Priests and politics

ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
edited May 9 in Purgatory
I was going to post this on the Oz election thread ("Simon says..."), but thought a broader audience may be interested. Apologies if I'm wrong, and if so hosts feel free to lock this, and send me out where there is weeping and gnashing of teeth.

If you're not interested in the person I'm talking about, skip to the *** below for the general discussion.

A rather (in)famous Anglican priest is running for a seat in the New South Wales senate in the almost-upon-us federal election. Fr Rod Bower is running as part of a group named Independents for Climate Action Now, and is in position 1^ on the NSW form for that group.

You'd need to register, but this article was interesting to me; this one is free. To give you a brief background, he is famous for his LGBTI-, refugee-, environment-friendly messages he places on the church billboard, which attracts admirers and detractors alike (he has had death threats).

He does hope to rebuild the "ethical framework" of the parliamentary system, and describes himself as a centrist: he states Australia's political landscape has moved so far to the right that centrists are seen as leftists (from the ABC article above).

***

I was surprised priests could run for parliament. Not sure why; just was.

I do wonder about it... Clearly every citizen has the right to do so; I would not want to get in anyone's way. We need all voices (well, perhaps not those with clear and obvious racist/homophobic policies...but they manage to get in) to make it representative. But do religious orders call for something different?

What are your thoughts? Are there precedents?


^ feel free to spend some time reading how counting works if you've missed your bus and it's an hour wait til the next one...
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Comments

  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    Am I right in thinking he's resigned his Gosford Commission to do this? Rev. Fred Nile has been in NSW Parliament for years of course. He was ordained in one of the reformed traditions and became a Uniting Church minister upon its formation. I think the connection has been severed by now.

    He probably feels called to do this.
  • I'd start by saying that it's axiomatic for me that if you are not challenging governments and others to act more justly and compassionately in regard to the environment, refugees, poverty etc then you are not preaching the gospel. If you are not acting to help those affected by these issues then you are not living the gospel. On that basis, standing for public office is entirely compatible with the call on all of us to live and preach the gospel. Why should that be any different for someone who is ordained?
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    I reckon you and this particular priest would be on all fours Alan. I suspect that is exactly his motivation.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    He's still listed on the Parish website FWIW. I can't think why a priest cannot run for parliament either as a matter of principle or legislation. It may be different in the England and Scotland given that the CoE and the CoS are established.
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited May 9
    How could I have forgotten Nile? Good grief. My brain is not firing tonight... Thanks, Simon.

    My understanding is Fr Rod is still at his parish, but would resign if elected.

    Thanks Alan; you make good sense (as always). I suppose, forgetting about Nile, I was wondering about the calling to the priesthood, or diaconate...and if one should "remain" there, calling the government, and people, to account. But as you say why should they be different? I guess I just wonder about when one decides their calling is to be stopped...or put on hold. And where the most difference can be made. But then again, I suppose many make decisions to leave for various reasons...

    edited: posted as Gee D did. Thanks.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    callings can change I think, especially in emphasis - but there are many more expert in this matter than I.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    He's still listed on the Parish website FWIW. I can't think why a priest cannot run for parliament either as a matter of principle or legislation. It may be different in the England and Scotland given that the CoE and the CoS are established.
    Well, a priest in the Church of Scotland certainly can’t run for parliament, since there is no such thing as a “priest” in the Kirk. :wink: (And likewise, if this Australian candidate is in the Uniting Church and was ordained in a Reformed tradition, it seems highly unlikely that he is a “priest” either.)

    But pedantics aside, I can think of quite a few members of the clergy who have run for and been elected to public office in these parts. My impression is that they are most often Baptist ministers, but that may just be because there are so many Baptists around here. I can’t say I can specifically remember an Episcopal priest, Lutheran pastor, or a Presbyterian, Methodist or other mainline minister running for office, but it certainly could have happened. I have a vague recollection of a former Catholic priest being elected to office.

