Chairman of the Bishops' Conference criticized controversy in the context of the referendum and refers to positive role of religions for public
Vienna (kath.net / KAP) , Cardinal Christoph Schönborn (photo) has spoken for a more objective discussion about the fundamental question of the role of religion in the public sphere. It was "a simple matter to argue against certain groups and to stir up envy," as is currently done to the Church, noted the Cardinal in his column in the daily newspaper “Heute" on Friday and criticized that "in the context of the 'Anti-Church-Privileges referendum' much was said that was frivolous."
In contrast, the Chair of the Bishops’ Conference maintains that in Austria "all religions before the law have equal rights and duties" and the Catholic Church does not enjoy "special privileges" over other religions. "The good cooperation between state and religion in Austria is exemplary throughout Europe," says Schoenborn.
Biases and deficits in the debate are ascertainable from the perspective of the cardinal if the "huge wealth" of the Catholic Church is considered. Schönborn: "Then I would reply: Yes, the Church is 'filthy rich', rich in stone witnesses of the Christian culture of our country, which must be maintained. Did you know that the Church pays more in value added taxes for the renovation of its churches and monasteries, than they get in government subsidies?"
Overlooking numerous services of the Church to the community Cardinal Schönborn said, "It's true: the public sector financial support to Caritas, the Church's hospitals, the denominational schools but it pays here for services that would be much more costly for the tax payers, the state would have to provide these services themselves."