"When the fox preaches"

Posted by R. Berg on November 29, 2001

In Reply to: What is the meaning of this phrase? posted by Bruce Kahl on November 29, 2001

: : "When the fox preaches, look to the geese." Can anyone explain this German proverb?

: It is about keeping an awareness of hidden agendas like when I get calls from telemarketers wanting to "help" me refinance my mortgage.

: The fox has but one agenda which is to eat the geese.
: Your proverb states that if you let your guard down then Mr. Fox will do what comes naturally so stay alert.

It may also refer more narrowly to watching out for corrupt members of the clergy who promote their own concerns above the good of the congregation. Germany has or had a tradition of anticlericalism.