Material for legends

Burka wearer © dpa

Many Western countries warn of disenfranchisement of women and call for ban on veiling. But what is the Islamic dress code all about – and what is the legal situation??

"A veiled woman is like a pearl in her shell", says an Islamic proverb. In many Western countries, this attitude is seen as an obstacle to integration and warns of the disenfranchisement of women. Recent terrorist attacks and fears of increasingly aggressive Islamic fundamentalism have done their bit to fuel the debate.

Christina Cherry
Pro and contra celibacy

Celibacy Yes or No: Even the German Bishops' Conference disagrees on the question. While Passau Bishop Oster emphasized on Saturday that he considers married priests possible, protest is stirring from Aachen from Bishop Dieser.

Passau Bishop Stefan Oster does not rule out changing celibacy rules for Catholic priests. While it is the way of life of Jesus and therefore a great spiritual treasure, for which it is worth fighting, said Oster in an interview with the "Passauer Neue Presse" (Saturday). He also did not want to demotivate the priests who were struggling with the way of life. But "if the vast majority of priests were to say: This is no longer livable in this time and society, then it becomes difficult".

Christina Cherry

This week, the topic of abuse has once again dominated the headlines: Sexual assaults occurred at a youth retreat on the island of Ameland. Basically, however, children are nowhere abused as frequently as in the family environment. With serious consequences.

Sabrina* (13) could stand it no longer. "Uwe* often comes to bed with me and does disgusting things," she told her mother in tears. Three and a half years ago, the mother's boyfriend had moved in. He denied the sexual abuse. Sabrina's mother turned to the Bremen counseling center "Schattenriss" against sexual abuse of girls and later reported the ex-partner to the police.Nowhere are children abused as often as in the immediate family environment. According to statistics from the Federal Criminal Police Office, each year about 15.000 cases known. But experts estimate up to 300.000 cases of abuse in the close environment of the victims from. According to the State Institute for Early Education in Munich, sexual violence is suffered by minors from infancy onwards in all social classes by perpetrators of all ages."We first tried to stabilize Sabrina's mother in her situation," explains Ingrid Wedlich, a psychologist and counselor at Schattenriss, "because she has to be able to give her daughter support in everyday life." Sabrina was taken care of by another employee. Experience has shown that it is enormously important for the girls affected to have a contact person all to themselves at first.The consequences of abuse can be serious for the physical and especially for the emotional development of the child. The acts of violence often lead to nightmares, result in sleeping and concentration difficulties or anxiety states. According to findings of the German Society for Psychiatry, Psychotherapy and Neurology, around 60 percent of young people with borderline disorder, a severe personality disorder, report having been abused as a child.

Christina Cherry
The synodal journey picks up speed

The Synodal Way picks up speed © Harald Oppitz (KNA)

The Synodal Way, initiated by the German bishops and the Central Committee of German Catholics, starts its substantive work with a synodal assembly in Frankfurt/Main. Some questions and answers.

Synodal Way – what does it actually mean?

The "Synodal Way" is not meant to be a synod in the classical sense of the word. The conceptual proximity to the synod expresses, however, that the reform dialogue, initially limited to two years, is intended to be more than a non-binding discussion. The bishops and lay people in Germany have initiated it, the rules are laid down in a statute. Like a synod, it is the local bishop who decides whether to implement the decisions made at the Synodal Way.

Christina Cherry

He is one of the icons of European cultural history: His castles, above all Neuschwanstein, attract millions of tourists to Bavaria every year. The Bavarian fairy tale king Ludwig II. is the focus of books, films and stage plays. And on the occasion of the anniversary of his death also once again in that of an exhibition.

From Saturday (14.05.2011) on until 16. October, the Bavarian state exhibition entitled "Gotterdammerung" is dedicated to him in the New Herrenchiemsee Palace. Also 125 years on 13. July 1886 after his mysterious death in Lake Starnberg, people are not only preoccupied with Ludwig's penchant for castle building. Many rumors and stories surround his person: Was the king with the pronounced passion for Richard Wagner and Edgar Allan Poe really mentally ill or was his incapacitation a scheming plot of the Wittelsbach family?

