Pope Benedikt XVI, followed by Czech cardinal Miloslav Vlk, blesses well wishers in the Church of Our Lady Victorious in Prague, September 26, 2009, during first day of his three day visit to the Czech Republic.
PRAGUE—Outgoing Prague archbishop and head of Czech Catholics Miloslav Vlk warned of a looming "islamization" of Europe in an interview published in Prague on Tuesday.
"Europe has denied its Christian roots from which it has risen and which could give it the strength to fend off the danger that it will be conquered by Muslims -- which is actually happening gradually," Vlk said.
"If Europe doesn't change its relation to its own roots, it will be islamized," the 77-year-old cardinal, who was named Prague archbishop by pope John Paul II in 1991, added on his website www.kardinal.cz.
He blamed immigration and Muslims' high birth rate for helping Muslims to "easily fill the vacant space created as Europeans systematically empty the Christian content of their lives".
"At the end of the Middle Ages and in the early modern age, Islam failed to conquer Europe with arms. The Christians beat them then," Vlk said.
"Today, when the fighting is done with spiritual weapons which Europe lacks while Muslims are perfectly armed, the fall of Europe is looming," added the cardinal.
Vlk, who was persecuted by the former communist regime toppled in 1989, offered his resignation as Catholic bishop two years ago -- at age 75, in line with Church rules, but Pope Benedict XVI extended his term by two years then.
Vlk's successor should be named this week, according to Czech media.