  • There is a practical point, in that being a member of Parliament (or equivalent) is a full time job. Therefore if elected then someone wouldn't be able to also maintain a ministry in the church, at least not beyond an occasional guest preacher. But, again that's no different from anyone else who will also need to take a break from other employment until the electorate decide that they want a different representative.
  • EirenistEirenist Shipmate
    C. ofE. incumbents can't run for pParliament as they are hoders of office under the Crown.
  • Ex_OrganistEx_Organist Shipmate
    The situation in UK changed with the passing of The Removal of Clergy Disqualification Act in 2001. Prior to that ministers of the Church of Scotland and clergy who had received episcopal ordination as priest or deacon (with the exception, for some reason, of clergy of the Church in Wales) were excluded from being elected as MPs. From 2007 the only clergy who cannot stand for Parliament are Bishops who are also Lords Spiritual.
  • As a serving Minister, I believe that I must present issues of concern to my congregation in a prophetic way and demonstrate that doing so is an essential part of my Gospel proclamation (there are some who see the Gospel very much in terms of "personal salvation" alone). If this means that my pronouncements seem to side with the views of one political party or other, so be it - and I hope that I can help my members bring their faith to bear on their political views.

    However I am aware that I serve a mixed church community and so I would be wary of too openly affixing my political colours to the mast. In other words I see my current role as one of raising issues rather than espousing a particular party.
  • AnselminaAnselmina Shipmate
    Of course, the Revd Dr Ian Paisley was a church minister who was also MP in the British Parliament. Not a shining example, perhaps, of such an instance. Until he agreed to shake hands with Martin McGuinness and peace broke out.
  • Took him a long time, though! "No surrender!" was hardly a very Christian rallying call, in my view.
  • Antisocial AltoAntisocial Alto Shipmate
    edited May 9
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    But pedantics aside, I can think of quite a few members of the clergy who have run for and been elected to public office in these parts. My impression is that they are most often Baptist ministers, but that may just be because there are so many Baptists around here. I can’t say I can specifically remember an Episcopal priest, Lutheran pastor, or a Presbyterian, Methodist or other mainline minister running for office, but it certainly could have happened. I have a vague recollection of a former Catholic priest being elected to office.

    John Danforth is an ordained Episcopal priest and served three terms as Senator from Missouri. I don't know much about him except that he publicly defended both Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanagh when they were accused of sexual assault in the course of their Supreme Court confirmation hearings. 🤮🤮🤮 I believe some female Episcopal clergy wrote a letter of protest about it.
  • MarsupialMarsupial Shipmate
    We’ve occasionally had priests (and more commonly, Protestant clergy who who probably self-identify as ministers) in politics in Canada. Tommy Douglas, one of the leading lights of social democracy in Canada and one-time premier of Saskatchewan, began his career as a Baptist minister. That said, I don’t think any ministers have become Ministers recently.

    I’m not sure the transition from clergy to politician is an entirely natural one — it’s two very different kinds of leadership, in very different contexts. That said, the transition from physician to politician isn’t an entirely natural one either and yet some respected Canadian politicians have come from that background recently. There’s no reason in principle it can’t work, if people are realistic about what’s involved in making that transition.
  • Has anyone made a successful transition from politician (back) to priest? That strikes me as a rather harder move to make.
  • MarsupialMarsupial Shipmate
    Cheri di Novo went from being a United Church minister to being an NDP provincial MPP and back. Her political career was basically that of an idealistic back bench MPP for a party that was never in power during her tenure. (That said, she made some significant contributions in specific areas, notably the addition of gender identity to the Ontario Human Rights Code.) She’s now the incumbent at a very politically engaged United Church parish in downtown Toronto. In short, I think she’s sort of been straddling both worlds in both her careers.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    But pedantics aside, I can think of quite a few members of the clergy who have run for and been elected to public office in these parts. My impression is that they are most often Baptist ministers, but that may just be because there are so many Baptists around here. I can’t say I can specifically remember an Episcopal priest, Lutheran pastor, or a Presbyterian, Methodist or other mainline minister running for office, but it certainly could have happened. I have a vague recollection of a former Catholic priest being elected to office.

