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The Core Problem of the Catholic Church

Protest denounces cover-up of abuse scandal

Eichelbischof Köln 2021 (Foto: F. Chefai)


Eichelbischof Cologne 2021 (Photo: F. Chefai)

On the occasion of the Spring Plenary Assembly of the German Bishops' Conference, which is meeting digitally this week, a protest rally is being held concurrently on Cologne's Domplatte. With the demonstration "The core problem of the Catholic Church", initiated by the gbs and numerous victim organizations, the event organizers point out the insufficient processing of the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church.

The heart of the three-day demonstration is the provocative sculpture "Der Eichelbischof", which was transported through the streets of Düsseldorf a week ago during the German carnival. It illustrates the "core problem of the Catholic Church," depicted in the form of a bishop with a crozier and incense burner, who wears the glans of a penis as a miter. The sculpture by artist Jacques Tilly (gbs advisory board) symbolizes the negative effects of church sexual morality in general and male dominance in the Catholic Church in particular. Tilly describes the message of his satirical work this way: "It shows that the Catholic Church has a huge problem with sexuality: celibacy and the sexual deformity associated with it, that the Catholic Church still hasn't accepted homosexuals, that women can't be ordained, and that abuse cases are still being covered up - everything is included in this image."

The sculpture is complemented by the art installation "Die lange Bank des Missbrauchsskandals", which was already on display in each city during the last two bishops' conferences. It is the visual representation of an often repeated, but so far unfulfilled promise of the abuse commissioner of the German Bishops' Conference, Stefan Ackermann, which reads: "Wir verschieben nichts auf die lange Bank" ("We don't put anything on the back burner").

The Giordano Bruno Foundation has called for the protest rally, supported by a broad alliance of victim organizations: Eckiger Tisch e.V., MoJoRed e.V. - Missbrauchsopfer-Josephinum-Redemptoristen, Betroffeneninitiative-Hildesheim, Initiative Ehemaliger Johanneum Homburg, Betroffeneninitiative kirchlicher Missbrauch Süddeutschland e.V., Selbsthilfe Missbrauch Münster, Selbsthilfe Missbrauch Rhede, Initiative für einen Gedenkort am Johanneum and Missbrauchsopfer & Betroffene im Bistum Trier MissBiT e.V.

Picture gallery of the action (click to enlarge!)

The alliance's demands

At the same time, the victim organization Eckiger Tisch e.V., together with nine other associations, has started an online petition on the platform "we ACT!", which (as of Monday evening) has already been signed 2,282 times. In it, the initiators demand the installation of a truth and justice commission by the parliament, which accompanies the processing of the decades-long systematic institutional failure in the churches, financial support for the strengthening, networking and counseling of victims, the creation of an independent contact point in collaboration with those affected, the establishment of a "victims' recovery organization", which is funded by the churches, but operates independently and involves victims, as well as the appropriate compensation of victims of abuse crimes and their cover-up. "The church can't do it alone. This has been sufficiently proven in recent years. Processing is not an 'inner-church affair', but a challenge for society as a whole," the petition says.

The gathering with the "Eichelbischof" and the "Lange Bank" will take place daily from February 23-25 from 10:00 a.m. to 8:00 p.m. each day on Cologne's Domplatte. It is advised to make prior arrangements by telephone in case of last-minute changes. On Wednesday, February 24, a press event will be held at 1 p.m. in front of Cologne Cathedral with representatives of various victim associations, including Matthias Katsch from Eckiger Tisch. The current requirements for the containment of the Corona pandemic will, of course, be adhered to.

Contact persons:
David Farago (assembly manager, Giordano Bruno Stiftung,, 
mobile: 0175 / 410 25 35)
Matthias Katsch (managing director Eckiger Tisch e.V., mobile: 0178 / 167 48 38)
Jens Windel (Betroffeneninitiative-Hildesheim, mobile: 0176 / 476 112 85)

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