Demo gegen Rechts

A clear position against the AfD

Pallottine Father and Friedberg parish priest Steffen Brühl takes a stand on Bavarian radio

The clear call by Provincial Father Markus Hau to stand up for a better and more humane world and to take to the streets in the face of the AfD’s successes has now been echoed in the media. On the occasion of the plenary assembly of the German bishops in Augsburg, at which a declaration on the AfD was also adopted, a team from the Bavarian Broadcasting Company came to the Pallottine Fathers for an interview at the same time as the bishops’ final declaration.

The focus was not only on the Provincial’s statement, but above all on the commitment of the Pallottine priest and pastor of St Jacob’s in Friedberg, Fr Steffen Brühl. Not only had he called for a demonstration for democracy a few weeks earlier, which was attended by almost 2,000 people, but he had also initiated a broad alliance of all democrats against right-wing extremism in the ducal town of Wittelsbach. The fact that the German Bishops’ Conference has now taken a clear stand against the AfD and made it clear that the dissemination of right-wing extremist slogans such as racism and anti-Semitism is incompatible with full-time or voluntary service in the Church is also addressed by Pastor Brühl.

Pater Steffen Brühl SAC b ezieht Stellung gegen Rechtsextremismus und Demokratiefeindlichkeit und für den Schutz von Schwächeren.

Catholics against right-wing extremism

“Anyone who secretly agrees with the positions of leading AfD politicians or even supports them by being a member or even holding a mandate in the AfD must seriously ask himself whether this is compatible with a commitment within the Catholic Church,” the Pallottine priest said in the BR interview, adding: “The Church must be on the side of freedom, the Church must be on the side of the weaker members of our society. This is the natural place of the Church”.

Brühl’s provincial, Father Markus Hau, had earlier praised the courage of the people taking to the streets for democratic values. “Because you have to dare to do it,” Father Hau said. But in a world that is falling apart, we need people of confidence to face this changed future with confidence. “The time on the sofa is over,” the Provincial stressed. We have entered a new era and have no time to rest.

Interview für den Bayerischen Rundfunk, für einen Beitrag auf tageschau24 und in der Tagesschau.
Der Vorsitzende der Deutschen Bischofskonferenz Bischof

Ethnic Nationalism is incompatible with Christianity

This view was shared by the German bishops, who wanted to wake up the population with an unusually clear statement, explicitly distancing themselves from the AfD. “After several waves of radicalisation, the Alternative for Germany (AfD) party in particular is now dominated by a völkisch-nationalist attitude,” reads the paper, entitled “Völkischer Nationalismus und Christentum sind unvereinbar” (“Ethnic nationalism and Christianity are incompatible”), presented by the president of the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing.

“Right-wing populism is the colourful fringe of right-wing extremism, from which it is ideologically charged”

The AfD oscillates between genuine right-wing extremism and right-wing populism, which appears less radical. “Right-wing populism is the shimmering edge of right-wing extremism, from which it is ideologically charged,” the paper continues.

In both cases, stereotypical resentments are given free rein: against refugees and migrants, against Muslims, against the alleged conspiracy of the so-called global elites, and increasingly also against Jews. The Catholic bishops therefore stress: “Ethnic nationalism is incompatible with the Christian image of God and man. For this reason, right-wing extremist parties and those on the fringes of this ideology cannot be a place of political activity for Christians, nor can they be elected”.

Contribution: Alexander Schweda
Photos/Copyright: German Bishops’ Conference/Marko Orlovic; St. Jakob Parish/Julian Schmidt


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