How to deal with angry citizens, right-wing populists and their aggressive slogans against foreigners and "those up there"?? Cardinal Woelki calls for a mixture of humility and self-confidence, in other words: composure.
In his column for the news portal stern.Cardinal Woelki writes that the rampant right-wing populism needs and fuels "permanent agitation, doggedness in one's own narrow world view and selfishness of interest". True Christianity inspired by the Gospel, on the other hand, motivates the opposite, according to Woelki: "Serenity, humility and love.
The Cologne archbishop, who has repeatedly faced massive insults on social networks in the past, stresses that it is no coincidence "that Christian citizens voted significantly below average for the AfD in every election – including most recently in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania."
Resentment in the church, too
It is true that even among small groups in the church there is a "worrying susceptibility to ideological thinking, fanatical self-arance, resentment against everything foreign – ethnic, religious and sexual minorities – and aggressive slogans against a liberal-right policy of moderation and the center," Woelki said. But the vast majority do not follow these interceptions.
In his commentary, Woelki also admits shortcomings and sins in the church and calls for Christian humility instead ofKnow-it-all: "The number of Germans who think they can be 'chancellor' better than the current, experienced incumbent is as ridiculous as it is frighteningly large".
Constructive criticism necessary
The cardinal calls on users of social networks to refrain from "presumptuous disparagement of those who devote themselves to highly complex steering tasks in state and society". Constructive criticism, he said, is necessary in a system that is divided among powers, democratic and open to self-correction. The type of the "dogged rage citizen", on the other hand, must not be allowed to spread any further – otherwise there is a risk of losing the free, more people-friendly political system in Germany.
According to Woelki, citizens should oppose the attacks of angry citizens "with passion, a sense of responsibility and a sense of proportion – in other words, with a serenity in which humility and self-confidence are balanced."
Criticism of the CSU
Woelki had recently spoken out with a clear criticism of the CSU positions on refugee policy. He accused the party of contributing to polarization and doing the business of right-wing populists from the AfD with demands for upper limits for refugees or a preference for immigrants from the "Christian occidental cultural sphere".
At the same time, the archbishop called on the CSU to be faithful to the Constitution: "If the CSU takes the Basic Law seriously, it cannot demand an upper limit. The right of asylum does not allow that." Therefore, "the nonsensical discussion about upper limits must stop".
AfD as "laughing third"
Woelki also warned the party against the amption that it could benefit from a policy and rhetoric of inflammatory politics. "Whoever wants what the CSU propagates will end up voting for the AfD right away. She will be the laughing third."
The CSU executive committee had unanimously adopted its refugee paper on Saturday, but had previously changed the priority rule for immigrants from the "Christian occidental cultural circle". This, he said, should only apply to classic immigration, but not to asylum and refugee policy.