Christina Cherry

The new chairman of the German Bishops' Conference Georg Batzing © Andreas Arnold

The new president of the German Bishops' Conference, Limburg's Bishop Georg Batzing, does not rule out a special permit for the diaconate for women. In addition, he defends the regulations on payments of compensation for pain and suffering for victims of abuse.

The president of the German Bishops' Conference, Limburg's Bishop Georg Batzing, is open to the diaconate of women. A so-called indult could be a decision at the end of the reform dialogue Synodal Way within the Catholic Church, said Batzing on Sunday in WDR5. A possible corresponding decision could then be "transported" to Rome. For such a step it needs a "powerful appearance" – also by the fact that bishops and laymen formulated their request together.

Christina Cherry

Is it discrimination when differences are not regulated in the sense of equality?? The president of the Central Committee of German Catholics, Alois Gluck, addresses this fundamental question in his guest article for our site after.

The decision of the Federal Constitutional Court on equal tax treatment of same-sex partnerships with marriage has led to a renewed fundamental debate on the status of marriage and family in the state and society, and on the relationship between marriage and registered civil partnerships. At the heart of the matter is the question of how the state intends to fulfill the mandate of Article 6, Sentence 1 of the Basic Law "Marriage and family are under the special protection of the state order", especially against the background of calls for absolute equality of same-sex partnerships with marriage, in addition to income tax law now also in adoption law.

Christina Cherry
New accusations

Cardinal George Pell © Asanka Brendon Ratnayake

He is fighting for his last legal chance. Now Australia's Supreme Court will rule on Cardinal George Pell and his jail sentence on sexual abuse charges. The date is set for next Tuesday.

Then it will be decided whether the conviction will stand or whether the 78-year-old will be released for lack of evidence, the court announced (Thursday) via Twitter.

Accusation of sexual abuse

The former head of finance of the Vatican is accused of having sexually abused two choirboys in the sacristy of the cathedral when he was archbishop of Melbourne at the end of 1996. Pell's guilty verdict by a jury in December 2018 and sentence of six years in prison in March 2019 was based solely on the in camera testimony of one of the alleged victims.

Christina Cherry

"I have arrived at home". Even if his schedule these days leaves little time for emotion: Sometimes it does burst out of John Broadhurst, the 68-year-old former Anglican bishop of Fulham. Also and especially in view of his upcoming ordination as a Catholic priest, probably the most drastic step in the relationship between the Anglican and Catholic churches since 1994.

At that time, the introduction of women's ordination triggered an ecumenical ice age. Broadhurst is consecrated together with his two comrades-in-arms, former bishops Keith Newton and Andrew Burnham. "Is this what we always wanted?" he asks himself. "Yes, that's it!" In this context, the consecration is not only a symbolic act of acceptance into the Catholic Church. Rather, this Saturday marks the beginning of a new ecumenical era, with the almost simultaneous announcement from Rome of the establishment of the first "personal ordinariate," the new legal form that allows Anglicans willing to convert to Catholicism while preserving their own traditions. Ecumenism, critics say, will henceforth consist of a "return ecumenism". Broadhurst does not challenge this – on the contrary. He considers the ecumenically proven talk of a "unity in diversity" as nothing but "rubbish" (nonsense).

Christina Cherry
Migration as an opportunity

A refugee child from Syria © dpa

The majority of the population in Germany sees migration as an opportunity. This is the result of a study by the Friedrich Ebert Foundation. According to the survey, a total of 53 percent would have a positive attitude toward immigration.

Only a minority of 15 percent categorically reject migration. For the survey, the SPD-affiliated foundation interviewed 3.000 women and men eligible to vote in Germany. Respondents were reported to be particularly open about the immigration of skilled workers: around two-thirds agreed with the statement that Germany needs foreign workers to counter the shortage of skilled labor.

Christina Cherry