The Naked Woman in Cologne Cathedral and Her American Paparazzi Connection

The Naked Woman in Cologne Cathedral and Her American Paparazzi Connection January 2, 2014

On Christmas Day, as the 10 a.m. high Mass got underway in Germany’s Cologne Cathedral, a young woman in the front row stripped off her coat, exposing her naked body, rushed to the sanctuary and climbed atop the great altar.  Painted across the screaming woman’s bare chest were the words “I AM GOD.”

Josephine Witt, the protestor, was a 20-year-old philosophy student and a member of the feminist anarchist group FEMEN.  Before Cardinal Joachim Meisner could begin the prayers of the Mass, she was quickly apprehended by ushers and guards and by angry worshippers, and whisked away to a waiting police car.  In videos of the disturbance, one man can be seen throwing his coat over Ms. Witt’s exposed breasts before she is dragged from the cathedral.  Another man, an elderly worshipper near the front pew, steps out to slap the screaming woman’s face before returning to his seat.

I’ve written about FEMEN before.  The group, which had its beginnings in 2008, has protested in support of issues including abortion and gay marriage, and opposing Islamism and sharia law.  Their radical viewpoints frequently bring them into conflict with religion.

This time, FEMEN’s objection is with regard to abortion rights.  In an interview with German journalist Fabian Reinbold published in the German weekly newsmagazine Der Spiegel, Witt said:

“I do not consider myself to be God—which, of course, was a provocation.  You should show that we are all responsible for our actions on earth—that no one can forbid any woman to make decisions about their own bodies. This is exactly what Cardinal Joachim Meisner has done, however, by refusing to permit abortions. This is an unworldly approach, which fights against the Femen.”

Challenged by Reinbold to explain why FEMEN protested in a Catholic Church, and why it engages in shock protests which are considered by some to be vulgar, Witt explained:

“We act not against believers, but against the institution [of the Church] and people like [Cardinal] Meisner, which they use to oppress women.”

Witt asserted that FEMEN objects to Cardinal Meisner’s and the Catholic Church’s attitude toward “abortion and pedophilia”—as though the Church opposed the first, but supported the second.

*     *     *     *     *

There are two things which irritate me about the whole shameful event—besides the exhibitionist freak show itself.

  • First is that the media, obviously cued in advance about the FEMEN protest, were standing ready to capture the protest on film, but no one in the media offices had the personal fortitude to warn authorities or to take any action to prevent the sacrilege within Germany’s largest cathedral.  FEMEN’s stunts are designed for maximum publicity; and the organization had invited the largest media outlets to ensure that the world would hear the story. The Express, Cologne’s largest newspaper, had a reporter and photographer present.  A cameraman from Hans Paul Media, one of the world’s largest paparazzi organizations, had already photographed Josephine Witt fully clothed in her pew; he now waited in the south wing of the cathedral for the Mass to be interrupted, so that he could capture the bold protest as it happened.
  • And secondly, I am irritated by the reports that German police are seeking the man who slapped the protester—presumably to slap an assault charge on him.  Is it not possible, I wonder, that a woman who charges the altar—stripping naked in front of God and small children, and screaming obscenities—is a hostile invader?  Didn’t the Catholic worshippers have the right to protect themselves, their elderly archbishop, and their Church?

By the way, Hans Paul—the head of the paparazzi company which staked out the cathedral to catch Witt’s indecent stunt on film—has ties to America.  A German-born photo lab technician, Paul’s career has included early work on a steamship, in a Venezuelan steel factory, in an Israeli kibbutz, and in a copper mine in Israel’s Negev Desert.  He once hitchhiked across the United States; and in 1998, he established residency in Los Angeles, where he photographed Hollywood stars and other celebrities.  He now lives in Sydney, Australia, but his agency employs photographers worldwide.


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What Are Your Thoughts?leave a comment
  • What a bunch of detestable people. Someone should tell them half the children aborted are females. They are not really concerned with women. They just want the right to do as one pleases, even if it means killing innocent unborn children.

  • John Fisher

    I am unborn baby but I was killed and chopped up as I grew in the womb by my mother. My mother and father conceived me then butchered me. My life was meaningless to them and so they have made all life including their own meaningless. If it is allowed to murder me then any murder is allowable. My blood cries out!

  • Jennifer Peterson

    Even as an uneducated youth, I knew enough that this group is simply sad.

    • Proteios

      Also, I find it odd that the modern idea of supporting women means giving women cancer causing pills to suppress their natural biorhythms, aborting a baby as it grows in her womb and is ok with leaving women impoverished and uneducated while working to raise children. That is ok, but trying to teach some respect and self control to men and women, teaching women about their natural rhythms and supporting them in a family structure to nurture children is considered anti women. Even a war on women. It’s a shallow and distorted narrative of releasing women from male oppression as one must ignore the slavish work conditions men endured for the last few centuries to create an environment for women to nurture and raise children in a safe environment. If one doesn’t like that notion, so be it, but it was a vast mistake to undermine and destroy it for the sake of carting a world where women can be “empowered” by undulating in scantily clad clothes for men to ogle. Seems like we have done women a disservice in ruining the social structures that protected women, men and families.

