So they completed the construction of a small bridge (German article in Donaukurier) after nearly one year, and what do we get at the opening ceremony last week, in addition to a speech of your new mayor? “Of course” a joint Catholic–Protestant benediction of the bridge including a statue of the “bridge saint” John of Nepomuk (my translation of above newspaper link):
[…] together blessed the construction and the people who will use it, and put the bridge under the protection of Saint Nepomuk. The two clerics expressed their hope that the bridge will bring people together and that there will be no accidents.
The old bridge, then, can’t have been under the Nepomucene’s protection – or he failed at it –, since it had to be torn down due to deterioration, and since it had been rather low, it had been a problem during high-water situations.
Claus Hipp, boss of the renowned local baby food company which financed the statue crafted by Adolf Mühlbauer,1 also had his say:
Pfaffenhofen’s honorary citizen said he is thus hoping for protection by Saint Nepomuk from further floodings and also that it would still be possible in the future to “freely state one’s opinion” – for that’s what Saint Nepomuk also stands for, said the entrepreneur.
The fact that the new bridge was built noticibly higher than the old one will certainly be much more helpful against floodings than erecting an artfully sculpted block of stone. And regarding that thing about freedom of expression, the fellow must have gotten something wrong, or he’s using a very lose interpretation of confessional secret, because according to German Wikipedia, this saint is “only” concerned with:
- Bohemia and Bavaria
- confessors, priests, skippers, raftsmen, and millers
- confessional secret
- against dangers from water
By the way, may millers whose mills are not driven by water power also feel protected by Nepomuk…?
- so at least no taxpayers’ money… [↩]