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German priest criticised for headscarf protest

Bishop Gebhard Furst of Rottenburg-Stuttgart criticised the manner of the protest (CNS)

A German pastor priest has ignited controversy by donning a headscarf during his Pentecost Sunday sermon.

Fr Wolfgang Sedlmeier, pastor of the Parish of St Maria in Aalen, shocked his congregation by tying a scarf around his head during a Pentecost sermon and wearing it on the altar during the duration of the Mass.

Fr Sedlmeier said he wished to protest discrimination against Muslims and Jews, according to SWR radio. The gesture has sparked a storm of outrage and ridicule on social media, including Twitter and Facebook, earning Fr Sedlmeier the internet nickname of the “Headscarf Priest”.

Bishop Gebhard Furst of Rottenburg-Stuttgart has criticised the manner of Fr Sedlmeier’s protest.

“The form … is certainly borderline and not well-chosen,” Bishop Furst told the media. “Therefore, I will start a clarifying conversation with him in the next coming days.”

The diocese said that no disciplinary actions are planned. However, a diocesan spokesman expressed unhappiness with Fr Sedlmeier’s behaviour in Mass and the ensuing social media rampage.

“To put on a headscarf during a Mass is certainly very unusual for the Catholic Church,” a diocesan spokesman told local media.