The general secretary of Bavaria’s governing Christian Social Union sparked controversy after telling a journalists’ club in Regensburg that “the worst is a football-playing altar-serving Senegalese… who has been here for three years – as an economic refugee – we can’t get rid of him”.
Andreas Scheuer’s comments were denounced on September 19 by church leaders.
As reported by Deutsche Welle (DW), Germany’s international broadcaster, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, whose church province includes Regensburg said he was “horrified and incensed” by Scheuer’s remark.
Marx, opening an autumn conference of bishops in Fulda, said remarks such as those made by Scheuer sought to rid Germany of refugees, when instead politicians’ help was needed to integrate “hundreds of thousands”.
The “bottom line” for his church was the humane handling of each refugee who came across the border and the fair processing of their applications for asylum. Nobody should be sent back into world regions where war and persecution prevailed, Marx said.
Meanwhile, Cologne’s Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, an outspoken pro-asylum advocate, accused Bavaria’s CSU of “promoting the work of the right-wing populist AfD”.
Also, Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, the chairman of Germany’s federated EKD Protestant churches, said he was shocked by Scheuer’s remark and described it as “fodder for far-right populists”.