Lifestyle & Belief

Website allows users to rate their priests


Pope Benedict XVI greeting pilgrims in 2004. He scored 3.81 out of 6 in the website ratings. (Photo courtesy of flickr user Sergey Gabdurakhmanov)

Blog post by Rahul Joglekar, PRI's The World.

Priests in Germany need to up their game or they will be marked out as "black sheep." And that is not just a figure of speech. A website that is slowly becoming popular among churchgoers there is asking users to rate their priests.

The higher the rating, the whiter the sheep that goes with the name of the priest.

The website is called Hirtenbarometer which translates as the shepherd's barometer. The website asks users to rate their priests on criteria like performance in church, with youth, with the elderly and the quality of the service.

There's also a category to check if your priest is "up-to-date." You can rate the priest on a scale of one to six and then an aggregate score will be drawn up and your priest will be given a color of sheep to go with the rating.

"This is an attempt at rating the priest's work not the priest," Fabein Ringwald, one of the curators of the website, told me in during a recent phone conversation. "There are only very few outlets for people in little communities to talk about what goes on in their church. We thought this is an entertaining way for people to engage in a healthy discussion about their church."

Time magazine reported that the website includes approximately 25,000 parishes and some 8,000 priests that are ratable, from Catholic, Orthodox, and Evangelical traditions.

So, what about the world's best known Catholic priest: the Pope? Well, at the time of writing this blog, the Pope had an aggregate score of 3.81 out of 6.

Read the rest of this post on The World website.


PRI's "The World" is a one-hour, weekday radio news magazine offering a mix of news, features, interviews, and music from around the globe. "The World" is a co-production of the BBC World Service, PRI and WGBH Boston. More about The World.