From STELLA MUSULIN
CARDINAL KOENIG has appealed to young people in Austria to lead their country out of the political stranglehold Which paralyses the middle-aged generation...
"The State is something more than an insurance company dol
ing out larger and larger payments for smaller premiums
the Cardinal declared. He criticised the politicians, an increasing number of whom seemed to have lost all belief in co-operation in government.
"Co-operation calls for mutual confidence," said the Cardinal, "but instead, there is mistrust and fear." Middle-aged men seemed to find no alternative to indulging in shadow-boxing with the evil things of the past, dressing p old ghosts in new sheets and gazing into spotted mirrors for old scenes of horror.
"These things are of no interest to our young people, who look out to a larger society of free peoples," he saidIn the outside world, "Austria is worth just what it earns by faith and works. Only by being a good Austrian can you be a good European." And what is Austria? "Not a museum, bearing witness to a rich cultural past, but a communality in which
responsibility is shared by all." Responsibility
The Church, Cardinal Koenig went on, has continually issued this call to a sense of responsi hillty. Even though the composition of a government may alter, and though it becomes tired and brittle, ioint responsibility for the government of the country remains.
There are certain things which must be kept right out of party strife_ equality hefore the law, respect for law and the judiciary, the right of all men and women to have a fair share in the fruits of their combined efforts; also, affirmation of the Republic, democracy, and the will of the people.
It is absolutely essential that there be agreement on certain fundamentals. He listed: free expression of opinion, freedom of the press, respect for the conviction of others, recognition of rel°eintis values, and an over-riding belief that the Church and religion mull never be monopolised for political purposes.
Cardinal Koenig said that it is the duty of a citizen to secure freedom. Justice and democracy by his own efforts, Narrow ways Where religion is concerned, he declared, we cannot welcome the Ugt'io#'iia,n'z10 in the Church and stay bogged down in our narrow ways. We cannot parlcy with the enemy if we can no longer speak It) one another as among friends. We cannot long for unity among the Churches and confessions, while splitting up the faith into right and left-wing Catholicism.
On the fight with Communism the Cardinal said that it is not enough to he armed with produc
tion statistics we must be intellectually and spiritually equipped. The things of the mind and spirit, he concluded, are greater than politics. "Thc truth wilt always prevail over altempts to manipu
i late it,"
Clearly, this is more than a
traditional New Year homily. What has caused the Archbishop of Vienna to express himself so strongly? 1954 brought a farther dctcrioratinn in the political climate here, and a deepening of the gulf between the two main parties which, in coalition, govern the country under Chancellor Dr. Klaus (People's Party) and ViceChancellor Dr, Piltermann (Socialist).
The Socialist leaders hear a heavy responsibility for the ills of the coalition because they have failed to cast off the bogies of the Thirties, when Austria was divided by civil war.
Compared with most West European Socialist parties, the Austrian variety has a singularly oldFashioned air, and its worries have little relevance to Austria's contemporary problems. To dis
tract attention from their own stresses and strains, for instance, Dr. Piltermann deliberately provoked the Habsburg crisis last spring; it was about the most striking example of a "pseudoevent" of the decade.
What really worries people here
is the general trend behind the symplorlls. Cardinal Koenig is not altogether exaggcra(ing when he talks of fear, It is frightening when confiscation of newspapers becomes a habit, when attempts are made to turn the judges into party puppets, when the whole of public life is carved out into watertight political backyards.
Itis frightening when opponents are dressed up as enemies, as "fascists", and words and actions are judged not on their merits, but
according to party book.
Among the sayings of the year. the prize for non-statesmanship would go to Dr. Piticr'mann for this one: "A Socialist flnlctionary who earns the praise of a political opponent is well on the way to separating himself from the party'