Europe's future? A new Austrian decline
Europe's future? A new Austrian decline

Two years ago, the cardinal archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Schönborn, did not go easy with either the words or the date of the 333th anniversary of the Turkish siege of Vienna. The most important Austrian Catholic prelate feared the possibility of “an Islamic conquest of Europe”, calling it “the third Islamic attempt to conquer Europe”.

Archbishop of Vienna: “The Muslims would like to take advantage of our weakness, but they are not responsible for our weakness”
Schönborn said those words speaking to the newspaper of the Archdiocese of Vienna: “The Muslims would like to take advantage of our weakness, but they are not responsible for our weakness”. Now, in a long interview with Der Standard, the cardinal returns to talk about this taboo subject.

The interviewer asked him if a more “relaxed” relationship with Islam would be possible. Schönborn says: “It has become more difficult. Even for one simple reason: demographic developments. Take a look at the Viennese schools and see how the demographic developments of Christian children and Muslim children are divergent. This is a serious topic. There is no lack of Islamic voices that say that Europe is a mature fruit for Islam/”

Not only is Catholicism in dramatic decline in Vienna, but it has already been overtaken by Islam as the most practiced religion in schools. The Stadtschulrat für Wien, the capital education committee, referred to about 10,734 Muslims in middle schools and 8,632 Catholics.

The Islamic crescent is going to become a majority even in high school. The Krone Zeitung newspaper published the data quoted by Schönborn: “In 2046, one in three Viennese will be Muslim”. The study is conducted by the Vienna Institute for Demography at the Austrian Academy of Sciences. The last similar census dates back to 2001 and since then the religious affiliations in Austria have changed considerably. At the time, three quarters of all Austrians were of Catholic faith and then their share fell to less than two thirds. The percentage of Muslims in Austria has meanwhile doubled. Scholars imagine more scenarios.

With normal immigration, the percentage of Muslims in the Austrian population will rise to 17 percent. It is the most realistic scenario. In the event of a dramatic increase in immigration, in 2046 one in five Austrians will profess Islam.

In the capital, a third of the population will be Muslim in thirty years anyway. The percentage of Catholics will be only 42 percent in the country and in Vienna it will drop to 22 percent.

It is impossible to predict which of these scenarios will be realized. But certainly, it seems again that Europe's future, as in 1918, will be that of an Austrian decline in 2018.