Magdeburg bishop: AfD complaint about Catholic positioning “curious”

As of: February 25, 2024 4:35 p.m

The AfD feels attacked because the Catholic German Bishops’ Conference has clearly positioned itself against it. Magdeburg Bishop Feige finds this “simply strange”.

The Magdeburg Catholic Bishop Gerhard Feige has rejected sharp criticism from the AfD of the positioning of the German Bishops’ Conference against the party. “I just find it strange to let people who have been agitating against others for years accuse us of ‘political agitation’,” Feige told the internet portal If the AfD thinks it has to “teach us what is ‘truly Christian’, it should first look a little more intensively at Christianity and its values.”

On Thursday, at the end of their spring general assembly in Augsburg, the Catholic bishops unanimously adopted a declaration entitled “Ethnic nationalism and Christianity are incompatible.” In this, the bishops clearly differentiated themselves from the AfD and described it as unelectable for Christians. After several bouts of radicalization, a ethnic-nationalist attitude now dominates the party.

Brandner speaks of “chutzpah”

After the statement was published, deputy AfD federal spokesman Stephan Brandner accused the bishops of a “transparent election campaign and diversionary tactic.” “The state-supported bishops are confronted with their own disgusting scandals and now really have the chutzpah to join in the political agitation against the only opposition. This can hardly be surpassed in terms of audacity, self-absorption and transparency,” said Brandner.

“Fundamental decision” in favor of liberal democracy

Feige emphasized that the bishops are also concerned with the coming elections, “but not in favor of any other party, but with the fundamental decision of whether we want to continue to live in a liberal democracy or stand idly by as it is increasingly dismantled and undermined.” .

The vicar general of the diocese of Essen, Klaus Pfeffer, also called on people to “now defend our free, plural and liberal democracy with all our strength.” He accused the AfD on Facebook of poisoning the climate in parliaments for years. “There is bullying and agitation; the right-wing extremist course the AfD is pursuing is becoming more and more obvious,” said Pfeffer.

Support from Catholic associations

Several Catholic associations also welcomed the German bishops’ statement on right-wing extremism and the AfD. The Society of Catholic Journalists in Germany (GKP) said that the AfD was a threat to civil liberties, including freedom of expression and freedom of the press. “We are glad that the German bishops are unequivocally against the spread of right-wing extremist slogans from within the church,” said GKP chairman Joachim Frank.

The Catholic Workers’ Movement of Germany (KAB) also welcomed the declaration. “Especially as an international workers’ movement, we see migration as an economic and humanitarian necessity,” said Federal President Stefan-Bernhard Eirich. “Nationalist and ethnic fantasies that exclude people with a migration background are attacks on the human dignity of colleagues that we will not accept.”

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