Frontrunner to be Next Pope Warns of 'Islamic Conquest of Europe'

Muslims want ‘Islamic conquest of Europe,’ says Cardinal Schonborn.

333 years ago, on September 11-12 of 1683, allied forces consisting of the Habsburg Monarchy, the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth and the Holy Roman Empire fought and won a decisive battle in Vienna against the Ottoman Turks and its vassal states that together comprised the invading Muslim Ottoman Empire. The battle of Vienna, known for having the largest cavalry charge in recorded history was epochal in that it stopped the advance of the Ottoman Turks in Europe and changed the tide, effectively crushing them in the 16 years that ensued.

This turning point in history has been celebrated ever since, and it is on the 333rd commemoration of the feat that an Austrian Cardinal uttered comments that have unleashed mixed reactions the world over.

Cardinal Christoph Schonborn, the Archbishop of Vienna remarked in his speech, “Will there be an Islamic conquest of Europe? Many Muslims want that and say: Europe is at its end.” He then proceeded to pray, commenting, “God have mercy on Europe and on thy people, who are in danger of forfeiting our Christian heritage.” Schonborn is 71-years-old and is often touted in the media as being best placed to be the next Pope after Pope Francis. He is also identified as the ‘Spiritual Son’ of former Pope Benedict XVI.

In his speech, Schonborn was categorical in warning all of Europe that it had squandered its inheritance and was in danger of being overrun by outside forces, asking “What will become of Europe?” His distress was clear to all as he ended his homily in prayer, remarking “Lord, remember, it is your people. And if we have strayed and if we have squandered the inheritance, Lord, do not abandon us! Do not abandon this Europe, which has produced so many saints. Do not abandon us, because we have become lukewarm in our faith…Have mercy on your inheritance, have mercy on your people, with Europe, which is about to forfeit your Christian inheritance! Have mercy on us and raise us up again, for the glory of your name and as a blessing to the world! Amen.”

His statements triggered mixed reactions on social media, with some users praising him and others asking for clarification on what the Cardinal meant. @trillarion on Twitter tweeted, “[We should] live, [according to] the Catholic faith, [it is] exactly what Europe needs.” Another user on Facebook expressed their views saying, “No churches, but mosques… Islam [brings] nothing good of humanity, but oppression.” Some were of a different opinion, with a user on Facebook commenting, “The difference between the vast number of peaceful Muslims and radical Islamists is not yet clear. Our right-wing populists are happy about this sermon. Sad.”

Schonborn later clarified in a Facebook post that his sermon was not intended to be used as a springboard for stoking anti-Muslim sentiment. Instead, he urged Christians to advocate for a Christian revival of Europe, to reflect on Christ’s words and to share and spread it to “everyone, even strangers.”

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