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Religion and Violence: On the Abuse of Children in Faith Communities

Religion and violence: On the abuse of children in denominations Lecture by Germany's most famous criminologist Christian Pfeiffer on March 8 in Oberwesel - event fully booked!


Prof. Dr. Christian Pfeiffer on the book cover of the Kösel-Verlag (excerpt)

In view of the cover-up of the Catholic abuse scandal, the former director of the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony, Christian Pfeiffer, recently demanded the resignation of Cardinal Marx as chairman of the German Bishops' Conference. On March 8, Pfeiffer will explain during the presentation of his current book "Gegen die Gewalt" ("Against the Violence") at the gbs foundation headquarters in Oberwesel what prompted him to make this statement.

One thing is clear: If Pfeiffer had been able to scientifically investigate the Catholic abuse scandal in the way originally agreed upon with the German Bishops' Conference, he and his colleagues could have explained for each individual diocese how many abusers were still employed in the parishes and how many more victims had to suffer as a result. The researchers could also have shown how Pope Benedict as Archbishop of Munich and Freising once dealt with perpetrators and victims. This, however, was obviously not intended, as Pfeiffer emphasizes: "The resistance from Munich caused our project to fail. Marx and Bishop Ackermann, standing by his side, systematically prevented transparency and a culture of responsibility for over ten years".

The Catholic sexual abuse scandal has been a major topic in recent years, but Christian Pfeiffer has also investigated other forms of abuse in faith communities, including the experience of violence by children in evangelical communities and Islamist-oriented mosque communities. The conclusion the criminologist draws in his book is nevertheless decidedly positive: For children living in Germany have experienced "more and more love" and "fewer and fewer strokes" over the past decades, which has proven to be an astonishingly successful method of crime prevention. For example, the number of sexual murders has fallen by 85 percent (!) since the end of the 1970s, which is not least due to the much less authoritarian treatment of children since 1968. The old biblical formula "He who loves his child chastises him" can therefore be safely put on file...

About the speaker: Prof. Dr. Christian Pfeiffer held the chair for criminology, juvenile criminal law and penal system at the Law Faculty of the University of Hanover, was chairman of the German Association for Juvenile Courts and Juvenile Court Assistance, Minister of Justice of the State of Lower Saxony, and for many years director of the Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony (KFN). In 2019, his book "Gegen die Gewalt - Warum Liebe und Gerechtigkeit unsere besten Waffen sind" ("Against the Violence - Why Love and Justice Are Our Best Weapons") was published by Kösel Verlag.

The introduction to the lecture will be given by Dr. Jacqueline Neumann, director of the Institute for Secular Law (ifw), which attracted attention in 2018 with nationwide criminal charges against abusers in the church. The ifw is co-organizer of the lecture by Christian Pfeiffer at the gbs foundation headquarters.

Important: Since the public lecture by Prof. Dr. Christian Pfeiffer is also intended to conclude the internal annual meeting of the ifw held the previous day, the event will begin on Sunday, March 8, 2020, in "Haus WEITBLICK" (Auf Fasel 16, 55430 Oberwesel) one hour earlier than usual, i.e. at 1:30 p.m. (admission with champagne reception at 1:00 p.m.)! Admission is free.

Attention: The event is fully booked!

To relieve the parking situation we ask our guests to travel by train or to park their car free of charge at the train station (Mainzer Str. 6, opposite the red church, 55430 Oberwesel). A taxi shuttle service for a free transfer between the station and the foundation's headquarters will be available for all guests before and after the event (shuttle service from the station to "Haus Weitblick" between 1.30 pm and 2.30 pm, and after the event back from the foundation's headquarters to Oberwesel main station). As a reminder: Please note the earlier starting time of this event!