In 2008, the Archdiocese of Vienna gave a home-grown firework display of scandals
A blasphemer whose invective caused a worldwide scandal has been given a job by Cardinal Christoph Schönborn. Scandalous interview with a blasphemer.
The Archbishop of Vienna, Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, has commissioned a Hrdlicka work for St. Stephen's Cathedral.
In an interview with the Austrian daily newspaper 'Die Presse', the parish priest of Vienna Cathedral, Father Toni Faber, defends the scandalous exhibition of Alfred Hrdlicka (80) in the Vienna Cathedral Museum.
Hrdlicka is a pornographer, painter and sculptor. He also serves as a board member of the 'Society for the Promotion of Relations with the Korean Democratic People's Republic'.
In the 1999 Austrian National Council electionsm he was the Carinthian top candidate of the Austrian 'Communist Party'. Hrdlicka described himself as a Stalinist.
After the Chinese dictator Mao Zedong († 1976), the Soviet dictator Joseph Stalin († 1953) was the greatest mass murderer of all time.
Not only since his invective in the Vienna Diocesan Museum has it been clear that blasphemer Hrdlicka is in cahoots with the Vienna diocesan leadership.
Cathedral priest Faber makes no effort to hide this and immediately announces the next scandal to 'Die Presse'.
The - unsuccessful - protests against the Viennese blasphemy scandal have, according to Father Faber, led to "us going to Hrdlicka with the Cardinal and asking him, the greatest contemporary Austrian sculptor, to do a commissioned work of Blessed Maria Restituta."
Sister Maria Restituta Kafka († 1943) was murdered by the then regime for her resistance to the godless National Socialists.
Negotiations are currently underway as to where the commissioned work will be placed - "in the cathedral, or, already somewhat disappointed, around the cathedral".
Even the blasphemer wondered
The question of whether blasphemer Hrdlicka was "grief-stricken" because one of his blasphemies was removed is denied by Father Faber:
"He himself was surprised that there wasn't trouble before and that I tried to give a place to this provocation, this blasphemous representation, in my opening speech."
The Hrdlicka depiction of Blessed Franciscan Restituta will also include a quote from a communist who was beheaded with her by the Nazis.
In the event of a takeover, the communists would have done everything to eradicate the Austrian Church down to its roots.
Hrdlicka always says so proudly and provocatively: 'I am a Stalinist, I am a communist. With the same justification for provocation, I could say: For me, Hrdlicka is of course a Christian."
Hrdlicka may not be "denominationally closely Catholic", he is an Old Catholic, but a third of his work is connected to religious themes - the cathedral priest claims:
"If he is not closely connected to the Christian life - who is?"
By his own admission, Hrdlicka is an atheist.
Hope for new scandal
Father Faber would never exhibit Hrdlicka's parody of the Last Supper as a homosexual orgy in a church: "But in the exhibition there were forty works by Hrdlicka from the large œuvre dealing with religious themes."
The cathedral parish priest believes that "provocation" has "quite a good place" in a cathedral museum.
Gritting his teeth:
Father Faber had a serious talk with Cardinal Schönborn and almost convinced him to let the blasphemy continue: "But I have to grudgingly accept that for him, who as archbishop has to stand for the whole, it was out of the question in the end."
In the interview he also admits to having "very much encouraged" the director of the Cathedral Museum, Bernhard Böhler, to commit the outrage: "These are small steps, I hope that more will follow."
According to Father Faber, Cardinal Schönborn only asked the museum director and its cathedral priest if they had not noticed that it was "too much":
"We entered into a very serious conversation with him, had almost convinced him, but I have to grudgingly accept that for him, who as archbishop must stand for the whole, it was ultimately out of the question [to leave the painting hanging]."
The cardinal cries for money
In the interview, Father Faber also talks about the "hard protests" against the blasphemy in the Cathedral Museum.
Museum director Böhler had received 300 to 400 protest e=mails a day, he said.
The conservative US-Americans had exposed the Viennese Prince of the church as a "porno-cardinal" and stopped their donations because of the scandal.
Apparently, the theological institute in the Lower Austrian town of Gaming, whose patron is Cardinal Schönborn, lost support money from the USA.
"I know how deeply Hermann Nitsch can understand the religious, the Christian sacrifice of the Eucharist."
According to Father Faber, the loss of the money "hurt the cardinal very much".
Flat on the stomach
In the interview, Father Faber also confessed his personal admiration for Hrdlicka.
When Hrdlicka asked him to give the opening speech of a sculpture exhibition at the Albertina Square in Vienna, the clergyman - according to his own account - was laid out "flat on his stomach" with joy.
The 'Die Presse' journalist interjected that most of "your colleagues" would probably not do that.
To which Father Faber replied in the royal plural: "I am incredibly pleased that we are the contact for such a great artist as Alfred Hrdlicka."
"When Hermann Nitsch takes the monstrance out of a slaughtered lamb and displays it, it's exactly what I say and do every day at Mass: behold the Lamb of God."
The cathedral priest professes to have admired the Blasphemer since his student years.
His titanic sculptures, he says, are "extremely impressive":
"When I look at a crucified person, the servant of God, I'm in good hands with Hrdlicka, there I experience this trace of human suffering not without meaning."
Hermann Nitsch is the better priest
At the end of the interview, the cathedral priest announces yet another scandal.
Next year, Father Faber wants to host a young so-called action artist in a small gallery in the anteroom of the parish chancery: "We hope that Hermann Nitsch will open the exhibition for us."
Father Faber also raves about blasphemer Nitsch: "I know how deeply he can understand the religious, the Christian sacrifice of the Eucharist."
"When he takes the monstrance out of a slaughtered lamb and displays it, it is exactly what I say and do every day at Mass: behold the Lamb of God" - the cathedral priest stated in his delirium.
He even claims "that Nitsch understands much more about the Christian sacrifice than I hear so many Catholic contemporaries talk about so generally."
Cathcon: Hermann Nitsch styled himself the Blood Orgy Master. He was also made welcome at St Florian's Abbey in Upper Austria. Not for the squeamish, but if readers want to confirm the horror of a priest sanctioning Nitsch, they can look on YouTube where there are all too many examples.