Weird performance art instrumentalises abuse scandal for Synod to sieze power

Under the title "responsible: I" an "artistic-existential performance" will take place in the Cathedral of Saint Bartholomew . This is intended to set an effective sign of assuming responsibility for a change in attitude and action in the Catholic Church. In a “dance collage of suffering, guilt and looking the other way”, the performance addresses the acts of abuse and their cover-up, which are the reason for the synodal path. Systemic entanglements are to be pointed out with a large-scale installation throughout the cathedral. Synodalists and those affected have their say and ask themselves about a possible way out of the entanglement.

It cannot be said that Cathcon has attempted to minimise the abuse but this response is, yet again, all about the self-obsession of the modernists and their attempt to use the abuse scandal to sieze power from the hierarchy, who whatever their defects, rightly possess it.

The crisis is nothing if not episcopal and Synodality is entirely to the wrong response to attempt to further diminish the authority of Bishops which they have so copiously lost during the abuse scandal.  Restore and transform the episcopacy, do not destroy it. 

Prostrating oneself before the Blessed Sacrament would work infinitely more wonders than some self-regarding performance which they call art. Indeed, post-conciliar bodily self-obsession is what got the Church into this horrific situation in the first place. The sense of sin is gone.  Performance is the new penance.

The core of the problem is that sin is seen as corporate.  The modernists cannot see that Reform of the Church takes place sinner by sinner.  It is a long job.  They are setting up the conditions for the next scandal when the laity will be tried, tested and found wanting.

Below an article describing the performance

"Responsible: I". A performance about entanglement and taking responsibility
Esther Göbel on a performance during the last synodal assembly on March 9th, 2023.

The Synodal Path has produced many good papers and resolutions. Its implementation aims to eliminate the systemic causes that promote sexualised violence and its cover-up. But along the way I realized that it takes more than good papers. That the Synodal Path must be an effective sign of a credible and noticeable change in attitude and action in the Catholic Church.

Because as I said when presenting our proposal to the Presidium at the 3rd Synodal Assembly: “I am not primarily committed to women becoming priests (they should!) or to allowing priests to marry (they should!). I am participating in the Synodal Path in order to do something specifically against the systemic abuse structures. My concern is that our church will once again become a community that protects the weak, cares for souls and is guided by the standards of the gospel.”

Performance as a sign of reversal

We delegates of the professional association of pastoral consultants have therefore made a strong commitment to ensuring that, in addition to the text work in the synodal forums, there must also be creative work on such a sign of conversion. In the beginning there was the idea of a confession of guilt by the Synodal Assembly for the acts of abuse, in order to admit and speak up that not only individual perpetrators were guilty towards their victims, but also the church as a whole. In great co-operation with the artist Elisabeth Lutz and her choreography team, the idea has now become the artistic-existential performance "responsible: I", which will take place on Thursday evening (9.3.2023) during the 5th Synodal Assembly in the Frankfurt Cathedral and also in the Live stream is broadcast.

(Cathcon: the artistic-existential performance is in no way expiatory for the grotesque sins perpetrated.) 

The texts and recommendations for action presented by the synodal path and the symbolic performance belong together and refer to each other and to the occasion and task of the synodal path: to change the systemic causes, as described in the study "Sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests, deacons and male religious in the area of the German Bishops' Conference" ("MHG study") were named.

Through the debate in the "Responsibility Working Group" set up by the Synodal Assembly, it quickly became clear that guilt cannot and must not be generalized. Because I am - like hopefully most synod members - not a perpetrator and I do not bear any personal guilt that I would have to confess. But I see and feel a personal responsibility for the issue of abuse in our church. So it can only be about taking responsibility for the future, but not about absolution for the past. Those who had and still have responsibility and leadership for what happened must take responsibility. But if we want to be a synodal church, it's not just about co-determination, but also about accepting and sharing responsibility for a converting church that is realigned to the standards of the gospel. It is about the acknowledgment that we all participate in the systemic entanglement from which we must free ourselves and turn around. And none of us can say: I have nothing to do with it.

I see and feel a personal responsibility for the issue of abuse in our church

Ultimately, the synodal assembly is also a reflection of the social system of the church: it includes victims, perhaps also perpetrators, as well as those who have not lived up to their personal responsibilities. But also those who have remained silent and looked the other way - and perhaps still do so today, although they know of deeds, cover-ups and the thwarting of punishment. And those who still can't imagine all of this or have too often naively believed in the hierarchy. They all have one thing in common: in their very different ways, they are part of the complex events surrounding sexualised violence, abuse of power and cover-up.

The core motif of the performance will therefore be this systemic entanglement of all believers in the church with the issue of abuse. The first part will be about exposing yourself to what happened. In the second part, space is given for personal discussion and a reflection on one's own history and responsibility. And in the third part, the gaze should consciously be directed ahead and one's own responsibility should be assumed symbolically - without falling into the trap of an aesthetic dissolution or wanting to close the topic. The focus of the performance is primarily on people who have been injured by sexualized violence and its cover-up. The fact that there are other forms of abuse and major injuries is not denied, and the associated guilt and responsibility are addressed in some of the texts of the synodal path that have been submitted.

The processing must go to the heart of the matter

This performance is a sign of the Synodal Assembly. It is our sign, not a generally representative one for the church in Germany. Nevertheless, it can and should also serve as an example for other contexts. It is clear that not everyone will find all elements, text or symbols equally appropriate. It is important to the Responsibility Working Group to stimulate discussion of the personal responsibility of all believers and to encourage discussion about how we can all credibly stand by the side of those affected in word and deed.

The uncovering of the acts of abuse shook us to the core and the investigation must therefore go to the substance. In “responsible: I” those affected and members of the synod have their say. Sexualised violence and how to deal with it is presented in pictures, texts and music. Some elements can be stressful and/or retraumatizing. Therefore, of course, a wide range of support and discussions for the participants on site as well as help numbers for users of the live stream will be provided.

There will be no more paths without those affected

We are an abusive church and we will not get through this crisis in any way. We can only be church in community with the many victims of violence and abuse. They must be at the center of all church action and for that we must listen to them and ask them how we can go forward together. This is exactly what we started with the joint work of synodal members and those affected in the responsibility working group, and I hope there will be no more paths without them.