Cardinal of Vienna Christoph Schönborn has intervened in the debate about the crisis in US politics, arguing that the crowd who stormed the Capitol had been deluded into believing the election was stolen.
These people were not an “evil mob” but people who had been “pummelled” with lies, he says.
The crowd that stormed the Capitol was falsely convinced that they were fighting the biggest electoral fraud in America’s history, he writes. “Nothing justifies their violence. Even less: the lies that led to the violence.”
The cardinal posted on Twitter: “Nothing justifies violence. Even less the lies that led to the violence. It comes to this when truth is no longer distinguished from lies. What a warning against the power of lies!”
“I can’t get the images of the Storming of the Capitol in Washington out of my mind. How did this happen? Five people are dead, so many injured, offices were destroyed, and the rule of law trampled upon. Now some are suggesting that it was an evil ‘mob’ from the dregs of civilised humanity.
“No, they weren’t! They were seduced and lied to. They were pummelled (with untruths and lies): that those up there, government and the legislature, stole your election. The elections were rigged. You have to fight back!
“Who kept telling you this on Twitter and all kinds of channels? The (still) current, incumbent president of the most powerful country in the world! Even before the elections, he proclaimed: If I am not re-elected, it can only be election fraud. He called for a protest. At the end of this protest he said, ‘Go to the Capitol!’
“The crowd that stormed the Capitol was falsely convinced that they were fighting the biggest electoral fraud in America’s history. Nothing justifies their violence. Even less: the lies that led to the violence. This is what happens when truth can no longer be distinguished from lies. What a warning against the power of lies!”
His comments are also reported by Crux, which notes that Schönborn is “someone whose theology Pope Francis has often praised and who is considered by many to be papabile, meaning a candidate to be elected pope.” Pope Francis has himself spoken out against the shocking scenes and events witnessed in Washington.