http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/images/size340/Cardinal_Marx_at_the_German_Bishops_Press_Conference_at_the_Teutonic_College_on_October_5_2015_Credit_Bohumil_Petrik_CNA_10_5_15.jpgCologne, Germany, Jan 11, 2016 / 03:21 pm (CNA/EWTN News).- A week after hundreds were attacked in Cologne on New Year’s Eve, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Freising and president of the German Conference of Catholic Bishops, condemned the attacks in a press release and called for more vigilance in the future.
“(T)he excesses in Cologne and other large cities are deeply disturbing for our society and can in no way be tolerated,” Marx said.
“We need accurate information and a clear response from the authorities.”
Over 500 criminal complaints – about 40 percent of which involve allegations of sexual assault – have been filed to the German police regarding attacks that took place in the square outside Cologne’s main train station on Monday night according to BBC.
Women appeared to be intentional targets of the attacks, which were allegedly carried out by large groups of seemingly Arabs or North Africans.
The incident has sparked national and international controversy, with accusations of a cover-up by the police, media and politicians after investigations indicated many of the attackers were men who entered the country as refugees.
The local police have been inundated with accusations over the delay in informing the public about the attacks. They have also been criticized for supposedly holding back information about the nationality of the suspects.
German bishops also faced criticisms for their failure to respond in a timely manner.
In his Jan. 8 statement, Cardinal Marx warned that “these new forms of violence and especially the inhumane treatment of women cannot be tolerated” and he demanded that “all the different forces in society must work together to prevent this type of incidents and guarantee safety.”
“As a Church we are here to make our contribution to participate in a society that lives in mutual respect,” he stated.
The Cologne chief of police, Wolfgang Albers, lost his job over the controversy. He was dismissed Monday, Jan. 11.
A police report leaked to press noted that when he was arrested one of the suspects exclaimed “I’m a Syrian. You have to treat me well. Mrs. Merkel invited me,” referring to German Chancellor Angela Merkel.