09 January 2014, The Tablet

Cologne Cathedral may sue over half-naked feminist’s protest

The chapter of Germany’s Cologne cathedral has threatened to sue media organisations, after evidence emerged that they knew in advance that a feminist protester planned to disrupt the Christmas Day Mass by jumping half-naked on the altar.

“We’re still examining the legal details,” said Mgr Norbert Feldhoff, the cathedral provost. “But we assume the photographers and cameramen present at the service knew in advance about this action, so they could face accusations of aiding and abetting it.”

The priest was speaking after the Christmas protest by Josephine Witt, a member of the international Femen group, which was condemned by all main political parties in Germany.

He said a photographer for the Cologne Express daily had taken shots of the 20-year-old in her front-row seat before the Mass, while a cameraman with the Hans Paul Media group had deliberately positioned himself in the nearby south transept.

Witt, who jumped on the altar with the words “I am God” written on her bare torso as the Mass was being opened by Cardinal Joachim Meisner, was dragged away by male stewards, kicking vigorously.

The student, who faces up to three years’ jail for “disturbing religious worship”, told newspapers she was protesting over the Church’s “sexist and patriarchal attitude”.

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