    John Danforth is an ordained Episcopal priest and served three terms as Senator from Missouri. I don't know much about him except that he publicly defended both Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanagh when they were accused of sexual assault in the course of their Supreme Court confirmation hearings. 🤮🤮🤮 I believe some female Episcopal clergy wrote a letter of protest about it.
    Of course! Thank you! I don’t know how I forgot about Danforth.

  • Ex_OrganistEx_Organist Shipmate
    Has anyone made a successful transition from politician (back) to priest? That strikes me as a rather harder move to make.

    The late Revd Lord Beaumont seems to have combined the two roles: https://www.theguardian.com/world/2008/apr/11/religion.liberaldemocrats
  • EnochEnoch Shipmate
    Of course Jonathan Aitken, former politician and gaolbird, was ordained last summer as a deacon and will presumably be priested sometime in the next few months.


    On the more general point, though, there are a number of issues about clergy, whether priests or ministers, and politics. Among them are:-

    1. Religious figures have a history of talking bilge as soon as they start to express their views on politics. Think of Hewlett Johnson, Ian Paisley, Wayne Grudem and David Hathaway, to name just a few. It isn't just the ones some of you might think a bit dodgy. Even St Paisios who was undoubtedly a genuine very holy man, was no exception.

    2. Because they believe they hear the voice of God, they are all too prone to believe that God must have the same political prejudices as they do. So when they read their Bibles, they convince themselves that he does.

    3. Even if they don't believe that, there is a serious risk that their followers will - particularly if they want to.

    4. If a priest or minister publicly espouses a political cause from the pulpit, that implies they are unchurching those who don't agree with them. In a very, very few cases, that will be right, but the circumstances are relatively rare.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    Gee D - the Cof S (Church of Scotland) is not established. There is no established church in Scotland.
  • chrisstileschrisstiles Shipmate
    Enoch wrote: »
    1. Religious figures have a history of talking bilge as soon as they start to express their views on politics. Think of Hewlett Johnson, Ian Paisley, Wayne Grudem and David Hathaway, to name just a few. It isn't just the ones some of you might think a bit dodgy. Even St Paisios who was undoubtedly a genuine very holy man, was no exception.

    Gavin Shuker, convenor of ChangeUK/TIG, is the former leader of a charismatic church in Luton.

    To cross streams with another topic; it's been noted before that a large number of the most ardent Brexiters are religious (Rees Mogg, Steve Baker, Iain Duncan Smith and so on).
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    edited May 9
    Thank you all. I didn't say it, but I did start this thread partially to settle in my mind my thoughts of giving him my first preference. You have helped a lot.

    Thank you also for the many instructive examples.
    Enoch wrote: »
    2. Because they believe they hear the voice of God, they are all too prone to believe that God must have the same political prejudices as they do. So when they read their Bibles, they convince themselves that he does.

    3. Even if they don't believe that, there is a serious risk that their followers will - particularly if they want to.
    Good points. I do think in Fr Rod's case any "unbelievers" re his beliefs may have left a long time ago... Though I had tended towards that outcome, or a "Who will rid me of this turbulent priest?" view, rather than your comment -- but it is pause for thought.
    4. If a priest or minister publicly espouses a political cause from the pulpit, that implies they are unchurching those who don't agree with them. In a very, very few cases, that will be right, but the circumstances are relatively rare.
    I doubt even those who know all of the places I've lived previously may make the connection, but I recall a priest stating in a sermon that he was happy those who did not agree with his views on, for example, LBGTI equality, left the parish, for it was a good thing, and "...when they are ready to join the rest of humanity they can come back". I do remember bristling at that comment as it was delivered, even if I agree with the removal of discrimination.
  • tclunetclune Shipmate
    edited May 9
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    I have a vague recollection of a former Catholic priest being elected to office.

