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Cardinal Frings relaxing "you shall not steal"

Reader comment on item: Can Islam Be Reformed?

Submitted by myth (Germany), Jul 4, 2013 at 08:46


Here's how Cardinal Frings relaxed a commandment in the winter of 1946 in the name of Christianity. Quote from the wikipedia article:

Cardinal Frings is eternalised in the Kölsch language with the word "fringsen" (verb, literally translates as "to Frings") which became synonymous for "stealing food" and other low-value consumables out of need. The expression dates back on his New year's Eve sermon which he held on 31 December 1946 in the St. Engelbert church in Cologne-Riehl, in which he referred to the looting of coal trains and the bad supply situation in the grim winter:

We live in times where the single individual, in his need, ought to be allowed to take what he needs to preserve his life and health, if he cannot obtain it through other means, work or bidding.

Accordingly the term "fringsen" refers to obtaining food and fuel for the winter among Cologne citizens. However, it is often overlooked that Cardinal Firings, in the very next sentence, also put the onus of returning the goods or repaying the original owner as soon as possible on whoever would appropriate consumables in this fashion:

But I think that in many cases, this was grossly overdone. And then there is only one way: Promptly return unlawful gains, or there will be no forgiveness with God.


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