“We recognize small signs”

After the publication of the Cologne report, women's associations, among others, called for a vigil in front of Cologne Cathedral to show their solidarity with those affected. But why were the participants dressed in black?

Interviewer: You were dressed completely in black at the vigil. What do you want to express with it?

Elisabeth Bungartz (Chairwoman of the Catholic Women's Association of Germany, kfd, in the Archdiocese of Cologne): We would like to express our consternation and also a certain form of mourning, because we are of the opinion that not enough attention is paid to those affected. So their right is also denied. And that's what we want to express and support today.

Interviewer: Thursday was a very important day this week in terms of education on the subject of sexualized violence in the Archdiocese of Cologne. Are you satisfied with the results?

Bungartz: I think that's a first impact. The legal opinion is now available and I have to say that I am also glad that it has now been put on the table after all this "bumbling around", which has kept us busy recently or for two years already. But of course nothing has been achieved yet, nothing has been said. For me it is now a matter of taking moral, ethical responsibility. I see that now as important and to help those affected to get justice and also to pay appropriate compensation to these people. I see that as very important, it doesn't end with a legal opinion.

Interviewer: Now there have been some suspensions and resignations. Are these already clear, good signs for you??

Bungartz: I would rather say small signs. I believe that a great deal more needs to happen in this area. Personally, I am not so much concerned with these people, with the resignations. Certainly they have brought guilt upon themselves. But I believe that there is much more to it than that.

Interviewer: What do you personally wish for the next time with regard to the reappraisal??

Bungartz: I wish that the rights of those affected would be given even more attention, be strengthened more, and that a reform of our church would be initiated in general as a result of this. In my opinion, structural changes are needed. Clericalism must be dismantled, this whole hierarchical power system. For me, this is to be questioned and since changes are now to be brought about in the course of this.

The interview was conducted by Verena Troster.

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