Archbishop Christoph Schönborn of Vienna on Sunday called for full solidarity with Ukraine. The country is in a case of “self-defense” and must defend itself, the West must support it, the cardinal said in the ORF “press hour”. Solidarity with the refugees is also needed, “there is still a lot ahead of us”. He criticized the Austrians’ “constant nagging” about the Corona measures.
Schönborn was able to explain that there was a difference between the refugees in 2015 and the Ukrainians today. In principle, all refugees are people and should be considered as such, but in 2015 the situation was different. “You cannot compare that with the current situation. Then mainly young men came, now they are mothers with children. It is a different situation,” says Schönborn. In addition, the mood in 2015 changed over time. He hopes that this time the refugee flow will not be so great that the mood will change.
“It’s a war of aggression”
Schönborn strongly condemned the Russian attack on Ukraine. “It’s unbelievable. It’s a war of aggression.” He wonders why the free world did not react more strongly after the annexation of Crimea in 2014. It is tragic that weapons must be supplied to stop the aggression. Whether there is another way, he could not judge.” But I welcome any initiative that goes in the direction of peace.” In any case, he sees a great imbalance and injustice.
West must support Ukraine
This also applies to neutral Austria. Neutrality does not mean moral neutrality. “There should be no neutrality to the emergency.” Until Russia is ready for peace negotiations, Ukraine must defend itself. “That is legitimate and Ukraine needs the solidarity of the western world.” Russian aggression cannot be tolerated.
Criticism of the Russian Orthodox Church
Schönborn does not understand the Russian Orthodox Church’s support for Russian President Vladimir Putin. This symbiosis should not exist. However, he stressed that the Austrian Church wanted to maintain a basis for discussion with the Russian Church and tried to engage in dialogue. So far, however, this has not been successful. It is welcome that the Pope has also sought dialogue with the head of the Russian Church. The Orthodox Patriarch Cyril I of Moscow is a close ally of Putin.
Schönborn was very disappointed by the “constant nagging” of the Austrians about the Corona measures and the associated government control. It is not the government that is zigzagging, but the virus. The Austrians need to become aware of “how well they are doing”. It is quite normal that there are different political opinions on how to deal with the pandemic. That’s the way it is all over the world. No one knows the absolute truth, said the cardinal.