Priest Reveals Names of Church Leavers

Austrian Times
January 27, 2012

A priest has named and shamed those of his congregation who left the church last year. Eight names from the congregation of 2000 in Sitzendorf an der Schmida in Austria were read out to the remaining church goers. The priest has been condemned by prominent members of the church and even data protectionists.

Father Nicolaas Janssens revealed the full names to his congregation of those who had withdrawn their membership to the church, with the "black sheep" describing the experience as being "sent to the pillory". The priest has now apologised for his actions, saying that he never meant to hurt anyone and Mayor Leopold Hummel has also protected the priest. "There will be no disadvantage to those who have been revealed. We are not so conservative here," he explained.

Jessen's superior, Dean Christian Blauensteiner has also shown his support. "The priest has apologised many times. The strong reaction has had a real effect on him," the dean explained. The revealing of the names was described simply as "not wise".

Gregor König from the data protection agency thinks that the issue is more serious than that however. "The priest could even face a civil rights case," he explained. The Archdiocese of Vienna has also reacted saying, "The revealing of the names of people who have left the church is illegal." It is forbidden in state and church regulations.


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