March 8, 2016

Congo-born priest resigns from German parish after racist threats

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(RNS) A Catholic priest has resigned from his parish in Germany after racist threats and abuse by local politicians.

The Rev. Olivier Ndjimbi-Tshiende told parishioners during his Sunday (March 6) sermon that he would be leaving his post in Zorneding, close to Munich, after Easter. The Congolese-German priest received race-related death threats five times in the past few months and has also been stalked, German magazine Der Spiegel reported.

Ndjimbi-Tshiende has reportedly suffered racist abuse from two members of the Christian Social Union, the Bavarian arm of a center-right party that forms part of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s coalition government.

The local party leader, Sylvia Boher, was criticized last year by Ndjimbi-Tshiende after she referred to an “invasion” of Eritrean refugees. Her CSU ally, Johann Haindl, subsequently used a racist insult against the priest, the BBC reported. Both politicians have since resigned from their party posts after criticism of their statements.

After Ndjimbi-Tshiende’s decision to step down, the Munich archdiocese said it stood by the priest. He is expected to be transferred to a new post in April.

Archdiocese spokesman Bernhard Keller was quoted as saying he was unaware of other cases of racism against foreign-born priests. Ndjimbi-Tshiende was born in the Congo and holds German citizenship.

(Rosie Scammell covers the Vatican for RNS)

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  • Leon

    Why is this so surprising really? No matter where he go he will feel this out of placement, he is out of place in that type of religion period, look at the history there and all over this world really.

  • Nope. We’ve got a couple of African-born priests in our area, they don’t get death threats or racial slurs from anyone, much less the GOVERNMENT. They have large, active Catholic parishes (USA). Catholicism is huge and growing in Africa, India, and Asia, and the Catholic Church — which has more than a billion members — teaches (of course not all people learn it) that all people are equal. Pentecostalism is also huge in those regions. The idea that an African priest is “out of place in that type of religion period” is simply false, check it out!