    Father Drinan perhaps?
  • Gramps49Gramps49 Shipmate
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    But pedantics aside, I can think of quite a few members of the clergy who have run for and been elected to public office in these parts. My impression is that they are most often Baptist ministers, but that may just be because there are so many Baptists around here. I can’t say I can specifically remember an Episcopal priest, Lutheran pastor, or a Presbyterian, Methodist or other mainline minister running for office, but it certainly could have happened. I have a vague recollection of a former Catholic priest being elected to office.

    John Danforth is an ordained Episcopal priest and served three terms as Senator from Missouri. I don't know much about him except that he publicly defended both Clarence Thomas and Brett Kavanagh when they were accused of sexual assault in the course of their Supreme Court confirmation hearings. 🤮🤮🤮 I believe some female Episcopal clergy wrote a letter of protest about it.


    I think there are seven ordained ministers in Congress right now, though I cannot name them.

    I doubt Danforth would have supported Kavangagh since Danforth retired from the Senate in 1995 and later wrote a brief in support of gay marriage. Can you give me a reference?
  • ClimacusClimacus Shipmate
    A quick search gave me...
    We, clergywomen in the Episcopal Church, object to the comments by John C. Danforth, a former Republican senator from Missouri and a priest in the Episcopal Church, regarding the accusation of sexual assault made by Christine Blasey Ford against Brett Kavanaugh, President Trump’s Supreme Court nominee.

    In your article, Mr. Danforth said he feels “terribly sorry for Kavanaugh” and considers Dr. Blasey’s allegations against Judge Kavanaugh to be a tragic repeat of the damage to Justice Clarence Thomas’s reputation after Anita Hill’s allegations of sexual harassment against Mr. Thomas.

    No one, not least a priest of the church, should publicly shame, blame or question the motives of women who step forward to report instances of sexual abuse; Mr. Danforth should instead be calling for an in-depth examination of Dr. Blasey’s allegations.

    ...
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Forthview wrote: »
    Gee D - the Cof S (Church of Scotland) is not established. There is no established church in Scotland.
    Do I recall correctly that the Church of Scotland’s status is “national church” rather than “established church”?

    tclune wrote: »
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    I have a vague recollection of a former Catholic priest being elected to office.

    Father Drinan perhaps?
    Quite possibly.

  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Forthview wrote: »
    Gee D - the Cof S (Church of Scotland) is not established. There is no established church in Scotland.

    I knew it was not in the same manner as the CoE (no automatic place for clergy in Parliament for example) but how would you describe its status?
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Gee D wrote: »
    Forthview wrote: »
    Gee D - the Cof S (Church of Scotland) is not established. There is no established church in Scotland.

    I knew it was not in the same manner as the CoE (no automatic place for clergy in Parliament for example) but how would you describe its status?
    As I noted in my post above, I think it’s status is “national church.”

  • BroJamesBroJames Purgatory Host
    The Kirk’s own take on this here is
    The Queen is not the supreme governor of the Church of Scotland, as she is in the Church of England. The sovereign has the right to attend the General Assembly, but not to take part in its deliberations. <snip>
    The Church of Scotland (the Kirk) is not State-controlled, and neither the Scottish nor the Westminster Parliaments are involved in Kirk appointments.

    The Kirk’s status as the national Church in Scotland dates from 1690, when Parliament restored Scottish Presbyterianism, and is guaranteed under the Act of Union of Scotland and England of 1707.
  • edited May 10
    There are plenty of clerics who have held very high political office.

    Several Catholic priests have held high political office, usually somewhat controversially. Take, Fulbert Youlou in the Republic of the Congo, for instance. Or Miguel d'Escoto Brockmann and Ernesto Cardenal in Nicaragua. Earlier on, and in Europe, there's Ignaz Seipel in Austria, who was an anti-Semite of note, but not as bad as Jozef Tiso in Slovakia, who was later executed for crimes against humanity.

