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Can Vienna Be Saved Again?

This is a sign of our times. September 11 marked the 333rd anniversary of the day Vienna was saved from the Ottoman army. Had the Sultan’s forces taken Vienna, they might easily have pushed further into Europe. It’s the anniversary of the day Christian Europe was saved from Islamic conquest. Never again did the forces of Islam threaten Europe. Until today.

Christoph Cardinal Schoenborn, the Catholic archbishop of Vienna, delivered a homily on September 11 in which he mentioned, near the end, that contemporary Europe has become like the Prodigal Son, having “squandered and wasted our Christian heritage.”

“What will become of Europe?” he asked. And then:

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 the end of Europe.

The Cardinal said Europe should pray, as Moses prayed for Israel, “Lord, we are your people. Please, give us another chance!”

There is nothing inaccurate in what Schoenborn said. There are many Muslims who wish for an Islamic takeover of Europe, and who say that post-Christian Europe is exhausted, ripe for the taking.

Naturally, though, there was an uproar from the usual liberal suspects. The cardinal felt compelled to issue a clarification, explaining what he meant by his remarks. He said (correctly) that he simply exhorted his congregation to return to following Christ in the face of the threat. But he added this:

This context makes it clear that the Cardinal was not championing a sort of defensive battle, defending Christian values against Islam. Cardinal Schönborn offered the official Newspaper of the Archdiocese of Vienna, “der Sonntag” (“the Sunday”), the following clarification: “Europe’s Christian legacy is in danger, because we Europeans have squandered it. That has absolutely nothing to do with Islam nor with the refugees. It is clear that many Islamists would like to take advantage of our weakness, but they are not responsible for it. We are.”

The Cardinal makes clear: “One must not take my homily to be a call to defend ourselves against the refugees, this was not at all my intention. The opportunity for a Christian renewal of Europe lies in our hands: if we look at and come to Christ, spread his gospel and deal with our fellow men, strangers included, as he has taught us, in love and responsibility.”

Well, look, if Austria’s Roman Catholic cardinal, on the anniversary of the salvation of Vienna from Islamic conquest, and faced with a situation in which Islam — radical Islam — presents a long-term threat to the Christian character of his nation — if a cardinal cannot openly and without apology defend Christian values against Islam, then Austria is doomed.

Note that Schoenborn makes it clear that he was not even trying to defend Christianity against Islam! But even if he were,so what? He’s a Catholic cardinal!

This is what is so repulsive about the liberal establishment (media, academia, political). It compels anybody who stands against their pieties to remain silent and capitulate before the forces that seek to destroy traditional culture, including religion. We cannot even talk frankly about the problem, much less work towards a real solution. None other than Sheikh Yusuf Qaradawi, the spiritual director of the Muslim Brotherhood, has said:

“What remains, then, is to conquer Rome. This means Islam will come back to Europe for a third time, after it was expelled from it twice. We will conquer Europe! We will conquer America! Not through the sword but through our Dawa [proselytizing].”

Western liberalism, with its death wish, demands that we ignore that, just as within living memory they insisted that we ignore the stated goals of Soviet communism. One gets the impression that today’s European liberals are ashamed that the armies of the Christian West prevailed and broke the Ottoman Siege of Vienna.

about the author

Rod Dreher is a senior editor at The American Conservative. He has written and edited for the New York Post, The Dallas Morning News, National Review, the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, the Washington Times, and the Baton Rouge Advocate. Rod’s commentary has been published in The Wall Street Journal, Commentary, the Weekly Standard, Beliefnet, and Real Simple, among other publications, and he has appeared on NPR, ABC News, CNN, Fox News, MSNBC, and the BBC. He lives in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, with his wife Julie and their three children. He has also written four books, The Little Way of Ruthie Leming, Crunchy Cons, How Dante Can Save Your Life, and The Benedict Option.

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