Attempt to Legally Qualify Catholic Church as Criminal Organisation

Country: Austria

Date of incident: March 25, 2010

Vienna-based lawyer Georg Zanger wants to sue leading members of the Catholic Church on grounds of membership in a criminal organisation (§ 278a StGB, Austrian Code of Penal Law).

Most regrettably, several members of the Catholic Church abused children in previous decades. 15 victims have now asked Vienna-based lawyer Georg Zanger to represent them legally. According to Austrian daily “Die Presse”, March 25th, Zanger says that if this abuse was covered up by Church officials, the entire Catholic Church could legally be qualified as a criminal organisation. The Austrian Code of Penal Law provides a prison sentence between six months and five years for members of criminal organisations.  In the heat of the debate, it is easy to overlook that the teaching of the Catholic Church is a safeguard against child abuse. Equally, its officials are forerunners in the protection of children, families and human dignity. This has been proven true on many occasions in the history of civilisation. Single instances of perverse members are not representative of the Catholic Church as a whole.