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Church bans 9-year-old's football gravestone
Photo: DPA

Church bans 9-year-old's football gravestone

Published: 13 Nov 2012 09:34 GMT+01:00
Updated: 13 Nov 2012 09:34 GMT+01:00

A German church has refused the parents of a nine-year-old boy who died of a brain tumour permission to put up a gravestone adorned with the logo of his favourite football team.

Jens Pascal was such a passionate fan of Bundesliga champions Dortmund that he wanted a gravestone featuring the club's logo, his mother Nicole Schmidt told Bild der Frau magazine.

After the boy died, the parents had such a headstone designed and in July applied for permission to put it in the cemetery of the Catholic Visitation of Mary church in the Bodelschwingh district of Dortmund, where Pascal is buried.

But the church board rejected the stone, on the grounds that "the design is not appropriate for a Catholic cemetery." Graveyard rules state that "inscriptions and images that are not associated with the Christian faith are not permitted."

The design features the BVB Dortmund football club logo, next to the club slogan "Real Love," as well as a football.

The family is now fighting for the right to fulfil the boy's final wishes, and have started a Facebook group that has already collected over 100,000 supporters. Some Schalke fans - bitter footballing rivals to Dortmund - have also reportedly joined the campaign.

But so far the church has remained adamant, though spokesman Michael Bodin says they have offered to negotiate with Pascal's parents.

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Your comments about this article

10:06 November 13, 2012 by the.local.reader
Well, the gravestone is about love. Religion is about hatred. Of course they do not "associate". Forget it, the root of all evil.
11:55 November 13, 2012 by michael4096
For centuries the various European christian churches have provided civil as well as theological services such as marriage and burials. This suited the civil authorities and the church by reducing the burden on the civil side and increasing the moral authority of the church on the religious side. For many, the civil events were the only time they went to church.

The churches are self-destructing by refusing people's civil wishes for theological reasons whether it is not allowing football logos, banning homosexuals or spurning women who choose abortions. All it does undermine the churches' authority in civil affairs and decrease the 'need' people have for religion. As various armies have found out, there is a marketplace for hearts-and-minds and the traditional religions are loosing out to the competition: secular activities and weird religions.
12:10 November 13, 2012 by lordkorner
The family should just go ahead and put the headstone on their sons grave. Then wait and see who is without sin and takes away the first BVB 09 gravestone. My

Thoughts with the family at this time.
15:36 November 13, 2012 by SchwabHallRocks
If the cemetery belongs to the church, and the family has no "rights" for burial (not sure if paying the church tax entitles one to burial) then Church wins.

If football is more important than Christianity, the Church, Last Rites, Consecrated ground, etc. why does the family care to bury him in the context of the Church anyhow? Just bury him on secular property and avoid all the noise.

It's like non-religous people getting married in a church because the pictures look better than in the courthouse.
15:45 November 13, 2012 by heathen
Even if the church allowed it, I'm sure that someone else would get their panties in a bunch over copyright issues.
19:33 November 13, 2012 by lordkorner
"Some people believe football is a matter of life and death, I am very disappointed with that attitude. I can assure you it is much, much more important than that". Bill Shankley OBE 1913 -1981
20:08 November 13, 2012 by raandy
Like many things about the Church, change is not an issue.
23:04 November 13, 2012 by dairiesman
Whatever happened to christian values? I am truly speechless. The church is meant to provide comfort and solace at a time of grieving. Shameful.
01:10 November 14, 2012 by Berlin fuer alles
Most likely the real cause here is that the FC do not pay church tax on their earnings.
12:26 November 14, 2012 by StoutViking
What one wants on their tombstone is a private business, however the cemetary is Christian, belonging to the church so they make the rules and their rule is: Graveyard rules state that "inscriptions and images that are not associated with the Christian faith are not permitted."

It's kind of like reading the little letters in a contract...

What I fail to see is why the church gives a damn?
13:36 November 18, 2012 by roundabout321
Take a vote. Throw the Church out of the cemetary. Simple.
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