    Amongst the Anglicans, there's the case of Walter Lini in Vanuatu.

    There is a tradition of Orthodox prelates serving as heads of state. Archbishop Makarios is the most famous, although he ruled despite objections from all three of his brother bishops in the Church of Cyprus.

    Damaskinos of Athens
    is perhaps less well-known, but probably more inspiring.

    Amongst the Calvinists, let it not be forgotten that the architect of apartheid was an ordained minister of the Dutch Reformed Church.


    All of these are examples of clergy in politics. I'm afraid that few of them are entirely positive examples. More inspiring, perhaps, is the case of Joachim Gauck, a Lutheran pastor and president of Germany until 2017. But it's been a long time since he's been active in religious ministry.

    Edited to fix Fulbert Youlou link. BroJames Purg Host.
  • Gramps49 wrote: »
    I doubt Danforth would have supported Kavangagh since Danforth retired from the Senate in 1995 and later wrote a brief in support of gay marriage. Can you give me a reference?

    I originally saw his comments in this article from the Episcopal News Service. Frankly they are worse than I remembered - it's clear he saw both men as victims and the women as scheming liars.

    I don't know what his stance on gay marriage has to do with anything. Plenty of people who behaved absolutely horribly during the Thomas hearings support gay marriage. Joe Biden comes to mind.
  • LothlorienLothlorien All Saints Host
    edited May 10
    Simon Toad wrote: »
    Am I right in thinking he's resigned his Gosford Commission to do this? Rev. Fred Nile has been in NSW Parliament for years of course. He was ordained in one of the reformed traditions and became a Uniting Church minister upon its formation. I think the connection has been severed by now.

    He probably feels called to do this.
    I read on his site elsewhere that he had taken leave to do this.

    Edited to remove duplicate quote. BroJames Purg host
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Thanks for those comments. Just what flows as a result of the CoS being the national church?

    The position of the mainline churches here is to be pretty liberal on most issues. Not so much so on Dead Horses issues, where there's a fair bit of disagreement, but on a whole range other topics - refugees, social services, income distribution, education and so forth. Then there was the long involvement of the Catholic Church with the Labor Party, flowing from the Irish background of many in the working classes 100 years ago and more. Of course, there was the part played by Abp Mannix of Melbourne in the split in Labor in 1955. At the same time Cardinal Gilroy, Abp of Sydney, would have weekly meetings with a series of Labor premiers of NSW.
  • LothlorienLothlorien All Saints Host
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    He's still listed on the Parish website FWIW. I can't think why a priest cannot run for parliament either as a matter of principle or legislation. It may be different in the England and Scotland given that the CoE and the CoS are established.
    Well, a priest in the Church of Scotland certainly can’t run for parliament, since there is no such thing as a “priest” in the Kirk. :wink: (And likewise, if this Australian candidate is in the Uniting Church and was ordained in a Reformed tradition, it seems highly unlikely that he is a “priest” either.)

    But pedantics aside, I can think of quite a few members of the clergy who have run for and been elected to public office in these parts. My impression is that they are most often Baptist ministers, but that may just be because there are so many Baptists around here. I can’t say I can specifically remember an Episcopal priest, Lutheran pastor, or a Presbyterian, Methodist or other mainline minister running for office, but it certainly could have happened. I have a vague recollection of a former Catholic priest being elected to office.
    Nick, he is an ordained Anglican priest in the diocese of Newcastle.

  • DavidDavid Shipmate
    I suppose the ultimate example of this sort of thing has to be Archbishop Makarios III, who, for seventeen years, was simultaneously Primate of the Church of Cyprus and the President of Cyprus.
  • Gee D wrote: »
    Thanks for those comments. Just what flows as a result of the CoS being the national church?

