The Archbishop of Vienna who has been tipped to be the next Pope, has implied the election of Donald Trump is a good thing as Ronald Reagan turned out to be “certainly one of the best presidents the U.S. ever had”.
Looking back on a transformational year in politics, Cardinal Christoph Schönborn also cautioned about the effects of mass Muslim migration, urging Europeans to retain the continent’s Christian heritage.
On the U.S. elections, he told Krone Zeitung in an extensive interview last week: “I do not know if Ms. Clinton really would have been the better solution and I do not know whether Mr. Trump is the great misfortune.
“Many also shook their heads when Ronald Reagan was elected: ‘For God’s sake, an actor from California!’ But Reagan was certainly one of the best presidents the U.S. ever had. So you should not be too quick to judge.”
On the European migrant crisis, he said, “We [Europeans] have responded with a great deal of generosity to the refugee crisis… The figures last year were simply dramatically high… The key issue we are facing in Austria is the integration of refugees.”
In September last year, the cardinal caused a stir when he claimed the ultimate aim of many Muslim migrants is to conquer Europe with their religious ideology. Before Christmas, Cardinal Schönborn said on Austrian television that he was rethinking his approach to mass migration and wanted to see many return to their homelands.
When questioned last week, he appeared to stand by this claim, insisting that, as a Christian, he would like to see much of the Muslim world restored to Christianity and urged Christians in the West to preserve their culture.
“Of course, as a Christian, I would like the Middle East to become Christian again, as it once was, or North Africa. North Africa was completely Christianised. Of course, I wish this because I believe that Christianity is not only my personal religion, but a religion that is a good…”
Whilst insisting he did not blame individual Muslims for wanting to change Europe, he spoke of the huge rise in the number of mosques in the West and the destruction of churches in Muslim countries, claiming “religions are in competition with each other”.
“But we already have 200 Islamic places of prayer in Vienna. We have mosques in cathedrals in Spain, and we have, for example, in Damascus, the cathedral of John the Baptist is now a mosque…” he said, adding:
“I am pleased that Muslims can freely exercise their religion with us, but I also wish that Christians in Saudi Arabia could practice their religion freely – or in other Muslim-majority countries.”
“Being afraid of the Islamization of Europe is nonsensical if one does not contribute something to the fact that Europe remains Christian”, he continued, insisting that the real problem in Europe was a loss of faith in Christianity, rather than Islam.
“But, of course, if a church is sold in the Netherlands and transformed into a supermarket, when the supermarkets are more important to us than the Christian roots of Europe, we must not be surprised that Europe [changes].”
“But it is not the fault of the Muslims,” he reiterated. “When we see that the mosques are well visited and the churches are badly visited, we can not blame Muslims for wanting to Islamise Europe.
“But we must reproach ourselves for not doing enough to maintain a Christian Europe.”