Friday, May 24, 2013

German cardinal: we are a dying people

How's this for a coincidence. A few days ago I wrote about the decision of a former Archbishop of Cologne to build the Neviges cathedral in a modernist style.

Now it's the current Archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Meisner, who is in the news. He has criticised the German Government's family and immigration policies in a courageous way.

Read on, because you don't often hear figures in positions of authority speaking out like this. It began when a journalist challenged the Cardinal on his opposition to abortion. He replied:
We are a dying people, but have a perfect legislation for abortion. Is that not the suicide of a society? People want most of all to shut women out of families so that production continues. But with money alone you can't get children.

He was then asked if he was against formal child care:
No, but it would be better for society to create a climate in which women bring more children into the world. That is to say: to bring to awareness the high worth of the family with a mother and father for the children.

He went on to talk about his experiences in communist East Germany:
I have already been part of the whole one-sided tragedy in East Germany. The women there, who stayed home for the family, were told they were demented. Because labour forces were needed childcare was brought in. A socialist educator said of this: "The creche (the "child crib") is in the Bible a temporary thing and we have made of it a permanent institution."

The interviewer then objected "But women want to self-actualise in a career." The Cardinal replied:
Not all. Where are women really publicly encouraged to stay at home and to bring three or four children into the world? One should intervene here and not - as Mrs Merkel does currently - only present immigration as the solution to our demographic problem. We cannot take the young people away from Portugal and Spain and thus rob their countries of their future just out of selfishness. We should train these unemployed people and offer them perspectives, but then allow them to return home where they are needed.

What's impressive here is that the Cardinal has recognised a need for the German people to survive into the future by being encouraged to have children of their own rather than relying on taking the youth of other nations. He wants the family as an institution to be accorded value and not just the market.

It turns out that the Cardinal has also (unsuccessfully) taken a stand on cathedral design. Back in 2007 the artist Gerhard Richter completed a new stained glass window for the historic Cologne Cathedral. Richter based his design on his trademark "random pixel" paintings (randomly computer-arranged coloured pixels).

I haven't seen the window personally, but I would have thought that art in a cathedral should attempt to be inspired rather than randomly generated:

Gerhard Richter's stained glass window in the Cologne Cathedral

Maybe it looks better when you're there, but from the photo I'd have to say that Cardinal Meisner was correct in thinking that this doesn't work as religious art (the colours fit, but it comes across as chaotic).


  1. Wow. That's great. I have no criticisms of him to offer at all. Well done that man!

    Any criticism would be for the enemies of free speech, due to whose efforts we normally hear people speak out only when they are retiring and beyond harm.

    I agree with his objection to the window. The context for the artist was Gothic church art, and scrambling the light is inappropriate. That's like destroying an image by de-resolving it. It is part of the de-Christianization process. (Which is a bad thing.)

    The article praises it: "The result is a mesmerizing, kaleidoscopic blend of technology and tradition." But that's empty talk. What's "mesmerizing" is in the eye of the beholder. In any case, being "mesmerized" by nothing in particular is not a Christian mind-set, let alone one appropriate for a church.

  2. Wow, that window is vile. "a mesmerizing, kaleidoscopic blend of technology and tradition"? Catholics don't worship technology, so how is it relevant? How will staring at some random dots raise anyone's mind to higher things? Revolting! Why not just name the cathedral St. Ti5TkhiGkt's while they're at it?

    I wonder who made the decision about the window if it wasn't the Archbishop! Good to hear some common sense and fortitude from an institution that's been all too willing to compromise since Vatican 2.

  3. What's sad is that it's not even kaledoscopic in a beautiful, symmetrically ordered sense.

    In computing terms the creation of an array of random pixels is often referred to as 'noise' generation.


  4. It is Satan's mockery of a stained glass window. "Nothing playing on the God channel, hahahaha!"

  5. I visited Cologne and some other cities in Germany this January. It seems that after the war pretty much every church had to be rebuilt or at least get new windows. I don't object to artists trying new things and developing a field, but it should be based on what came before.

    I did like the colours in the Cathedral, but otherwise what is it trying to say? It seems that so much modern church art seems to be an expression of non-belief, not an expression of belief.

  6. Unfortunately, developments in Germany go in the opposite direction at a frightening pace. There is a rather fascinating
    article by Andrew E. Harrod in American Thinker of 5/29/2013, in which he discusses some of the newest developments in 'diverse families' in that country. He also quotes copiously from a political statement by the youth wing of the German Green Party, the 'Queer Resolution 2013'. By all means, if you can read German, go and read that resolution. It's a program for the total and utter transformation of family life , and so, implicitly, of society, in Germany. It contains all the radical themes that where developed over the last few decades in the Women Studies, Queer Studies and Gender Studies departments of Western universities. But this is not a mere academic paper, it's a political document, a list of demands for the total transformation of the most basis structures of society. The Greens and their allies dominate intellectual life in Germany, so it would not be surprising if many items on this list would be transposed into law in the years ahead, taking into account also that the Green party could be in power (again) just months from now.