    A parish system that encompasses the entire country and an accompanying responsibility (not quite the "cure of souls" but in that vein) to all the residents of parish, most obviously manifest these days in conducting funerals. There is also a (diminishing) custom of religious observance in non-denominational schools which when it occurs almost always involves the Kirk. There is also the fact that the reigning monarch switches denomination at the border.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Right. I suppose that the monarch's right to have a High Commissioner at the national Synod is as well. Having a widespread parish system does not seem to me to make it a national church in any formal sense, otherwise there would be several churches here who could make that claim.
  • Gee D wrote: »
    Right. I suppose that the monarch's right to have a High Commissioner at the national Synod is as well. Having a widespread parish system does not seem to me to make it a national church in any formal sense, otherwise there would be several churches here who could make that claim.

    I think you're reversing cause and effect: the CofS maintains a parish system because it is a national church rather than it is a national church because it maintains a parish system. A parish system that is under considerable strain through the current dire shortage of ministers.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    edited May 10
    I think I'm using national church in a geographic sense,rather than something more formal. What I'm seeking to find out is what is that something more formal. Is it just the monarch's right to have the High Commissioner at Synod? With the CoE, there's the presence of some bishops in the legislature, then all that was spoken of recently on the marriage thread and lots more besides.
  • Ex_OrganistEx_Organist Shipmate
    David wrote: »
    I suppose the ultimate example of this sort of thing has to be Archbishop Makarios III, who, for seventeen years, was simultaneously Primate of the Church of Cyprus and the President of Cyprus.

    That could be considered as simply a reversion to older practice. Under the Byzantine Empire the Archbishop of New Justinia and all Cyprus was given the title of "ethnarch" as head of the nation, and was the Emperor's representative on the island, with some accompanying imperial priviliges (which are still maintained) including carrying a sceptre instead of a normal bishop's staff and signing his name in red ink. The status of ethnarch (as head of the Greek people) remained under the Ottomans, and only disappeared under British rule.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    The Church of Scotland after the 'establishment' of Presbyterianism in 1689-90 was a sort of Established church until the early 1900s when it assumed the title of National Church. Until that time there were tithes which had to be paid to the Church of Scotland.

    From the time of the Reformation until the establishment of Presbyterianism with the coming of William of Orange and Mary the Church of Scotland still had bishops who sat in the Scottish Parliament, but there were constant arguments and spats between those who upheld episcopacy and those who upheld Presbyterianism.

    One of the major arguments was about the place of the monarch in the church. The Presbyterians insisted that the monarch was simply one Christian amongst others and had no role in the governance of the Church.


    With the Presbyterian ascendancy the monarch more or less guaranteed in so many words to protect the Church. The monarch still sends to the General Assembly a 'Lord high Commissioner' who is treated during the Assembly time as a viceroy with the title of 'Your grace' and residence in the Royal Palace of Holyroodhouse.


    The Lord high Commissioner has the right to attend the General Assembly and may even be 'invited' to address the Assembly. He or she is tasked with making a report to the monarch about the work and decisions of the Assembly.

    In the past (and I am not sure if this still happens ),the Lord High Commissioner would make during Assembly time a visit to the 'other place'.

    Even after the Presbyterian ascendancy there were arguments about who was responsible for choosing the clergy, which led in 1843 to the Disruption and foundation of the Free Church of Scotland A lot of changes have taken place since then but the Free church has its Assembly at the same time as the Church of Scotland in a small church just over the road from the Church of Scotland Assembly hall and that church is the 'other place'.


    Just another aside. It is rare for the Church of Scotland to be referred to as the 'CofS'

    If you don't want to say the 'Church of Scotland,just say 'the Kirk'.
  • RicardusRicardus Shipmate
    edited May 10
    I think the distinction between priest and minister is an important one; my impression is that within the Reformed tradition, it's much more common (and perhaps even encouraged by the polity of the church) for the congregation to see it as their role to evaluate the soundness of the minister's teaching - whereas the more 'priestly' end of the church has a tendency towards 'Father knows best', or at least 'leave theology to the professionals', which makes the sort of spiritual abuse described by Enoch much more possible.

