Germany: Nigerian priest forced to leave his parish because of death threats
The Diocese of Speyer in Germany had to recall a Nigerian priest from one of the parishes near Keiserslautern. Fr. Patrick Asomugha has been subjected to several racist attacks and even death threats. "This step was inevitable for the protection and health of the priest," said the Vicar General of the diocese Fr. Andreas Sturm.
Fr. Patrick Asomugha has worked in the Queidersbach parish since 2017. From mid-2019, unpleasant situations began to happen to him. The Diocese of Speyer reported two burglaries in the presbytery and serious losses of property. Last autumn the tires of the priest’s car were punctured. In March he was the subject of a death threat. The diocesan authorities said the police were investigating the matter.
“In these conditions, I cannot fulfil my function as a pastor,” said Fr. Asomugha. He added that attacks on him “almost completely prevent” him from leading a normal parish life in Queidersbach. He is now to receive new duties in the diocese.
In October last year he celebrated a solidarity service in his parish. Six hundred people where present, thus demonstrating their opposition to racism. The Diocesan Association of German Catholic Youth expressed concern at the priest’s departure from the Queidersbach Parish. It was emphasised that the threats against him were taken seriously. Information also shows that these acts of violence were linked to the priest’s ethnicity.
“The diocesan board is outraged by the fact that people must leave their places or leave their functions because of their skin colour, origin or other features (…) We condemn all forms of psychological and physical violence,” commented the Diocesan Association of German Catholic Youth.