Beware the priest who posts theses on cathedral doors. Authorities should probably have learned this lesson long ago, but apparently Authority is a slow learner. And by far the biggest cathedral doors these days are located in virtual space.
The priest in this instance is the Reverend Edward Fride, aka “Father Ed” to his parish, the Roman Catholic Church of Christ the King in Ann Arbor, Michigan, who received international media coverage after experiencing a recent Martin Luther moment. The Authority figure is the Bishop Earl Boyea of nearby Lansing, Michigan, into whose bishopric the parish falls, and whose duties include, presumably, riding herd on potentially heretical utterances from priests.
The heresy? Fride posted a 4,000 word missive to his congregation—Luther only a posted a meager 2,500 or so words—titled “We’re Not in Mayberry Anymore, Toto,” in which he justified the idea that his parishioners “arm themselves,” as the Detroit Free Press phrased it, in accordance with the law of the State of Michigan, and attend the 8-hour long firearms safety and training classes required to legally obtain a concealed pistol license (CPL). Classes would be offered at parish facilities. It’s not as if he said anything outrageous like obtaining a CPL should be regarded as a new sacrament or any such thing. The crux of the heresy seemed to consist in Father Ed casting doubts on the ability of lawfully constituted Authority to protect good citizens from rape, murder and mayhem.
The Bishop took what might called an ecclesiastical, top down view of the matter, namely that the police and authority figures will protect from on high, and that Father Ed must cease and desist. No CPL classes at the church! Apparently, officially, as far as the Bishop is concerned, Mayberry endures, now and forever, Amen.
Neither Luther nor Father Ed could be accused of mincing words, which is probably why Father Ed’s earthy justifications for lawful CPL and firearm safety training presumably scared the complacency right out of some of his parishioners. His vision was maybe too disturbing for Ann Arbor, that Midwestern epicenter of heavenly dreaming, wherein the per capita consumption of Diet Coke and Zoloft appears to be about three standard deviations above the national mean.
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