In December 2011 the former Secretary of State, Mr Deetman, presented the report of his inquiry into sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic church. According to the report there were between 10,000 and 20, 000 victims in the Netherlands. Pierre Habets was appalled and it seemed to him as if nothing good at all could any longer be found in the faith. He realised ,however, that there are millions of people all over the world who feel genuinely supported by the Catholic faith every day. Nobody has ever denied that, and thus the idea of the artwork arose. He then contacted representatives of the church, specifically bishop Frans Wiertz and Bert Smeets, the chairman of Mea Culpa United. They were willing to talk to him, they talked together and visited the the artist`s studio several times. Habets was deeply touhced by their meeting, and already at the beginning of 2012 became convinced that it might be possible to find a positive connection, start a search for what connects people when they were willing to listen to each other with an open mind. On the basis of these first dialogues Habets considered what he could do, and he came up with a design made of polystyrene foam and gypsum. He showed this to people and listened to what they said about it, and especially to what they did not say. This experience led to a new design. In the end he has been working on it for seven long years, and now the endresult in bronze can be seen at the municipal park of Roermond. Habets does not make drawings, he works with experimental models, and he does not stop modelling until the final result has been attained. For instance, in the original clay model you can see that the Christ figure is in walking motion and holds out his hand tot he child. Habets is proud and honoured that the foundation has even received a letter from Pope Frances, in which the pope expresses his appreciation of the project. Through this project a piece of history has been written. The project means quite a lot to Habets. He sees it as a great accomplishment, the completion of a seven-years` path. At the same time it is a beginning, because the work can now start doing what it was designed to do, now in bronze, in the municipal park, because it is also a clear sign of recognition. It is tangible, it is made of bronze. It is acknowledged that things have happened that never should have happened. And… children have lost their childhood. Thus a memorial has been created which can help prevent a repitition of the past and provide a hopeful view of the future, The Road to Reconciliation.
The photobook shows the endresult in bronze as it can be seen at `De Kartuis` a municipal park in Roermond in the south of the Netherlands. When you move the cursor to photobook you can click on the slanted white arrows. The photobook will then fill the screen. By clicking again on the white arrows (top right), or using the esc button on your computer you can close the screen.