German Catholic women have declared that the far-right AfD political party is “not compatible” with Christian values.
– Taking a stand against populism and for “a diverse, open and gender-equal society”
The Catholic Women’s Association of Germany (kfd) passed a unanimous resolution in its national assembly September 19 affirming that membership in the AfD, or “Alternative for Germany” – known for its racist, xenophobic and even neo-Nazi views – is incompatible with membership in the kfd.
In a press release, Germany’s largest Catholic women’s association said that with the resolution it was taking an unequivocal stand against right-wing populism, racism, outdated gender roles and climate change scepticism.
“With today’s resolution, we show that we stand for a diverse, open and gender-equal society and clearly stand up against populist tendencies from the right”, said Mechthild Heil, national chairwoman of the kfd.
Heil stressed that “the positions of the kfd stand contrary to those of the AfD”, a party which she said does not distinguish itself clearly enough from right-wing extremism.
– AfD against gender equality, climate protection
In its statement on its anti-AfD resolution, the kfd reaffirmed its commitment to intercultural and interreligious dialogue, along with its desire to be an active part of German civil society that works for the strengthening of democracy and the promotion of peaceful coexistence.
From that perspective, the German Catholic women’s association said it is committed to equal rights for women and men and the equal participation of all in the world of work. That is in contrast to the AfD, the kfd explained, which pushes outdated models of femininity and opposes equal pay and “women’s quota” regulations in businesses.
“We do not accept such a backward image of women and clearly oppose it”, kfd chairwoman Heil stressed.
The kfd went on to explain that where it advocates the preservation of creation and is actively committed to sustainability, the AfD wants Germany to pull out of the Paris climate change agreement and seeks the repeal of the German government’s climate protection plan.
“The AfD denies the responsibility of humans for climate change. A position that is not compatible with ours”, Heil denounced.
– More and more German Catholic groups – and bishops – opposing AfD
The kfd explained that its vote against the AfD September 19 came not only out of the responsibility it felt as Germany’s largest Catholic women’s association but also in view of the 2021 federal elections in the country, ahead of which the association urged citizens to actively support the democratic order and to oppose populism.
In adopting the resolution declaring the incompatibility of memberships in the kfd and the AfD, the German Catholic women are following in the footsteps of the lay group of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), the Association of German Catholic Youth (BDKJ) and the German Catholic Workers Movement (KAB), which have also made similar incompatibility decisions.
A number of German Catholic bishops have also warned about the conflict between the ideology of the AfD and the teachings of the Catholic Church.
– kfd changes name of magazine in honour of 1st-century woman “prominent among the apostles”
In the meantime, and in addition to their AfD resolution, the delegates at the German Catholic women’s association assembly also decided to change the name of their 103-year-old magazine, from Frau und Mutter (“Woman and Mother”), to Junia.
That was in honour of the woman St. Paul describes in his Letter to the Romans (16:7) as “prominent among the apostles”, but whom later Church history invisibilised and even turned into a man, “Junias”.
Kfd chairwoman Heil said the magazine’s new name “symbolises the clear connection between tradition and modernity”.
Theologian Agnes Wuckelt, kfd deputy chairwoman and head of the working group that decided on the name change, said the shift to Junia is “even more important” in the context of the ongoing discussion in the Church on the possibility of women’s ordination.