The cardinal archbishop of Vienna has hosted a World AIDS Day charity benefit in the Austrian city’s St. Stephen’s Cathedral, telling attendees “God wants no one to feel excluded”.
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The cathedral show, “Believe Together”, was the main event among many held across Vienna on November 30 to raise money for AIDS relief projects.
Among the performers was Conchita Wurst, the Austrian transgender singer who won the 2014 Eurovision song contest.
The concert was organised for the third year in the cathedral by the famed HIV/AIDS activist Gery Keszler’s “LIFE+” association.
Before the event, Keszler thanked the archbishop for the use of St. Stephen’s, and said “we are very grateful for the trust placed in us by Cardinal Schönborn”.
In comments reported on the Archdiocese of Vienna’s website, Schönborn told attendees that “God wants no one to feel excluded; he wants all to feel safe”.
The cardinal thanked participants for their “big heart” and for not forgetting “the people who need our help”.
Ultraconservative critics have panned Schönborn for hosting the concert at the cathedral and thereby providing a platform for LGBT+ “propaganda”.
However, the main beneficiaries of the show will be the some 700 patients in the “Brotherhood of Blessed Gerard” Malteser AIDS Hospice in KwaZulu-Natal, South Africa, to which all proceeds will go.
Those patients – mostly women and children – rely on antiretroviral therapies that cost about 93 euros per month: the price of a couple of tickets for the cathedral event
Schönborn also insisted that participants at the benefits be welcomed not as “guests” but as family.
“I want you to know that in this cathedral we are all at home”, the cardinal said.