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COLOGNE, Germany (ChurchMilitant.com) - The archdiocese of Cologne has erased its world-famous cathedral from its corporate logo in a rebranding exercise aimed at promoting diversity and sustainability.
"With the new image, we want to contribute to promoting the perception of what the local church has to offer and the diverse commitment of the people," a diocesan press release announced.
"Especially in these challenging times, it is crucial to make the many good sides of the Church more visible to the outside world," the statement stressed. "It is important to preserve what is good, but also to courageously make room for something new."
A promotional video attempting to decipher the logo vaguely explained that the new colors gave the diocese "the opportunity to display diversity and seriousness."
"Sustainability was an essential criterion in the development process," Tanja Moussa, the archdiocese's representative for design and branding, explained. "For example, we did not use special colors that would have added costs and complicated production processes."
Defending the logo against several media and personalities who are mocking the new development, Frank Hüppelshäuser, head of the chancery office, argued that the new logo represents the whole archdiocese, not just Cologne Cathedral.
"Every beer brand has the landmark in its logo, but the archdiocese is much more than just the cathedral," Hüppelshäuser told public broadcaster WDR.
The bland new design, launched on Sunday on the diocese's website and social media channels, has been inspired by the historical coat of arms of the archdiocese, which dates to the 13th century, the diocesan statement explained.
Praising the new logo, design expert, Achim Schaffrinna, noted that it was good that the diocese had dropped the emblem of the sword with its "associated symbolism of jurisdiction" while adapting the ancient coat of arms in its new design.
"It is not only important to recognize visual messages but also to see and understand what is NOT shown," Schaffrinna remarked.
Ironically, last March, the dean of Cologne Cathedral, Msgr. Robert Kleine, criticized the city's decision to remove the cathedral from its logo in a rebranding strategy.
"I'm not exactly sure what's innovative about it. Even the coat of arms, the imperial eagle, has been modernized and shrunk," Kleine lamented. "Other cities are already putting their landmarks back into their logos and are proud that they have something to advertise."
"The previous logo distinguished Cologne from other cities. Many city logos only consist of the coat of arms and a lettering. But Cologne has the cathedral! Everyone connects the cathedral with Cologne, and that was something special about the logo," the dean noted.
Several politicians and prominent personalities criticized the move as "woke" and pandering to the growing Islamization of Germany.
"The archdiocese of Cologne bans the cathedral from its logo. Because of 'diversity' and all that. Heaven, help! Such a church can go," Beatrix von Storch, a parliamentarian representing the conservative Alternative für Deutschland party, tweeted, adding the hashtags #Wokeism, #Islamization and #CancelCulture.
Gerhard Papke of the ruling Freie Demokratische Partei wrote that while the Cologne archdiocese removes the silhouette of Cologne Cathedral from its logo, "the muezzin in the city calls the faithful to prayer. Stages of cultural self-abandonment!"
In October 2022, the city council in Cologne cleared the way for mosques to apply for permission to publicly broadcast the Islamic call to prayer from its loudspeakers for a maximum five minutes between noon and 3 p.m. on Fridays.
"That Muslims have arrived and been accepted with their representative mosques as a visible part and with the call to prayer as an audible part of society is the core message of this long process," said Abdurrahman Atasoy, a representative of Cologne's central mosque.
The Muslim call to prayer, or Adhan, is the categorical proclamation of Islam's supersessionism over its forebears — Judaism and Christianity. It asserts that God's revelation to Muhammad has supplanted and superseded God's prior revelations to Moses in the Old Testament and to Jesus in the New Testament.
Former Swedish Imam Tomas Samuel explains how the Adhan is a statement of Islamic supremacy. In Islamic sources, "we discover that the prayer call states that everyone should submit to Islam and proclaims power over the area of the prayer."
The Adhan is prayed for two reasons: "It will remind people of when it is time to pray, and the prayer call will proclaim Islam over a city," he says.
In 1248, the city on the Rhine became home to one of the foremost Gothic cathedrals in the Christian world. When Cologne Cathedral was completed in 1880, it was the tallest building in the world. The two mighty towers are the tallest dual spires in the world.
The cathedral is dedicated to St. Peter and St. Mary and houses priceless artifacts in its treasury, including St. Peter's reliquary and chain, and the Gero Cross, the oldest intact life-size crucifix in the Western world.
Attracting more than six million visitors every year, Cologne Cathedral is one of Germany's most popular tourist attractions.