It sounds medieval, but it’s happening today: In its own judicial system, the Church is at once prosecutor, investigator and judge.
“Did you use contraception during coitus? How often did you engage in marital relations? Did you already suspect prior to getting married that you would cheat on your wife?” Every year in Germany, hundreds of Catholics are forced to endure these kinds of unpleasant questions about their private lives as husbands and wives – in the courts of the Catholic Church.
Hundreds of thousands of teachers, doctors and kindergarten directors employed by the Church are held to the following: If they married as Catholics and are now entering a new relationship, they risk losing their jobs. The only way out offered by the Church: a “marriage annulment proceeding.” Here, the former partners must demonstrate credibly that their first marriage never satisfied the requirements of the Catholic Church. The hearings sometimes last all day long. Priests lead the examinations. Christian psychologists furnish expert opinions. Those in whose favor the court rules are dismissed in the end as having never been married.
There are 22 ecclesiastical courts in Germany. Almost nothing about them is publically known. Everyone involved is sworn to secrecy – also as concerns the Church’s second delicate task: punishing sexual abuse in the Church, beyond the reach of all civil courts. Eva Müller had access to confidential records and spoke with the usually diffident court staff as well as with couples whose lives depend on the Church’s judgment. Her book offers, for the first time, a glimpse into the world of ecclesiastical justice.
release: 13. October 2016
256 pages, Flexcover
- 14,99 €
- 0,00 sFr
- 15,50 €
About the Author
Eva Müller, born in 1979, worked as a freelance journalist for the program “Die Story” in ARD/WDR’s documentary department as well as for ARD’s political television news magazine “Monitor.” For her films, she has won the German Television Award, Axel Springer Award, CNN’s Journalist of the Year Award and the Hanns Joachim Friedrichs Prize, among others.
Further titles by the author:
Gott hat hohe Nebenkosten (God has High Service Charges)