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Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Millstone placed around Cardinal's neck

The late Archbishop of Vienna, Hans Hermann Groër (1919-2003) is commemorated by a relief on the facade of the parish of Hohenzell, District Ried (Upper Austria), an incomplete Bible quote is written in stone "Who however one of these little ones ...". On a board isn oted that the cardinal prayed there in 1989 for the unborn.

Sepp Rothwangl, chairman of the Platform of those affected by Ecclesiastical Violence outraged by the "hypocritical panel": it is a denial that the cardinal had sexually abused several pupils (the "Groër affair" which led in 1995 to a church referendum and a wave of departures from the Catholic Church).

As village priest Josef Bauer refuses to put an end to Groër worship in Hohenzell, Rothwangl has transformed the monument by himself on Monday: With an iron chain he fastened below the relief a massive millstone, from which extends the head of the Cardinal. "It is a reminder of the criminality of Groër which is denied by his followers as before," said the activist.

The passage from the Gospel of Matthew (18: 6-16) had been completed figuratively by the millstone. 

It says in Luke 17:2: 
It were better for him, that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he cast into the sea, than that he should scandalize one of these little ones. 
 Utilius est illi si lapis molaris imponatur circa collum ejus, et projiciatur in mare quam ut scandalizet unum de pusillis istis. 

 Father Bauer, who is considered a hardliner within the Church and according to media reports should not be averse to exorcisms, did not notice the changes to the monument. He had to see it first, the cleric said on Friday in an interview with COURIER. "There are many who come to Hohenzell and gratefully recall Cardinal Groër. Let's leave it at that."

And the sexual abuse of pupils for which the prince of the church is supposed to be responsible? Bauer: "Cardinal Groër was never convicted. For him, the presumption of innocence should apply."

For abuse victims statements like this are a slap in the face: Sepp Rothwangl says that nothing has changed the "irresponsibility of the Church" since the affair Groër. "This is shown by cases such as that of the Göttweig priest who wanted to tempt on twitter boys into prostitution and has only been brought to light by media pressure."

Similarly, the activists wish to demonstrate the following demands of the platform with the re-purposed memorial: Suspension of the limitation period for sexual abuse, an independent procedure for examining the crimes and adequate compensation by a tribunal.

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