BY SIMON CALDWELL
THE REJECTION of Christianity by modern Europeans is allowing Islam to take over the continent, a cardinal has said.
Czech Cardinal Miloslav Vlk, the Archbishop of Prague, said that “conquering Muslims” were well equipped to fill the spiritual void “created as Europeans systematically empty the Christian content of their lives”.
“I cannot but confirm that Europe will pay dear for having left its spiritual foundations and that this is the last period that will not continue for decades when it may still have a chance to do something about it,” Cardinal Vlk said in an interview posted on his website.
“The Muslims definitely have many reasons to be heading here. They also have a religious one – to bring the spiritual values of faith in God to the pagan environment of Europe, to its atheistic style of life,” he said.
“Unless the Christians wake up, life may be Islamised and Christianity will not have the strength to imprint its character on the life of people, not to say society,” the 77-year-old cardinal added.
The cardinal said he did not blame Muslims for the crisis but said Europeans were bringing it upon themselves by exchanging their Christian culture for an aggressive secularism that embraced atheism. But he argued that neither the free market nor freedom without responsibility were strong enough to form the basis of society.
“Not even democracy alone is a panacea unless it is embedded in God,” the cardinal said, adding: “If Europe doesn’t change its relation to its own roots, it will be Islamised. Europe has denied its Christian roots from which it has risen and which could give it the strength to fend off the danger that it will be conquered by Muslims, which is actually happening gradually.” “At the end of the Middle Ages and in the early modern age Islam failed to conquer Europe with arms. The Christians beat them then.
“Today, when the fighting is done with spiritual weapons which Europe lacks while Muslims are perfectly armed, the fall of Europe is looming.” The cardinal made his remarks in an interview to mark his retirement after spending 19 years as the leader of the Czech Church.
He called on Christians to respond to the threat of Islamisation by living their own religious faith more observantly.
The Czech press is speculating that Pope Benedict XVI will name a successor to the cardinal within days.
Though most Church leaders argue for the right of Muslims to enjoy religious freedom there are some who have spoken out stridently against the encroachment of Islam.
Cardinal Jose Policarpo, the Patriarch of Lisbon, last year warned Catholic women against marrying Muslims. Italian Cardinal Giacomo Biffi also urged the Italian government to give priority to Catholic migrants over Muslims.