Viennese Cardinal Adds Confusion to Fate of Priest Kidnapped by Muslim Radicals

AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon
AP Photo/Mohammad Hannon

An influential Cardinal added to the confusion over the weekend about the fate of Father Thomas Uzhunnalil, a Salesian priest kidnapped by Muslim radicals on March 4 from an old-folks home in Yemen where they killed 16 including four nuns from Mother Teresa’s order whose heads were bashed in by Muslims.

Rumors have circulated in recent weeks that the jihadis intended to crucify the priest on Good Friday, among the holiest days in the Christian calendar, the day Jesus Christ was crucified by Roman soldiers.

While the Salesian Order tried to knock-down the rumors as unsubstantiated, saying they don’t even have confirmation of who took him, let alone what may have happened to him.

Nonetheless, the rumors have persisted and have taken on a new life with a sermon delivered by Cardinal Christophe Schönborn of Vienna at St. Stephen’s Cathedral in Vienna during the Easter Vigil Mass on Saturday night.

Reports from Austrian public television say Schönborn “confirmed” the murder of the priest. Other reports say the Cardinal, considered a possible future pope, as merely saying Catholics should be prepared for it having happened.

Father Uzhunnalil’s Salesian Order is still silent on the fate of their priest, however. And, so far, it appears no jihadi group has taken credit.

The fate of Father Uzhunnalil remains unknown.

The attack on March 4 in Aden is part of a wave of radical Muslim attacks throughout the world including the attacks in Belgium last week and the Easter attacks in Pakistan that claimed dozens of lives.


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