Posts tagged ‘bavaria’

June 16, 2010

The Bishop strikes back

THOSE NEWSPAPER READERS AMONG us who hoped thought we had seen the back of Augsburg bishop and chief army chaplain Walter Mixa last month were bemused to hear that the outspoken Bavarian is not only still hanging around the arena, he’s training for a comeback. 

The 69 year-old Mixa had long enjoyed a reputation as the Pope’s German bulldog, the Vatican’s “bad cop” in its efforts to maintain even a hint of its former influence over an increasingly secular and disaffected society. Whether it was a question of condemning pedophilia as a product of “the so-called sexual revolution” or depicting abortion as “worse than the Holocaust,” media manipulator Mixa was always on hand to deliver the necessary sound byte. But his own sullied past caught up with him earlier this year when former residents at a Church-run youth home in Schrobenhausen began accusing Mixa – a mere parish priest at the time – of submitting his young charges to brutal and byzantine punishments, literally “beating the Satan” out of an entire generation of helpless Bavarian orphans and runaways in the 1970s and 80s…

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May 14, 2010

The case against Walter Mixa: Nothing but “hot air”?

Former Augsburg Bishop Walter Mixa

FORMER AUGSBURG BISHOP WALTER Mixa, who recently resigned from the Catholic Church after being confronted with child abuse, embezzlement, and pedophile accusations, can finally rest easy in his Swiss clinic: at least the sex charges appear to be overblown, if not outright false. According to the Nürnberger Nachrichten, Mixa’s lawyer has stated that the preliminary investigation against his client had yielded nothing but “hot air.” Sources close to the newspaper said the investigation was likely to be dropped in the coming days. A statement is expected tomorrow. (I have been covering the Mixa story regularly on my blog.)

The “case” against Mixa stems from a lone denunciation by two employees in the education department of the diocese of Eichstätt, where Mixa had served as bishop from 1996 to 2005, directly to the diocese in Augsburg, which sent it on to the Bavarian state prosecutor’s office in Munich, bypassing the normal channels. A young man called Marco Schneider, who was supposedly the target of Mixa’s alleged abuse, announced over the weekend that the charges were entirely untrue…

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May 8, 2010

Catholic Bishop Walter Mixa inherits the wind

GERMAN BISHOP WALTER MIXA probably hoped his worries were at an end when he finally submitted his resignation to the Pope on April 21 of this year. In fact, they’re only just beginning. The reactionary and egregiously controversial bishop of Augsburg, who quit under fire for alleged beatings and financial malfeasance at a juvenile center in the Bavarian town of Schrobenhausen, had already generated lurid headlines earlier this year when he blamed the Catholic Church’s spiraling pedophile scandal on “the so-called sexual revolution.” But it seems that this alleged revolution of personal morality also took a toll on Mixa himself, because as of today the public prosecutor in the Bavarian town of Ingolstadt is formally accusing Mixa of sexually exploiting an underage altar boy. And this time the paper trail leads all the way back to Pope Benedict XVI…

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April 30, 2010

Notorious Bavarian school assassin gets nine years in prison

Would-be school assassin Georg R. at his sentencing in Ansbach today

IT WAS GOING TO be the crime of the century. 18-year-old Georg R. had studied previous school massacres, particularly Columbine and Germany’s Erfurt bloodbath of 2002, in detail. All he wondered was: “Why not wipe out the entire school?” His plan: burn his high school to the ground, “roast children,” and kill as many teachers – “these maggots,” as he called them – in the process. He himself would die in a glorious shower of police bullets and become a media legend, inspiring similar assaults in the future. If Georg ultimately failed in this project, it was not due to poor planning on his part but to the efficiency of the German police.

Georg planned his deed down to the smallest detail…

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April 19, 2010

“My heart is pure”: Bishop Mixa confronts an abusive past

Bishop Walter Mixa

ALEXIS DE TOCQUEVILLE ONCE wrote that the most dangerous moment for a bad government is when it begins to reform. While it’s unclear whether the Catholic Church’s sluggish response to the current child molestation scandal represents a reform process of any kind, there is no doubt that this badly-supervised organization is indeed entering a dangerous moment in its history. Take the case of German bishop Walter Mixa, who is himself facing child abuse charges of a different kind that may open the Church up to a tsunami of public embarrassment and costly lawsuits.

Walter Mixa, the Bishop of the Bavarian town of Augsburg and Germany’s high profile “military bishop” responsible for the pastoral care of the German armed forces, is the sort of clergyman the German press loves…

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September 21, 2009

“Apocalypse Today”: Update on the German school attack in Ansbach

Would-be school assassin Georg R.

Would-be school assassin Georg R.

LAST THURSDAY I PUBLISHED an article in this space on a particularly vicious school attack that had just occurred in the picturesque Bavarian town of Ansbach. Eighteen year-old Georg R. entered his high school at 8:30 that morning  carrying an axe, Molotov cocktails, and knives, and began a systematic attack on his fellow students before being stopped by police. Since then, new information has come to light and it is gradually becoming possible to reconstruct the crime and identify the perpetrator’s motives.

It turns out that Georg was much more heavily armed than previously believed. According to state prosecutor Gudrun Lehnberger, the young man had equipped himself with a total of five Molotov cocktails, four of which he lit during the attack. He had three regular fixed-blade knives and one butterfly knife strapped to his waist. His axe had a sixteen inch-long handle. Upon entering the building, Georg began walking down the corridor, lobbing the Molotov cocktails into classrooms and attacking everyone in his way with the knives and axe. He injured a total of ten persons: nine students and one teacher. One girl underwent a seven hour-long operation in a Nuremberg clinic for axe wounds to the head. She is now out of danger.

Overall, it seems as if the response by both the school and the Ansbach police was exemplary. One of the students, a volunteer fireman, reported the attack the moment it began via Twitter and immediately extinguished one of the blazes. Students and teachers provided first aid to the injured until the emergency services could take over. Local police were on the scene in record time. Nevertheless, the Bavarian police are demanding an early warning system for the state’s school system so that such attacks can be halted even earlier – and, ideally, prevented in the first place. …

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September 20, 2009

Death of a hero: The murder of Dominik Brunner

Dominik Brunnen, 1959-2009

Dominik Brunnen, 1959-2009

THE TERM “HERO” HAS been so grievously overused in recent years that we would all be hard-pressed to come up with a comprehensible definition for it. Nowadays it seems as if all you need to become a hero is just to be a passive victim of a terrorist act, or else to meet your end while wearing any sort of uniform (provided you’re fighting for the right side, that is).

But I think everyone can agree that on September 12, 2009 a businessman died and a hero was born. On that day, towards evening, Dominik Brunner, a fifty year-old senior manager of a brick company in Neufahrn in Lower Bavaria, boarded a suburban train on his way to his second home in the town of Solln near Munich. At the Donnersbergerbrücke station, four young teenagers – two girls and two boys – came on board with two older boys in hot pursuit. The younger kids had been on their way to what promised to be a fun evening at a bowling center when Markus Sch. and Sebastian L. (aged seventeen and eighteen) approached them on the station platform and demanded fifteen Euros from them. They continued their harangue in the train and threatened violence if the younger kids didn’t shell out the money.

At this point, Brunner stood up and told the older kids to lay off. He then comforted the four teenagers and said he would ride with them to Solln station and make sure they got off safely. However, the two young men remained aggressive, and so two stations before Solln Brunner alarmed the police via cell phone. When they arrived in Solln, however, the older kids followed Brunner and his four charges off the train and onto the platform. And there, according to one of the children, one of the thugs “went ballistic.” …

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