Wednesday, June 17, 2015

Berlin's New Archbishop Koch Warns of Fiasco for Cathedral "Renovation"

Edit: reading between the lines, you can tell that he means to destroy more of the Catholic heritage of a predominantly Protestant city.

The new Archbishop Heiner Koch seeks an amicable solution in the controversial renovation of Berlin's St. Hedwig's Cathedral,  because "to renew a building so that it destroys the community, does not make sense."

Berlin ( In the controversial renovation of Berlin's St. Hedwig's Cathedral, the new Archbishop Heiner Koch seeks (Photo) an amicable solution. "To renew a building so that it destroys the community, does not make sense," he said on Wednesday in his first press conference in Berlin. "Then the renovation is a fiasco," said Koch, who was   appointed by Pope Francis to succeed Cardinal Rainer Woelki.

For the renovation and remodeling of the cathedral there is a design that took first place in an architectural competition a year ago. At issue is especially the plan to close the large bottom opening applied 50 years ago in the center of the cathedral with staircase to the lower church. The new Archbishop has to decide on the implementation. 

Koch has  already said he has received many "menacing, sharp" emails on the renovation design. "If you agree to this approach, you will not have many friends," he quoted from it. Koch takes office on 19 September. The designated Archbishop announced that he would "look again exactly" at the plans. At the same time, he stressed,   there was a stress on "urgent action".  Moreover, the competition had been completed, and there were already ​"factual decisions" made.  Moreover, there are different liturgical requirements for the Cathedral today   than 30 years ago.

Even with the also controversial structural reform of the Archdiocese, Koch signaled his willingness to talk. The criticism is particularly the plan, which is to currently combine  105 parishes in Berlin, Brandenburg and Pomerania to around 30 large parishes by 2020. Koch also has received his own words already from letters that clearly made ​​a "tremendous fear of anonymity and homelessness".  

The future archbishop promised "to familiarize himself with the local communities on the way." He defended the foundations initiated by his predecessor for reform: "I can not see that it is factually incorrect."  The question of the best structures should, however, "not be answered uniformly," he conceded at the same time. "Since the archdiocese is too different." But he also warned that he was to reform the structures. They are only the means to an end. The principal issues were "how the Church can fulfill its responsibilities in a changing society." [Get ready for more modernism in Berlin.] (C) 2015 Catholic News Agency KNA GmbH. All rights reserved. Photo Bishop Koch (c) Diocese of Dresden / M. Kasiske
Trans: Tancred
Photo: Wiki

From Wiki:

After the Kristallnacht pogroms that took place over the night of 9–10 November 1938, Bernhard Lichtenberg, a canon of the cathedral chapter of St Hedwig since 1931, prayed publicly for Jews in the evening prayer following. Lichtenberg was later jailed by the Nazis and died on the way to the concentration camp at Dachau. In 1965 Lichtenberg's remains were transferred to the crypt at St. Hedwig's.



  1. Evidently, his only concern is satisfying his only friend, The Spirit of Otto Von Bismarck: The Kulturkampf is culminated, and won.

  2. "To renew a building so that it destroys the community, does not make sense..."

    Would this have been said by a Catholic?

    Please, you know that Bismarck wanted to rid the State of the Roman Catholic Church and Her Culture. This wreckovation, paid for with state funds, if I understand correctly, achieves Bismarck's goal.

    If you don't know this, Dieter, time for you to take some history lessons.

  3. Having been to Mass in the Berlin cathedral it's hard to believe anyone could support the current arrangement where everyone is around a giant hole in the middle of the floor as disconnected from the altar as it's possible to be. One would have thought that restoring the floor at least would be supported by everyone.

  4. Some background is really necessary on this story. The Berlin Cathedral was badly damaged by bombing in WW2, and the renovation, completed in 1963, was more in the nature of a wreckovation - it was pretty much what you would expect from a renovation finished in the 1960's, alas. And the new renovation plan might actually make it even worse in some respects. New Liturgical Movement did a story on this last fall, and you can see images of what it looked like originally, what it looks like now, and what the renovation would do:

    Holding up this renovation would not be such a bad thing. The whole project needs to be reconsidered. What really needs to happen is a restoration closer to its prewar look.

  5. Thank you Athelstane, I withdraw my comments.