Archbishop Gänswein: European Governments Ignore Attacks on Christians

The prefect of the papal household said that a ‘militant secularity’ has developed in Europe, one which aims to silence Christians and marginalize religion.

Archbishop Georg Gänswein
Archbishop Georg Gänswein (photo: CNA)

EINSIEDELN, Switzerland — European governments and politicians have failed to properly address increasing attacks on Christians, Archbishop Georg Gänswein said during a talk at a pilgrimage in Switzerland.

“Only a few member states of the Organization for Security and Cooperation [OSCE] in Europe report about cases against Christians within their borders, while discrimination against other social groups are regularly reported,” the prefect of the papal household said May 18 at Einsiedeln territorial abbey, according to Korazym’s Rocio Franch.

The pilgrimage to the Benedictine abbey was organized by the Swiss branch of Aid to the Church in Need, an international Catholic charity, and was attended by at least 600 people. After his address, Archbishop Gänswein said Mass, together with Abbot Urban Federer and Bishop Peter Henrici, an emeritus auxiliary of the Chur Diocese.

The archbishop noted that the OSCE’s report on hate crimes makes it clear that Christians “are often a target” of hate crimes; he also referred to a 2012 report of the Observatory on Intolerance and Discrimination against Christians in Europe, which found that, of 285 crimes against religion reported in Sweden, 250 were committed against Christians.

He also mentioned acts of vandalism against Christian churches and symbols in Italy, Germany, Austria and Hungary and workplace discrimination in the U.K. and Norway against Christians.

Archbishop Gänswein said that anti-Muslim and anti-Semitic acts are “justly denounced by media and politicians” in Europe.

Yet such reactions do not occur when Christian symbols are subject to mockery or blasphemous satire in the public arena, he said, adding that this is something “inconceivable” with respect to other groups.

Archbishop Gänswein said that a radical and “militant secularity” has developed in Europe, one which aims “to silence Christians” and “to marginalize religion and the family as the foundation of society, which is one of the foremost concerns of the Church.”

He urged that Europe modify its understanding of tolerance, becoming “more sensitive to and appreciative of various religions. Europe cannot survive if we sever its Christian roots, which are its soul.”