View from the choir

I am a Catholic layperson and Secular Franciscan with a sense of humor. After years in the back pew watching, I have moved into the choir. It's nice to see faces instead of the backs of heads. But I still maintain God has a sense of humor - and that we are created in God's image.

Monday, January 16, 2006

Priest/bikini flap

OSLO (Reuters) - The Church of Norway forced a priest to resign on Friday from a panel set to judge bikini-clad women competing to be the country's Miss Universe contestant.

Einar Gelius, an Oslo Lutheran vicar, has said it was his right to do as he wished during his spare time, but church members said that as a clergyman he always represented the Church and should not be seen to be judging other humans.

"This competition represents a view of humans that is not in accordance with the Church's," said Arne Groeningsaeter, head of the Oslo diocese council, a state body that hires priests.

"The Church should preach that we are all equal and this competition's view of woman is particularly disturbing."

The panelists will judge 12 women between the ages of 17 and 22 in Saturday's televised show in order to choose a Norwegian contestant for the global Miss Universe final. The show's audience will get to choose which woman will become Norway's contestant for the
Miss World competition.

The women will parade in front of the judges first in fashion wear, then in evening dress and finally in bikinis.

Gelius resisted pressure to resign for a week until he was asked to do so by the Bishop of Oslo.

On one level, I fully understand why he could not be a judge.

After all, staring at women’s barely clad bodies in a contest is offensive. Why doesn’t he just do that by watching television like the rest of us?

Of course, it could have been worse.

He could have been looking at nuns in bikinis.

Or men in bikinis. (Oh, right, that wouldn’t have been a problem in Norway. They allow gay marriage there.)

Or he could be wearing bikinis under his robes when he preaches.

I don’t know if this is the last we’ll here of this issue.

The Book of Daniel needs some more plot twists.


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