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What form of church government prevents corruption?

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posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 09:50 AM
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In looking at my own experiences with churches and talking to others, it seems that more than half of priests and pastors are abusing the confidence of their parishioners in various ways such as enriching themselves, seducing parishioners, or just not doing their job.

The American government has checks and balances designed with the expectation that politicians will be corrupt. Churches should probably have systems like this also - especially because the blind faith a person has in a religion tends to flow onto the priest/pastor and this gives greater opportunities for abuse.

I've really only attended church regularly twice in my life and in both cases the priests were very corrupt in my opinion - so corrupt that I don't think they could have been Christians.

Just wondering if experienced church-goers can explain how different kinds of churches deal with these problems and give me their guess about what percentage of priests/pastors are corrupt.




posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 09:58 AM
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reply to post by cloudyday
 

Any system is necessarily open to corruption, because it is staffed by human beings.
One advantage of a big organisation (like the Church of England) is that central structure can provide a check on local tyrants and self-appointed leaders.
Then the balance starts tipping in the opposite direction.
The answer is "eternal vigilance".


edit on 5-3-2012 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 10:38 AM
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Originally posted by DISRAELI
reply to post by cloudyday
 

Any system is necessarily open to corruption, because it is staffed by human beings.
One advantage of a big organisation (like the Church of England) is that central structure can provide a check on local tyrants and self-appointed leaders.
Then the balance starts tipping in the opposite direction.
The answer is "eternal vigilance".


edit on 5-3-2012 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)


Thanks, both churches I attended were small parishes with about 100-150 people on a typical weekend. The first church was Episcopal and the second church was Orthodox.

Do you happen to know who a priest "works for" in a hierarchical denomination? Are they paid a fixed sum from the diocese based on seniority?

I actually suspect the problem is worse for small parishes. Maybe government could require an expensive license for churches that would push the smaller parishes to merge. This would mean fewer positions for priests and pastors and hopefully only the best would continue to serve in churches.
edit on 5-3-2012 by cloudyday because: (no reason given)

edit on 5-3-2012 by cloudyday because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 10:54 AM
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reply to post by cloudyday
 

I was once on the Parochial Church Council of an Anglican parish, but my knowledge is a little rusty.
As for "who they work" for, I think it's only in the last few decades that Anglican priests have lost their status of "self-employed" as far as the tax-man was concerned. I believe they are now employees of the church. It was always possible for them to be disciplined by the bishops, but it is probably a lot easier now to remove them.
I also remember having to vote on the minister's salary (he discreetly left the room while we were doing it), but this was just a case of following guidelines provided by the hierarchy; the Treasurer recommended a figure and we said OK.

All this has evolved from the situation a couple of centuries ago, when a parish "living", as they called them, was a piece of property; you got the income that came with it, which might be in the form of tithes and rents, and it was yours for life if you wanted to keep it. Even now, I think your income as a minister would vary according to the parish you were in, not according to your own seniority.

I can't speak for, say, the Catholics; I don't know what their set-up is.




edit on 5-3-2012 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)



posted on Mar, 5 2012 @ 12:33 PM
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Originally posted by DISRAELI
reply to post by cloudyday
 

I was once on the Parochial Church Council of an Anglican parish, but my knowledge is a little rusty.
As for "who they work" for, I think it's only in the last few decades that Anglican priests have lost their status of "self-employed" as far as the tax-man was concerned. I believe they are now employees of the church. It was always possible for them to be disciplined by the bishops, but it is probably a lot easier now to remove them.
I also remember having to vote on the minister's salary (he discreetly left the room while we were doing it), but this was just a case of following guidelines provided by the hierarchy; the Treasurer recommended a figure and we said OK.

All this has evolved from the situation a couple of centuries ago, when a parish "living", as they called them, was a piece of property; you got the income that came with it, which might be in the form of tithes and rents, and it was yours for life if you wanted to keep it. Even now, I think your income as a minister would vary according to the parish you were in, not according to your own seniority.

I can't speak for, say, the Catholics; I don't know what their set-up is.

edit on 5-3-2012 by DISRAELI because: (no reason given)


There are a few possible drawbacks to hierarchical churches:
(1) Many parishioners feel married to that particular denomination, so they often can't vote with their feet and go to another church. Orthodox in the U.S. have the added ethnic dimension to make them feel stuck.
(2) The priest might feel that he is more accountable to the bishop instead of the parish, and most bishops would probably tend to believe the priest over a layperson unless the evidence is overwhelming.
(3) There is often a shortage of priests and the bishop might decide to give the priest "one more chance" when he should be defrocked.

I don't have any experience attending a non-hierarchical church, but I suspect the quality of the lay people leading the parish makes all the difference. On the other hand, there might tend to be personality cults around popular pastors that would lead to corruption.




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