We are not just material beings, but spiritual persons with a need for meaning, purpose, and fulfillment that transcends the visible confines of this world. This longing for transcendence is a longing for truth, goodness, and beauty. Truth, goodness, and beauty are called the transcendentals of being, because they are aspects of being. Everything in existence has these transcendentals to some extent. God, of course, as the source of all truth, goodness, and beauty, has these transcendentals to an infinite degree. Oftentimes, he draws us to himself primarily through one of these transcendentals. St. Augustine, who was drawn to beauty in all its creaturely forms, found the ultimate beauty he was seeking in God, his creator, the beauty “ever ancient, ever new.”―Sister Gabriella Yi, O.P.

Sanctify yourself and you will sanctify society.—St. Francis of Assisi.

Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Austria: a steady stream of muslims converting to the Catholic Faith.

H/T Catholic Herald
http://www.catholicherald.co.uk/news/2016/04/19/number-of-muslim-migrants-in-austria-converting-to-christianity-on-the-rise/
In 2016 more than half of converts in Vienna were Muslim, according to reports
An increasing number of Muslim migrants in Austria are converting to Christianity, according to reports.
According to Austrian website Kurier, 83 adults were approved for baptism in Vienna in 2016, with Friederike Dostal of the Austrian Bishops’ Conference estimating that about half of them were Muslims, mainly from Syria, Afghanistan, and Iran. This figure is up from one-third in 2015.
There is expected to be a further rise of Muslim converts in 2017 due to the fact that there has been an increase in the number of refugees arriving in Vienna in recent months and because the conversion process, known as the Rite of Christian Initiation of Adults, takes up to a year to complete.
The Archdiocese in Vienna is handling between five and 10 adult baptism requests per week, Kurier says.
The new Catholics face persecution by their former brethren for converting to Christianity.
Flüchtling konvertiert: "Das könnte mein Todesurteil sein"
Anzahl von muslimischen Flüchtlingen, die konvertieren, ist massiv gestiegen. Immer mehr Muslime lassen sich in Wien taufen. Christoph ist einer von ihnen.
Leila Al-Serori 14.04.2016
Eine schwarze Sonnenbrille verdeckt die Augen, seinen Namen will er aus Angst um seine Familie nicht verraten. "Sie können mich Christoph nennen, das ist mein Taufname." Christoph ist ein älterer Flüchtling aus Afghanistan, seit 2012 lebt er in Österreich. Ende des Jahres wird er Katholik sein, getauft in einer Wiener Kirche: "Das könnte mein Todesurteil sein."
Black sunglasses cover his eyes. Fearing for his family, he does not want his name revealed. "You can call me Christoph, that's my Christian name." Christoph is an elderly refugee from Afghanistan. He has lived in Austria since 2012. At the end of the year he will become Catholic, baptized in a Vienna church: "This could be my death sentence."
In den vergangenen Monaten ist die Anzahl von muslimischen Flüchtlingen, die konvertieren wollen, österreichweit massiv gestiegen. [...] Der Großteil kommt aus dem Iran, Afghanistan und Syrien. [...]
In recent months the number of Muslim refugees who want to convert has increased massively throughout Austria. [...] The majority (of the converts) come from Iran, Afghanistan and Syria. [...]
The period of catechesis for immigrants lasts one full year. This policy attempts to avoid creating nominal Christians (Taufscheinchristen). There is the concern that refugees may be "converting" in an attempt to enhance their chances at obtaining a residence permit from the Asylum Court.
Also Flüchtlinge, die sich dadurch bessere Asylchancen erhoffen. Denn nach österreichischer Rechtslage ist eine Konversion im Asylverfahren zu berücksichtigen, wenn der Religionswechsel Verfolgung im Herkunftsland mit sich bring.
Unlike the mass baptisms of refugees by "free churches", i.e., protestant communities, where an abuse of process is suspected, Catholic catechumens are mentored individually to offer a standard of pastoral care and preparation that is more likely to meet with approval from the Asylum Court. The Catholic response also offers a standard of support that protects the safety and well being of persons, especially in light of the fact that converts are often subject to serious persecution by their former brethren in refugee quarters (flüchtlingsquartieren).
"In Österreich war es einmal sehr sicher für Konvertiten, das hat sich durch die starke Migrationsbewegung geändert. In den Flüchtlingsquartieren kann es auch gefährlich werden, das schreckt viele ab", erklärt Friederike Dostal.
"In Austria, it was once very safe for converts. That has changed due to the strong migration movement. The refugee quarters can also be dangerous, which deters many from" (openly converting) explains Friederike Dostal.
Christoph weiß, dass seine Entscheidung nicht ungefährlich ist, aber er habe sie getroffen. "Das Christentum ist die wahre Religion", sagt er. Der Afghane rückt sich die Sonnenbrille zurecht, legt sie schließlich ganz ab.

"Es gibt kein Zurück für mich."
Christoph knows that his decision is not without danger, but he met her (i.e., the journalist). "Christianity is the true religion," he says. The Afghan adjusts his sunglasses; finally he removes them completely.
"There is no turning back for me."
Christoph, who speaks fluent English, recounts that his journey to Christianity began as a youth in Afghanistan, his home country. When a friend brought him a Bible from Pakistan, he read it in secret. The Taliban arrested him and tortured him. He managed to escape. He eventually returned to his village. His family had fled in time, but it was two years before he heard from them again.

The full article in German is available at the following link:
http://kurier.at/politik/weltchronik/fluechtling-konvertiert-zum-christentum-in-wien-das-koennte-mein-todesurteil-sein/192.890.634
Thanks be to God that many immigrants are finding the true Faith. May the neophytes—former muslims like Christoph—be an inspiration to all Catholics, especially the lapsed, to re-engage and discover the beauty, truth and goodness of the Catholic Faith.

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