Austria's highest Catholic dignitary, Cardinal Christoph Schoenborn, criticised Monday French satirical magazine "Charlie Hebdo".
Besides publising humorous and satirical political caricatures the magazine for many years now would present Christianity and Islam "in slurring and vulgar caricatures", Schoenborn wrote in Austria's free newspaper "Heute".
Cardinal Schoenborn also referred to Austria's "sad history of hateful caricatures" at the end of the 19th century. "I am thinking of the hateful anti-Semitic caricatures," Schoenborn wrote in his weekly column in the newspaper. "This poisionous seed sprang up and contributed to the mass murders of Jewish people. Had there been clear steps against this agitation maybe a lot of suffering and terrible guilt could have been prevented." Schoenborn emphasised that there are boundaries to the freedom of opinion, press and religion, namely there, where it's about "the respect for things which are holy to others". At the same time the Cardinal said that caricaturists were "yardsticks" for freedom of opinion, press and religion. These were "fundamental freedoms of a good and open society".
The terroristic attacks in Paris had made clear once again how precious these freedoms are, Schoenborn wrote. In spite of his criticising the magazine's caricatures, the violence against "Charlie Hebdo" was by no means excusable, Schoenborn underlined.