Obey the Rules

When one takes a job at a company you are told the rules up front, perhaps in your contract, and there is an expectation that you will obey these rules or face the consequences of breaking them.  There have been some examples this past week of what happens when one breaks the rules.

The first one is a religious one, and I wrote about there here and here and not to dwell on it, when the bishop makes a rule, right or wrong, its the rule and we clergy have to obey what he says.  We can appeal his decision to the next higher authority in our particular church but his rule is his rule.  Regardless of what some comenters on these pages say, the bishop is the authentic interpreter of the Holy Canons.  I am not a fully versed in the canons of our church, and I think you would be hard pressed to find someone who it otherwise Holy Cross Seminary would not be having such a hard time replacing their long time professor who wishes to retire.  With that said, I do not believe there is a specific canon that says a priest should wear a cassock or for that matter have a beard.  That is what we call tradition, and I know we say our traditions never change, the fact is they do.  Our Theology does not change but our traditions do otherwise we would all be speaking Greek in our Orthodox Churches.

Keith Olberman

The other example is a political one.  MSNBC host Keith Olbermann was suspended on Friday for a violation of NBC News rules.  NBC, that parent company of MSNBC, has a rule that their on air hosts and news personnel cannot contribute to political candidates unless they get previous permission from management and then the donation is disclosed.  This is not, as some people have tried to claim, and infringement on free speech because when you are an on air personality for an network they own your speech, and Mr. Olbermann was aware of this rule when he signed his contract.

I commend NBC News for not only having this rule but holding their on air folks to a high standard.  now MSNBC is, and Keith Olbermann surely is, a liberal voice just as Fox News is the Conservative voice.  I have no problem with their view points but I think when you contribute to candidates and help them raise money by either donating yourself or headlining fundraisers your claim of fair and balanced goes out the window.  Hey, be who you are and be proud of it, no problem, everyone knows that Fox News is the mouth piece of the Republican Party and I am okay with that, just be who you are.

The bottom line in both of these stories is you break the rules you suffer the consequences.  This has nothing to do with the actions of management, either bishop or boss, because they are upholding their rules and that is their job, the employee or priests job is to obey those rules, if you don’t like the rules don’t take the job.


  1. The problem when working for other people is you have to follow the rules even if you disagree.
    If you strongely feel that the rules are wrong then its time to find a company that holds your values and interest.
    money is not everything,you may have to take a lesser paying job to up hold your beliefs,but thats the price you pay for freedom.

  2. Father bless. The part you keep leaving out is that his parishioners report that he did get out of his cassock and put on his Roman collar when told to do so. If he in fact did obey, then what is the justification? Even if he was disobedient, wouldn't you say that being dismissed over clothing and purported negative remarks is a bit much? The Bishop interprets the canons, but they cannot possibly mean just whatever he says they say. That would be some strange postmodernist deconstructionism. As to the canons on clergy dress, I do know that the Russian church has a rule (I've read it) stating that priests are to wear cassocks (my son's ROCOR deacon godfather wears it all the time), and that if possible they are to have long hair and a beard. So, in at least some branches of the church, this is the general law.

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