardinal does not care to enter into a defensive struggle to defend Christian values against Islam “.
In the Sonntag, weekly newspaper of the Archdiocese, Cardinal Schönborn issued the “following clarification”:
“Europe’s Christian heritage is at risk because we Europeans have squandered it. It has nothing to do with Islam or even the refugees. It is clear that many Islamists would like to take advantage of our weakness, but they are not responsible for our weakness. We are, the Europeans ourselves.”
So there is nothing new in Vienna? “Nothing new,” confirms a Viennese informant.