Monday, March 23, 2009

priest-politician: an anomaly in the hierarchy and a dilemma for the laity

Universal Church Law No. 273: “Clerics have a special obligation to show reverence and obedience to the Supreme Pontiff and to their own Ordinary.”

“Clerics” necessarily include Deacons, Priests and Bishops. “Obligation” is something personal or official that must be done or avoided by the agent concerned.
“Special” is something distinct, specific and categorical. “Ordinary” means that common, standard and concrete ecclesiastical superior of the Cleric. How then could a Priest be a subordinate both of his ecclesiastical superior and his political constituents or government bosses at the same time!?

Universal Church Law No.285, 3: “Clerics are forbidden to assume public office whenever it means the exercise of civil power.”

“Forbidden” means the expressed ban, pronounced prohibition or explicit restriction to be or do something. “Public office” has usual reference to properly secular agenda or strictly temporal task conferred by the people as a public trust. “Civil power” is identified with government secular authority or temporal rule. How thus could a Priest in, of and for the Church, and simultaneously exercise civil power in the State?

Universal Church Law No. 287, 2 “Clerics should not play an active role in politics...”

“Politics” is ordinarily identified with the art of secular governance, the administration of public affairs, the running of temporal concerns in favor of public welfare. How therefore could a Priest be a politician at the same time after no less than two separate official and categorical Church prohibitions to be such!?

By the way, When a Priest alleges he is “on leave”—this is a duplicity as there is no such thing in the Church—the insinuation of such a phrase is that the priest will be anybody or anything as he pleases, until such time when he finds it convenient, helpful or secure to minister as a priest again. A priest-politician is an ambivalence, a dichotomy, a schizophrenia.

Here is an unsolicited advice: When a Priest wants to be somebody or something else other than an honest to goodness Priest, let him secure his dispensation from all his ordained clerical obligations, definitively and permanently. Then, he is free to be and to do whatever he pleases. But to be a hyphenated Priest-Politician is a big anomaly in the Church and a dilemma – if not a scandal – for many lay people.

+OVC, DD
March 23, 2009