    (Even in the Church of England, IME people will complain that the priest doesn't take enough services, holds the wrong sort of services, holds services at the wrong time, uses the blue hymnbook instead of the red hymnbook, preaches for too long, is too frivolous, is too gloomy - but will very rarely complain about the theological soundness of their priest's teachings.)
  • DavidDavid Shipmate
    David wrote: »
    I suppose the ultimate example of this sort of thing has to be Archbishop Makarios III, who, for seventeen years, was simultaneously Primate of the Church of Cyprus and the President of Cyprus.

    That could be considered as simply a reversion to older practice. Under the Byzantine Empire the Archbishop of New Justinia and all Cyprus was given the title of "ethnarch" as head of the nation, and was the Emperor's representative on the island, with some accompanying imperial priviliges (which are still maintained) including carrying a sceptre instead of a normal bishop's staff and signing his name in red ink. The status of ethnarch (as head of the Greek people) remained under the Ottomans, and only disappeared under British rule.

    Ethnarch is one thing, president of a secular republic is quite another, as Makarios discovered during the ecclesiastical coup.
  • Ricardus wrote: »
    I think the distinction between priest and minister is an important one; my impression is that within the Reformed tradition, it's much more common (and perhaps even encouraged by the polity of the church) for the congregation to see it as their role to evaluate the soundness of the minister's teaching - whereas the more 'priestly' end of the church has a tendency towards 'Father knows best'.
    Certainly in the United Reformed Church - and possibly the Church of Scotland - it is the local Elders, rather than the Minister alone, who are charged "to see that public worship is regularly offered and the sacraments are duly administered".
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    Lothlorien wrote: »
    Nick Tamen wrote: »
    Gee D wrote: »
    He's still listed on the Parish website FWIW. I can't think why a priest cannot run for parliament either as a matter of principle or legislation. It may be different in the England and Scotland given that the CoE and the CoS are established.
    Well, a priest in the Church of Scotland certainly can’t run for parliament, since there is no such thing as a “priest” in the Kirk. :wink: (And likewise, if this Australian candidate is in the Uniting Church and was ordained in a Reformed tradition, it seems highly unlikely that he is a “priest” either.)

    But pedantics aside, I can think of quite a few members of the clergy who have run for and been elected to public office in these parts. My impression is that they are most often Baptist ministers, but that may just be because there are so many Baptists around here. I can’t say I can specifically remember an Episcopal priest, Lutheran pastor, or a Presbyterian, Methodist or other mainline minister running for office, but it certainly could have happened. I have a vague recollection of a former Catholic priest being elected to office.
    Nick, he is an ordained Anglican priest in the diocese of Newcastle.
    Ah, thanks Lothlorien. I must have misunderstood one of the earlier posts.

    Ricardus wrote: »
    I think the distinction between priest and minister is an important one; my impression is that within the Reformed tradition, it's much more common (and perhaps even encouraged by the polity of the church) for the congregation to see it as their role to evaluate the soundness of the minister's teaching - whereas the more 'priestly' end of the church has a tendency towards 'Father knows best'.
    Certainly in the United Reformed Church - and possibly the Church of Scotland - it is the local Elders, rather than the Minister alone, who are charged "to see that public worship is regularly offered and the sacraments are duly administered".
    Yep. That’s the case in all Reformed churches I’m familiar with.

    @GeeD, in addition to what @Forthview has said, my understanding is that what makes the Church of Scotland a national church is that it is recognized as such in law. What makes it not an established church is that the laws that recognize it as the national church also give it complete independence from the state in terms of government and in terms of support. With the usual disclaimers, this from the Wiki page on “Christian State” may be helpful:
    National church

    A number of countries have a national church which is not Established (as the official religion of the nation), but is nonetheless recognised under civil law as being the country's acknowledged religious denomination. Whilst these are not Christian states, the official Christian national church is likely to have certain residual state functions in relation to state occasions and ceremonial. Examples include Scotland (Church of Scotland) and Sweden (Church of Sweden). A national church typically has a monopoly on official state recognition, although unusually Finland has two national churches (the Evangelical Lutheran Church of Finland and the Finnish Orthodox Church), both recognised under civil law as joint official churches of the nation.

