Parish submits request for review

Vicar General of Trier: divided response to dismissal of AfD politician

Trier - Much praise - but also other reactions: The head of administration of the diocese of Trier reports on reactions to the dismissal of a leading AfD politician from a church office. This received nationwide attention.

Published  on 21.04.2024 at 11:49  – 

There have apparently been different reactions to the first dismiss al of an AfD leader from a church office in Germany. "There is a lot of praise, the majority is obviously happy with my decision. However, I have also experienced rejection, with some announcing their intention to leave the church," said the vicar general of the responsible diocese of Trier, Ulrich Graf von Plettenberg, in an interview with "Der Spiegel" at the weekend. In these cases, the following applies: "Behind every expression of displeasure is a person I want to approach."

Christoph Schaufert, deputy leader of the AfD parliamentary group in the Saarland state parliament, is no longer allowed to be a member of church committees following a decision by the Catholic diocese of Trier. He was dismissed as a member of the administrative board of the parish in Neunkirchen/Saar. Schaufert's eligibility for election to the administrative or local council of a parish in the diocese of Trier was withdrawn immediately and until further notice, it was stated. In March, the vicar general received a request from the parish to review the politician's disqualification. The background to this was the declaration "Nationalism and Christianity are incompatible" issued by the Catholic bishops in February. It was initially unclear how Schaufert would react to his expulsion. "I still have to think about it," he told the "Saarbrücker Zeitung". He was disappointed.

Complaint being examined

The Bishop of Trier, Stephan Ackermann, was involved in the decision-making process "at every stage", emphasised von Plettenberg in Der Spiegel. "But of course he will seriously consider a complaint if necessary and then make his decision." The Board of Directors had given three reasons for the exclusion: "firstly, Schaufert's high party offices, secondly, the fact that he had not distanced himself from extremist positions of his party, and finally, that the credibility of the municipality was suffering".

Von Plettenberg explained that he had examined state parliament minutes and AfD documents, as well as analysing Schaufert's statements and comments. "He has not made any explicitly anti-constitutional or anti-Semitic statements, nor has he disseminated any extremist opinions on the Board of Directors. But even if he does not position himself publicly in a way that can be criticised, it remains the case that he is a representative of a party that represents attitudes that contradict the Christian view of humanity - and that he does not distance himself from this." (KNA)