04 December 2020, The Tablet

Bishops call for prayers after Trier attack

Bishops call for prayers after Trier attack

A car ploughed through a pedestrian area in the western German city of Trier, killing five people including a nine-week-old baby girl.
Pierre Heckler/PA

German bishops have called for prayers to stop inhuman attacks after a driver killed five including a 9-week old baby in Germany’s oldest city.

Five people including a nine-week-old baby girl were killed and 18 seriously injured when a car zig-zagged through the inner-city pedestrian zone of Trier, Germany’s oldest city, in the early afternoon of 1 December.

The 51-year-old driver, a native German who lives locally, was heavily drunk and has since been arrested for murder. Three women aged 25, 52, and 73, a 45-year-old man and his nine-week-old baby daughter were killed on the spot.

There is no indication that the motivation for the attack was in any way connected with terrorism or religiously motivated.

“People were mown down more or less in front of our front door”, Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier told domradio.de.

Trier cathedral was founded in the early fourth century and is the oldest church in Germany. According to certain sources it was commissioned by the Emperor Constantine the Great.

The police had at first closed the cathedral, Ackermann said, but had reopened it once the man was arrested. He was therefore quickly able to organise an ecumenical prayer service. “A good 150 people came – which sounds a lot under Covid-19 restrictions, but there is plenty of room in the cathedral to keep to the 2m distancing required. It was even possible for people to light candles. We simply wanted to give people an opportunity  to express their speechlessness. Prayer helps in such situations. Prayer helps, the space in the cathedral helps and the music helps – they help people to discard anxiety and end the day with positive thoughts.”

Conference president, Bishop Georg Bätzing of Limburg said he was “deeply shattered” on twitter. “My thoughts are with the relatives (of those killed). They, the injured and those who died are in my prayers. Inhuman attacks must have no place on our society. It has suddenly become very dark in Advent.”

Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich twittered, “As a former Bishop of Trier, I am especially shocked and united in prayer with the people of Trier.”











































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