Reactions to The Priests' Declaration
Svenska flaggan
In Swedish, please!

Dagen

December 14, 2005

Many signers of the Priest Declaration have been pressured locally

The impact on the media of the so called Priest Declaration was enormous. But several of those who signed the declaration have experienced how it is to end up in the fierce wind of political correctness.
876 priests in the Swedish church signed the declaration the pastor Yngve Kalin in Hyssna published on his home page on November 1st. The first 500 signatures came within a very few days.
"The gap between the politically controlled Church Assembly and many of us in the parishes is profound. Simply, something had to be done. That was the reason for the list", he says.

The Declaration a protest
According to Yngve Kalin the declaration is a protest against the claim of the political Church Assembly to interpret the doctrine of the church.
"The church has no mandate to bless anything that is outside of the God given order of creation, something the word of God does not affirm. It is to defraud people, to write a check without coverage", he says.

He confirms that several of the signers have gotten problems. Some have felt forced to remove their names on the list. Others have experienced that pressure from colleagues and superiors has increased. Of personal reasons some have abstained from signing all together or because of worry for the consequences.

Requested to remove their names
"Not in my wildest imagination, I could believe that priests had to answer to their employers for signing the Priest Declaration. There are also those who received letters from their rural deans, requesting they remove their names. But it honors the Archbishop that he stepped forward and declared that everybody had a right to their opinion. That happened after his chaplain first had declared that the bishops were going to contact the priests on the list."
"Other negative consequences are the fact that several parishes have experienced harsher relations to the public schools. Planned Advent services in the churches have been cancelled with the motivation that the list stands for values that are in opposition to those of the schools.
"I thought the values of the schools were democracy, freedom of speech, freedom of religion and the equal value of all human beings.
The principals and other critics obviously have not read the Declaration. It turned slightly comical when one principal demanded an "unlisted priest" (to lead the Advent service), a priest he mentioned by name. That priest was on the list!"

Mainly positive
But the overwhelming majority of the responses have been positive. Christians from all denominations have written to Yngve Kalin and expressed their support.
"Those who really have shown their colors are the young, and not the least the about 40 women priests who have signed. In addition I have received more than 1000 emails, many of those from friends and pastors in the traditional free churches."
Yngve Kalin thinks that the list made such an impact due to the fact that it was possible to do good local follow ups.

Surprising results
Many interesting interviews have come as a result. He mentions particularly one retired priest on the list who was given the question how he would react, if his own children were homosexual. The response came with the surprising information that he had two homosexual sons, that they respected each other and that his parental love was unshaken and above religion.
But even if the news reporting was OK, Yngve Kalin thinks that editorial columns and so called blogs, many times have vulgarized the debate and reduced it to slogans.
"I did not want to believe that the climate of the debate was that bad. I have been called ‘a devil in cassock’, ‘homophobe’ and all insulting words you can think of. Perhaps the most serious incident happened in a radio debate. Olle Burell, the group leader of the Social-Democratic Party of the Church Assembly, alluded to Nazism and Fascism and called the Priest Declaration ‘a black package with brown strings’."
Several of the bishops have said that they elected to give their support (to the decision to bless homosexual partnerships) to encourage stable relations between adults. Yngve Kalin views this as naive.
"Ten or eleven of them do not want to take the next step, i.e. to place same sex relationship on an equal footing with marriage between a man and a woman. That is expected to be the result of the ongoing political process. But it will be enormously difficult in the future to resist and to theologically argue against it, when the line in principle already has been overstepped. This is what I mean by calling it naive."

 

Article originally published in Dagen December 14, 2005. Written by Daniel Wärn.

Translation by Dr Birgitta Peterson.

To the Home Page of Yngve Kalin

2005-12-16