Pastor nets windfall after Catholic conversion

AFP - [email protected]
Pastor nets windfall after Catholic conversion

A parish pastor in the Swedish Church claimed a parachute payment amounting to almost 250,000 kronor ($46,000) following his conversion to Catholicism, an award which has been roundly criticized by the bishop.


The pastor was employed with the Protestant Church of Sweden (Svenska kyrkan) in a parish in the diocese of Strängnäs in eastern Sweden prior to his conversion to the Catholic faith.
Prior to his religious awakening the pastor had secured an agreement to receive six months salary as a parachute payment in order to quit his job, according to a report in the local Nerikes Allehanda daily. This sum amount to just short of 250,000 kronor.
Bishop Hans-Erik Nordin in Strängnäs is however not amused by the arrangement, calling the parachute payment "ethically problematic", the newspaper reported.
"If you have decided to convert then you have to take the consequences of that decision," the bishop argued. 
The bishop is now keen to avoid attending the pastor's farewell sermon on Sunday due to the ethical dilemma.
The pastor has explained his decision to convert as a result of "deep reflection over the summer", which he said left him with little alternative but to become a Catholic.
"But my decision meant that I risked being left penniless," he said to the newspaper.
Until 2000 the Church of Sweden was considered a state church but on January 1st of that year this relationship was changed with a formal separation of church and state.

With over 6.6 million baptised members, the Church of Sweden is the largest Lutheran church in the world.


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