Church is relaxed on scrapping of oath

Archbishop Ieronymos, the head of the Church of Greece, has suggested in an interview with Sunday’s Kathimerini that he would not stand in the way of the abolition of Greeks having to take a religious oath in various walks of life. Swearing-in ceremonies are carried out across various professions, including for MPs, soldiers and civil servants. Ieronymos did not specify whether he would be comfortable with an across-the-board abolition of the practice or just in specific areas. «The abolition of the religious oath does not create any problems for the Church – in fact, it is the consequence of its teaching, which is that ‘yes’ should mean ‘yes’ and ‘no’ should mean ‘no,’» he said. Ieronymos added that taking an oath does not prevent people from doing wrong «when the inner person has been destroyed.» The idea of scrapping the religious oath is nothing new and has been brought up from time to time, particularly by the parties of the left, as has the idea of a clear separation between the Church and the state. Ieronymos suggested that the latter idea is being put forward by «certain ideological groups» whose main aim is to «wipe out the spiritual influence of the Church of Greece on Greek society.» Nevertheless, the archbishop said that he would not stand in the way of such a separation if it was what Greeks truly want. «If the state wants such a separation, it has the opportunity, if not the duty, to put it to the judgment of the Greek people, who should decided what they want.» Commenting on recent events in Athens, Ieronymos went on to say that it was «natural» for young people to protest but he condemned the destruction.

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