The former Augsburg bishop Mixa wanted to speak at an AfD event on the topic of Islamization. After sharp criticism, he has cancelled his appearance.
[Augsburger Zeitung] The retired former Bishop of Augsburg, Walter Mixa had his planned lecture on "Islamization? Christianity” canceled at an AfD event in the Augsburg Arsenal. His reasoning: He had not known that the Augsburg AfD city council member and Member of Parliament Markus Bayerbach, who had invited him a good month ago, "is an AfD man.”
Mixa was interviewed on Monday by Catholic News Agency. Mixa added that he had received other invitations from the AfD, including from Hamburg. He will not appear for this either. His refusal was made independently of a corresponding request from the diocese of Augsburg.
AfD politician Bayerbach contradicts the former Augsburg Bishop Mixa
AfD politician Bayerbach did not want to leave that event on Monday afternoon without comment. Mixa got to know him in spring at an event as an AfD member of parliament, and there had been correspondence with Mixa about the event "on paper with AfD logo,” according to Bayerbach. Mixa phoned his office on Monday and canceled the appointment on May 24th. Bayerbach had announced that there would be an event on this day - "on the topic of religion and freedom of expression".
Mixas’ planned appearance at an AfD event in the Augsburg Arsenal had caused indignation - even within the Catholic Church. "The news about the appearance of the emeritus Bishop Dr. Walter Mixa at an upcoming (election) event of the AfD in Augsburg was taken note of by the diocesan leadership with amazement,” said the diocese of Augsburg on Monday morning. It further stated that this appearance was, “neither coordinated with Bishop Dr. Konrad Zdarsa nor with his Vicar General Harald Heinrich.”
Such an appearance would be "expressly rejected and not approved by the two," it said: "The bishop will ask the emeritus bishop in writing, not to appear at this event in the territory of the diocese of Augsburg. According to our editorial staff, he could rely on a statement from the Apostolic See regulating relations between a diocesan bishop and a bishop emeritus."Apparently, the emeritus bishop is unaware," the statement went on to say, "that his behavior causes great dismay to many people, especially to many believers, and thus causes serious damage to the Diocese of Augsburg and the Church as a whole.”
Former Bishop Mixa wanted to speak at AfD event in Augsburg
In addition, AfD politician Bayerbach said in an interview with our editorial on Monday afternoon: "I find it extremely scary how the Church makes policy here. As a committed Catholic, I find it difficult to be satisfied with the administrative staff of the Church. "He accused the Augsburg diocese of Berne that it was enthusiastic for the Greens. Bayerbach demanded: "I now expect a conversation offer from Bishop Konrad Zdarsa and his Vicar General Harald Heinrich.” They have closed themselves off and don’t take their task of pastoral care seriously, if it does not come to a clarifying conversation, said Bayerbach.
The former Augsburg Bishop Walter Mixa wanted to attend the event on 24 May - just two days before the European elections - to speak on the subject of "Islamization? Christianity.” He would have supported - whether wanted or not - the Alternative for Germany in the election campaign.
The event was advertised on the website of the AfD district association Augsburg-Land on Monday afternoon as one of the "highlights in May". In social networks it was heavily criticized at the weekend. Cemal Bozoglu, Augsburg member of the Greens, spoke of a "scandal.” He commented that the former bishop Walter Mixa became "part of the AfD propaganda" was regrettable. Two days before the elections to the European Parliament, the City of Religious Peace Augsburg will be the scene of an event that wants to split society and foster fears. The Munich Greens leader Gudrun Lux, member of the Central Committee of German Catholics, wrote on Facebook briefly and all the more concisely: "He should be ashamed."
The Augsburg AfD City Council and Member of Parliament Markus Bayerbach could not understand the excitement. At the request of our editors, he emphasized on Monday morning that Mixa’s appearance "is not a party event of the KV Augsburg city, but a lecture evening by the MdL Markus Bayerbach (in organizational cooperation with the State of Augsburg)".
AfD MP Bayerbach resisted criticism
Bozoglus criticism pointed sharply back at Bayerbach: "If a Catholic member of parliament in Catholic Bavaria invites a Catholic dignitary for a lecture, this should be a matter of course. The fact that he has to be tackled by a Green politician with a migration background and stir up fears and divide the society is nothing but blunt campaigning propaganda against the AfD. "And further:" As a Christian, I invite my church representatives, when and wherever I want, and do not let that call me into question. It is precisely when we are denied the right to question the role of Islam in our society, as we here are no longer allowed to hear our bishops, that the question of a possible misguided development is obvious and relevant.”
Bozoglu, according to Bayerbach, was in his view also completely unsuitable to make such statements, and here he organizes populist sentiment against the AfD only shortly before the election. He himself was "personally interested in the topic from the point of view of a bishop" - that's why he invited Mixa for a lecture. "Anyone who knows me knows that provoking is not my political stylistic device, but Im also not going to remain silent about problems," Bayerbach explained.
Already in January, Walter Mixa had talked about the same topic at an AfD event in Stuttgart. At the time, he said, among other things, according to a newspaper report, that Islam is called "submission." Islam has the perspective that one can kill those who "do not submit." In addition, Mixa spoke of the will "for the Muslimization of Europe".
Not only does that make him interesting as a speaker for the AfD, but his positions on family politics or on abortion do not only correspond to those of right-wing and arch-conservative Church circles, but also those of the AfD. Although it was stated by the National Association of the Bavarian AfD in its election program for the state election in 2018 that it was a “lobby group” for the Catholic and Protestant church. Nevertheless, there are similarities, even great ones, between traditionalists within the Catholic Church and the AfD. "Abortion is therefore fundamentally wrong"; "Intentional, ideologically motivated disorientation is intended to break up and neutralize the values and reference systems that have been handed down in families, and to replace them with pseudo-family models"; "Instead of the ever further penetration of the society with the gender ideology the proven traditional family picture is to be strengthened" - such were core statements from the AfD election program.
Mixa, in turn, is unforgotten and controversial for his statements during his time as diocesan bishop. For example, when he drew parallels between the Holocaust, the six million killed Jews, and the number of abortions. In April 2010, he had to offer the pope his resignation because of allegations that he beat students as well as allegations of misappropriation. Since then things have - at least in phases - calmed down around him. Walter Mixa lives as a chaplain in the "Diocesan house, Barbara,” an Art Nouveau villa in Gunzenheim in the Danube-Ries district, which belongs to the diocese of Eichstätt. He says Mass and may - with "consent and thus on behalf of Bishop Gregory Maria Hanke" - in July 2019 also offer the sacrament of confirmation for the parish association, as it was requested by our editors in January.
Trans: Tancred firstname.lastname@example.org