Wednesday, January 21, 2015

Priest Story

I noticed in the morning news here in Germany....source: WDR (regional state-run network)....another odd Pegida-related story.

Some small demonstration occurred in the Munster area, and a priest from the local area showed up at the anti-Islam rally (news report indicate a maximum of 500 people).  The priest gave a short speech....noting his belief in Europe being a Christian-theme region.  This of course....got into the news and the Catholic Church was very quick to disavow whatever was said (it was a humorous episode....saying in some fashion that Europe isn't Christian in any form or way).

What was generally spoken, at least by the leadership of the region is that these hostile comments by the priest are abuse of his authority as a priest.  There's also a note of it being related to right-wing ideologies.

Then the priest got put on 'no-talk' status.  Oddly, the Catholic Church has shown one single power that some other religious groups are unable to pursue, or simply lacking.....shutting up people.  The commentary from the news folks is that the priest has been told not to speak either in church or out of church for a period of time.

I would make this analysis of the situation.....only as an American watching a German episode unfold.  Priests, bishops, ministers, religious scholars, etc......need to make themselves a boundary of religious-commentary only.  You wouldn't go to such individuals to ask advice on a new car to buy, where to shop for pants, or how to vote on election day.  The minute that some priest or religious scholar gets into political business....he's not religious.....he's political.  Different ballgame....different attitude.

I also advocate the no-talk enthusiasm which religious leaders ought to be able to put on their participants.  If you've got some agenda that goes beyond the traditional view of the organization....someone needs to be able to review the case....cite the rules....and discipline the individual who screwed up.  In effect, either criticize, punish, or fire the guy.

The minute that a religious organization is political....that ought to be a sign of something being wrong and unacceptable by society.  I should add....the reverse ought to be true as well....where a political organization doesn't get into the business of managing religion....unless they step outside of civilized behavior (saying God ordained you to kill someone, whip your wife, or wage war....are not religious themes, these are 'something else').

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