Second Thoughts ?


The Pummerin (‘Boomer’) in the steeple of the Stephansdom in Vienna is the third largest swinging bell in Europe. It was cast in 1705 from cannon captured from the Turks at the Second Siege of Vienna , and refounded in 1951, using the metal of the old bell with the addition of bronze from Turkish cannon in the  Heeresgeschichtliches Museum.

On Easter Day, shaking the steeple, the great bell rings out announcing the Lord’s Resurrection and recalling again the defeat of the city’s most formidable enemy. No sound could more delight the Christian people.

Except…the words of their own Archbishop, in his Cathedral Church, on the 333rd anniversary of Sobieski’s great victory. He was bold enough to say what every inhabitant of the continent knows: that a concerted Islamic invasion of Europe is once again underway. ‘Will there now be a third attempt at an Islamic conquest of Europe? Many Muslims think so and long for it and say: This Europe is at an end’

Except… having spoken the truth (boldly going where no politician dares to tread) the Archbishop unaccountably lost his nerve and issued a retraction. This ‘has absolutely nothing to do with Islam… It is clear that many Islamists would like to take advantage of our weakness, but they are not responsible for it. We are.’ Apparently what he was really intending to say was that the violence being experienced in almost every country in Europe is not to be attributed to Muslim malice, but to Christian infidelity. We have brought this upon ourselves.

Tell that to Fr Jacques Hamel.

Cardinal Schoenborn is a charming and cultured man, and a theologian of considerable distinction. So it is a tragedy that he has succumbed to the pressures of the zeitgeist in this demeaning way.

And the more tragic still that he should have done so in the former capital of the Habsburg lands, where the pressure of Islamic invasion was most acutely felt and most heroically resisted.

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