  • rod masom

    This group “FEMEN” is beyond merely “sad”; they are luciferian in their outrageous tactics and strategy, arrogantly “WITTless” but uncaring of other’s sensitivities, and HEARTLESS in their advocacy of such mean barbarity as murdering through “legalities” the helpless unborn humans in the womb. And by this article, add that the media are COMPLICIT in their colossal overreach in a conspiracy to AMPLIFY these feckless harridans in their evil quest to oppress the Catholic Church, in this case in Germany, because of the ETERNAL TEACHING that in reality is Judeo-Christian: THOU SHALT NOT KILL(MURDER), and in the present context, INNOCENT, HELPLESS HUMANS WITHIN THE SAFETY OF THE WOMB. They (FEMEN) should all be denounced for their unmitigated evil, and be jailed for their activities. And Pope Francis: BRING ON THE EXORCISTS,this woman appears to be desperately in need of one. Finally, all KUDOS to the man who SLAPPED this hapless delusional member of this group; finally a layman with moral guts! ,

  • Proteios

    I would like the news to cover the nude protests at a cathedral and a mosque so the world can see the stark contrasts between Gods church and the cult of mohomed. I expect we will see some difference. If wrong, well it won’t be the first time. But I am amazed over the last year with multiple vitriolic attacks be this ignorant group of protestors how compassionate they have been. I’d like to test my theory that Islam is vile and abusive to women and this would be another data point. They, like any normal educated person are against Islam and sharia law, which is certainly not from God. So I assume they will be performing such protests at various cult locations like mosques to disrupt their rituals. My underlying point is that the church cares about men and women, yet the cult of mohomed is vile and angry toward the women it claims are unclean and will not enter heaven…ie. all women. I expect a contrast, but they need to protest so we have the scenarios to study.

  • SwissGuardian

    And people wonder why the church was so militant during the Middle Ages…
    It’s time to bring back a little of that “insensitivity.”

  • TeaPot562

    In Will Durant’s multi-volume history of civilizations, the typical successful empire (Egypt, then Persia, then Alexander’s Greece, then Caesar’s Rome) begins its own self-destruction when the ruling class or caste starts to flout their own religious teaching; both the male and female adults ignore marriage vows, seeking sexual connections with everybody and anybody, and aborting resultant infants or leaving them outside to die from exposure. FWIW, Durant was a self-proclaimed atheist.
    Something in human DNA responds to God’s orders, and rebels, increasing suicide rates among those who deliberately disobey His will.
    Pray for your relatives and friends. Pray for those who lead our nations. Our culture is in a downward trajectory, and the FEMENS attack on the Cologne cathedral is merely a symptom of this disease.

  • stceolfrithtx

    The link to American paparazzi is concerning. Also, why is the message written in English when they are in Germany?

  • hazemyth

    Based on everything I’ve read about this incident, including the entry above, it’s hard to see how the slap (directed at a person already in custody) could meet any reasonable definition of self-defense. The parishioner was clearly acting out of anger. I don’t know that it really qualifies as a police matter… However, moral indignation directed at the protestor’s invasive and disrespectful actions is undermined by specious attempts to justify such violence, however minimal.

  • Grace

    The man has been identified and it seems will face charges.

  • Clare Krishan

    Note not penned in German “ICH BIN GOTT” – wouldn’t fit so legibly now would it? Ergo preplanned IN ENGLISH, note bene. And dare I say it, a tad anti-semitic in her semiosographic intent? The People of the Covenant would never defile the Word of G-d by even so much as a touch of their own fingers, using a sacramental object called a yad (Hebrew: יד‎) to trace when reading scripture from a Torah scroll, never letting the Divine Name pass their embodied lips, “Adonai” or “Lord” their preferred textual moniker. With the feast of the Holy Name still fresh in memory, I couldn’t endorse retributive actions within the sanctuary (imagine Mary being slapped by some overzealous Nazarene for, in his eyes, blasphemous claim of birthing the Messiah) yet support clemency none the less for the elderly parishioner unable to practice the gift of self-control in the face of such provocation.

    Feminists have rather cornered themselves into a sterile predicament with all this “embodied” activism: the wonderful hyperbolic-geometrical ecological-consciousness school of thought of these latter-day domestic divas
    must apply their crochet-coral logic, rhetoric and grammar to ALL vulnerable fractal forms of life, most especially fructus ventris mulieribus human life, else their radical phenomenological personalism collapses into itself, becoming merely another Euclidian-flatland tyranny-of-relativism, unfit to be an anthropology worthy of such lofty goals such as communion or liberation, no?

  • kirrwed

    Looks like the media may face legal action for their culpability in abetting the crime.

  • wisky
    • kathyschiffer

      You’re kidding, right? You think that kind of classless disrespect in a house of worship is somehow heroic? And you think women are somehow empowered for putting on such stupid stunts? I’m speechless.