An Austrian cardinal, thought by many to be a front runner for the next papacy, has claimed “many Muslims” are trying to conquer Christian Europe.
Speaking at the festival of the ‘Holy Name of Mary’, Archbishop of Vienna Cardinal Christoph Schönborn called for God to show mercy on Europe and its people who “are in danger of forfeiting our Christian heritage”.
The festival was introduced 333 years ago to celebrate the Western victory over Ottoman forces at the Battle of Vienna on 1683.
According to the Vienna Archdiocese’s website, Cardinal Schönborn said: “Will there be an Islamic conquest of Europe? Many Muslims want that and say: Europe is at the end.”
The 71-year-old cleric has been seen as a leading candidate during previous Papal conclaves, but has been perceived as too young to be Pope.
In addition to the Austrian Catholic Church, the victory of Christians over Islamic forces at the famous battle is also celebrated by the far-right Freedom Party of Austria (FPÖ).
The FPÖ held an event at the capital’s Palais Ferstl where its leader, Heinz-Christian Strache, said the “Western world” has to be defended from invaders.
Regarding the possibility of Turkey joining the the European Union, Austria’s government has repeatedly stressed “membership negotiations are currently no more than fiction”.
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