    More from the Wiki on the concept of “national church” here.
  • Gee DGee D Shipmate
    Thank you all, particularly Forthview and Nick Tamen. First, apologies for using CoS as an abbreviation when that's not used as CoE is.

    That note about payment of tithes is the sort of point I was looking for. I knew the history of the foundation of the Kirk, and then under the Stuarts; and of course the position of the Lord High Commissioner. Then, there's the way in which the Queen goes there when in Scotland, rather than to the SEC. The impression I now have from all your posts is that since the end of the nineteenth century, the name "national church" is by and large an informal categorisation.
  • Nick TamenNick Tamen Shipmate
    edited May 10
    Gee D wrote: »
    The impression I now have from all your posts is that since the end of the nineteenth century, the name "national church" is by and large an informal categorisation.
    I'm not sure I'd say “informal.” The Articles Declaratory of the Constitution of the Church of Scotland in Matters Spiritual, which were declared lawful by Parliament in the Church of Scotland Act of 1921, say:
    This Church is in historical continuity with the Church of Scotland which was reformed in 1560, whose liberties were ratified in 1592, and for whose security provision was made in the Treaty of Union of 1707. The continuity and identity of the Church of Scotland are not prejudiced by the adoption of these Articles. As a national Church representative of the Christian Faith of the Scottish people it acknowledges its distinctive call and duty to bring the ordinances of religion to the people in every parish of Scotland through a territorial ministry.
    And the oath taken by a new monarch in the Accession Council says:
    I, _______ by the Grace of God of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland and of My other Realms and Territories King, Defender of the Faith, do faithfully promise and swear that I shall inviolably maintain and preserve the Settlement of the true Protestant Religion as established by the Laws made in Scotland in prosecution of the Claim of Right and particularly by an Act intituled “An Act for securing the Protestant Religion and Presbyterian Church Government” and by the Acts passed in the Parliament of both Kingdoms for Union of the two Kingdoms, together with the Government, Worship, Discipline, Rights and Privileges of the Church of Scotland. So help me God.

    So, the Kirk's status as a non-established national church is recognized in UK law.
  • Simon ToadSimon Toad Shipmate
    edited May 10
    Has anyone made a successful transition from politician (back) to priest? That strikes me as a rather harder move to make.

    Sen. Michael Tate was Justice Minister in the Hawke Govt. He was appointed Ambassador to the Holy See where he decided to take Holy Orders. There are heaps of figures in history who have trod a similar path, hacking and killing their way through life before retiring to contemplate God. Tate's a good sort though. We toured Israel with him.

    I sometimes read extra letters into words unconsciously. Baptist Trainfan, you will always be Baptist Tranifarian to me. I respect your Tranifarian beliefs, naturally.
  • ForthviewForthview Shipmate
    Gee D do not worry about using 'CofS'. there is no law against this and occasionally one will see it, or even hear it. However the expression is not often used by people in Scotland.

    Queen Victoria was one of the first Hanoverian monarchs to come regularly to Scotland.
    (George IV came once in 1822 but I don't think he would have any interest in religion)
    Victoria liked the simple Presbyterian services and involved herself very much in the church life of Crathie Kirk near Balmoral Castle. She accepted that the local congregation 'called' their own minister and that she had no real say over this. Since then the monarchs in Scotland have attended Presbyterian services in Scotland and do not attend the services of the Episcopal church in Scotland.


    I completely understand why this is so, but find it difficult to accept that she can support the necessity of episcopal governance in England and find it unacceptable in Scotland.
    If she doesn't find bishops necessary for the governance of the Church ,is it good for that person to be the 'Supreme governor of the Church of the Church of England ?

    I suppose in the final analysis I suppose that it is just being polite to her Scottish subjects.
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