German Website Lets Users Rate Their Priests

Hirten Barometer, which translates in English to “Shepherds’ Barometer,” is a German site that allows its users to actually rate church officials, based on a number of different criteria. The basic assessment includes categories such as worship, credibility, “Finger on the Pulse,” youth work, and senior work. See the story at HuffPost.


  1. The best part are the sheep. It is about the time that the clergy get evaluated in terms of black sheep and white sheep. Though I do also like the idea that at some point black sheep should be turned into wolves!

    Actually 3.89 (B16) and 4.56 (JP2) on a 6.00 scale are not good grades. Looks like people are not applying grade inflation to the clergy. That is like a B- and a B.

  2. I dunno about this. Some frequent PTB readers who work in education might be familiar with the “Rate My Professor” website. Rate My Professor comments are rarely constructive and often based on post-course dissatisfaction with the final grade. The addition of an additional “chili pepper” icon for “attractive” professors brings the survey site to a new ethical low point. Sadly, students often use this data when making course selections.

    Given the internet anonymity factor, I would not regard any anonymous online survey of the clergy as a sure barometer of a priest’s ministry. Then again, what might appear to be a trifling annoyance to one person might be a major disagreement or scandal for another.

  3. Without question, there are good priests and less good priests and some bad priests. I live in the south (Archdiocese of Atlanta) and therefore have some experience with practices in Protestant churches. You do what they (the congregation) want or you move on. The result is pastors who are not shepherds but sheep, and frequently causes fights and lobbying among congregants to approve or disapprove oaf a pastor. Imagine Jesus changing his message to please the Pharisees. So, aside from the other comment about ‘rate my professor’ sites, I doubt this ‘Shepherd barometer’ will be of much use. As it is now, the Archbishop has some idea about what his priests are doing, and those who are less effective tend to be farmed out to smaller rural parishes. That is not entirely fair, particularly to folks like me who have spent a lot of time in the smaller, rural parishes, but you can also see why it happens.

    1. 1. Does an ordinary have no other discipline tool for less effective priests than change of assignment? Is the clerical culture such a culture of entitlement that there is nothing which can be taken away from under achievers? Is there no power of the ordinary to require remedial education or some sort of detention?

      2. I do not know the size of the presbyterate in Atlanta, but in St. Louis, the rotating careerists who become ordinaries mostly only know about the clergy what the chancery insiders choose to tell them. I think some kind of regular and anonymous lay evaluation by a large percentage of parishioners is very important and that all the un-edited comments should be read by the ordinary.

      Of course, a voluntary and unofficial site will generate the negative effects well known for “Rate My Professor,” but precisely because they are well known, allowances can be made. What is important is the anonymity from the priests and insiders of the parish and diocese and that the evaluations be known to be used by the ordinary.

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