Criticism of nationalism: Expert: Bishop’s word on the AfD is a coup

Criticism of nationalism: Expert: Bishop’s word on the AfD is a coup

The Catholic bishops in Germany have made it unequivocally clear that Christians are not allowed to vote for right-wing extremists. This is a serious blow for the AfD, says an expert.

The political scientist and church expert Andreas Püttmann assesses the German Bishops’ Conference’s declaration on ethnic nationalism as a “coup (…) that caught the AfD off guard.”

“After the mass demonstrations of the recent past have already swept away the claim “We represent the people”, you are now tearing down the label “conservative” from the conservative institution itself,” said Püttmann, who is considered an expert on the right-wing Catholic scene “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger”. It was important that the declaration was accepted unanimously, otherwise one could have said “some say so, others say that”.

Püttmann drew a parallel between the bishops’ statement and the papal encyclical “With Burning Concern.” In it, Pope Pius XI. Condemned National Socialism in 1937.

“Human dignity is the core of the Christian view of humanity”

The declaration adopted by all Catholic bishops in Germany last week at the spring general assembly in Augsburg brands ethnic nationalism as incompatible with the Christian faith. “Human dignity is the core of the Christian view of humanity and the anchor of our constitutional order,” it says. The bishops write that a ethnic-nationalist attitude dominates the AfD. “The AfD oscillates between real right-wing extremism, which the Office for the Protection of the Constitution attests to some state associations and the party’s youth organization, and right-wing populism, which is less radical and fundamental. Right-wing populism is the shimmering edge of right-wing extremism, from which it is ideologically charged.” In both cases, stereotypical resentments are given free rein.

The bishops then make it clear: “Ethnic nationalism is incompatible with the Christian image of God and humanity. Right-wing extremist parties and those that proliferate on the fringes of this ideology cannot therefore be a place for Christians to engage in political activity and are also not eligible for election. The Spreading right-wing extremist slogans – including racism and anti-Semitism in particular – is also incompatible with full-time or voluntary service in the church.”

EKD council chairwoman praises Catholic bishops

The current council chairwoman of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Kirsten Fehrs, expressed her appreciation for the Catholic bishops’ declaration against nationalistic thinking. “In these times in which right-wing extremists are questioning the basic values ​​of our coexistence, a clear and common stance by the churches is important. For me, the current declaration of the German Bishops’ Conference and the resolution of the Synod of the Evangelical Church in Germany from December 2023 are clearly on the same page line,” said Fehrs, according to an EKD statement. “Ethnic-national sentiments and inhumane attitudes and statements are in no way compatible with the principles of the Christian faith; we can now say that even more clearly ecumenically,” emphasized Fehrs.

Source: Stern

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