Saarbruecken (kath.net) "I did not want to make fun of the Catholic Church or hurt the feelings of believers." According to the "Saarbrückener Zeitung", the 38-year-old Alexander Karle has to appear in Saarbrücken District Court. He had entered the sanctuary illegally in the Catholic Baroque Basilica of St. John in Saarbrücken (Diocese of Trier) and performed about 30 pushups on the altar. According to the prosecutor's office, this was a "crudely inappropriate behavior demonstrating a purely disrespectful attitude." The event, which took place approximately between Christmas Eve on 2015 and January 1 2016, had been recorded by Karle with a video and published in a Saarbrücken shop window and also via Youtube. Karle has studied at Saar University of the Arts and understands his action as art, as other media reported. The video, entitled "Pressure to Perform", was designed to investigate the extent to which religion and performance pressure were related.
In the Catholic church community, however, the video was perceived as provocation and defamation, said Rev. Eugen Vogt. Therefore, the church community had contacted the police. According to the public prosecutor's office, the action does not fall under the rule of freedom of artistic expression and speech and has therefore applied for a fine of 1,500 euros at the Court of Justice. Justification: violation of religious freedom and trespassing. After the artist's appeal, the court is now adjudicating the decision.
The "Saarbrückener Zeitung" summed up Karle's further explanations as follows: During the action "a few people were praying in the basilica, who did not say a word," assures Karle. And he is also a Catholic, if only on paper. "After all, he had also taken a small camera," so very discreetly, "and carefully removed the white cloth on the altar before performing his pushups, then laid it back down again.
The church of St. John was consecrated in 1758 by Pope Paul IV. [thanks DJR] as a minor Basilica. It is listed as a monument in Saarland's memorial list.
The Court of Saarbrücken decided a few days ago that the defendant must pay 700 euro fine for trespassing and disturbance of the free exercise of religion. This was reported by "Bild" and other media. Judge Simon explained in the reasoning of the verdict that freedom of art is not guaranteed without limits. If an altar is equated with a gymnastic mat, then that shows disrespect of faith.
The documentation: The video of the artist with the controversial action