German Cardinal Reinhard Marx has urged the Church to combat right-wing radicalism and racism.

– “We have to take action against it… We have to raise our voices”

“We have to take action against it, also as a Church. We have to raise our voices and get involved, even in small groups, even in our parishes. It starts with the language, it starts with the attitudes”, warned Marx, the Archbishop of Munich and Freising, at the Mass of ordination of nine men to the diaconate September 26 in Munich cathedral.

Marx was speaking on the 40th anniversary of the Oktoberfest bombing, a far-right terrorist attack perpetrated on September 26 1980 at the principal entrance to the Oktoberfest festival in Munich, and in which 13 people lost their lives and more than 200 others were injured.

“Today we know that this attack had a right-wing extremist background, and we are attentive also to the right-wing extremist and racist theses that are represented in our society today”, Marx said.

The cardinal included in his prayers at the Mass the 13 people who died in the attack and the injured “who are still suffering from it today”, as well as those who gathered for a memorial service Saturday morning at the site of the bombing, in Munich’s Theresienwiese.

– “We Christians know where we must stand: with those who stand up against all hatred”

Cardinal Marx returned to honouring the victims of the Oktoberfest bombing and to warning against right-wing extremism in an ecumenical service in Munich cathedral September 27 to open Intercultural Week, an initiative of the German Catholic, Protestant and Orthodox Churches which features 5,000 events in more than 500 cities.

Again recalling the 13 who died in the attack and the “many” still suffering the effects of the bombing today, Marx lamented that “the shock of this terrorist attack is still great in this city”.

Deploring the “right-wing extremist background” to the crime, and the “xenophobia” and “inhuman nationalism” behind it, the cardinal called for Intercultural Week to be “a sign against hatred, anti-Semitism, the contempt of others [and] nationalistic agitation”.

“We Christians know where we must stand: with those who stand up against all hatred and against racism and inhuman speech and action”, Marx said.

– Archbishop of Bamberg: “Nationalism and racism are accelerants of all pandemics, but peace is a fire extinguisher”

Another German bishop who has also spoken out forcefully against right-wing extremism and racism in recent days is Archbishop of Bamberg Ludwig Schick.

“Nationalism and racism are accelerants of all pandemics, but peace is a fire extinguisher”, Schick insisted September 25 at a procession in honour of St. Otto, one of Bamberg’s patron saints and an icon for the local Church against violence, war and terror and for reconciliation, peace and unity.

Warning against rich nations being given preference in future vaccines and other medicines in the treatment of the coronavirus, Schick urged peace, solidarity and cooperation as essential elements in the global response to the pandemic.

Peace is also an “indispensable prerequisite” for the other pandemics the world is fighting but which have been overshadowed by COVID-19, including underdevelopment and injustice, environmental degradation and forced migration, Schick pleaded.

More on Novena on the German Churches’ Intercultural Week:

“Incompatible with human dignity”: German Churches criticise EU migration, refugee policy

More on Novena on the Churches’ fight against the far right:

Think radical Islamists are the only ones to perpetrate sacred violence? Christians and secularists do it too

German Catholic women declare far-right AfD “not compatible” with Christian values

Churches stand up to far-right in Dresden: “We need peacemakers, not pyromaniacs”

German Church leaders condemn far-right: “Nationalism and Catholicism are mutually exclusive”


PhD in ancient Jewish/Christian history and philosophy. University ethics lecturer with 4 years' experience in religion journalism.