Cardinal Christoph Schönborn of Vienna has weighed in on the Eurovision Song Contest, making approving remarks about the cross-dressing winner, Conchita Wurst. Wurst is the drag persona of gay man, Tom Neuwirth, who won the continent-wide competition singing “Rise Like a Phoenix” while representing Austria. The Tablet reports further of the cardinal’s remarks:
” ‘I am glad that Tom Neuwirth had such success with his artistic creation Conchita Wurst and I will pray for him…As we all know, there is multicoloured variety in God’s garden. Not everyone who is born male feels he is a man and the same applies to women. Such people deserve the same respect that we all have a right to as human beings.’
“The issue of tolerance, to which the singer said her performance was dedicated, was a ‘very real and major issue’, the cardinal said, adding that people like Tom Neuwirth had been exposed to ridicule, nastiness and intolerance. Tolerance meant ‘respecting someone even if one does not share his or her views,’ Schönborn emphasised.”
Schönborn’s comments follow controversies about Wurst’s appearance, which prompted a petition against the performer in Austria, as well as attempts at censoring her in nations like Belarus and Russia.
The cardinal has previously endorsed civil unions for same-gender couples and urged the Church to rethink teachings on marriage. He was also considered a papal candidate during the conclave which elected Pope Francis.
–Bob Shine, New Ways Ministry