Party ultimately wants to abolish liberal basic order

Bavaria's bishops call for sharp demarcation from the AfD

Munich - The Freising Bishops' Conference has taken a stance on the rise of populists and extremists in politics. For the time being, there will be no standardised rules for dealing with AfD members of church councils.

Published  on 30.11.2023 at 14:46  – 

The Bavarian bishops have reacted with harsh words to the AfD's recent election success in Bavaria. The AfD is using the free constitutional order to ultimately abolish it, the bishops declared at the end of their autumn plenary meeting in Munich on Thursday. As conference chairman, Cardinal Reinhard Marx from Munich emphasised that the Bavarian bishops were united in this assessment of the political situation. This is otherwise "not always the case", he added.

The bishops appeal to those in power and all parties on the democratic spectrum to take a firm stand against populists and extremists. A clear line must be drawn against right-wing extremists. For Christians, the election of parties that spread nationalist, racist or anti-Semitic opinions or tolerate them in their ranks is unacceptable. It is also not recognisable "how someone with such an attitude could assume responsibility in the church", the final communiqué states.

No standardised rules

In this context, Marx spoke of a "clear signal". There had been no discussion about standardised rules for all Bavarian dioceses. Here, "every bishop must fulfil his responsibility". With regard to the risk of lawsuits, the cardinal expressed scepticism as to whether it would make sense to set down such rules in writing. He was unsure about this.

According to a study by Forschungsgruppe Wahlen, 14% of Catholic voters voted for the AfD in the state elections in Bavaria on 7 October. This percentage is only slightly lower than the party's overall vote. With regard to political developments, the bishops emphasised the importance of the Centre of Excellence for Democracy and Human Dignity that they established in 2019. The centre makes an "important contribution to the protection of democracy". (KNA)