Clericalism among the laity – a big problem???

My previous guest posting was from “Speaking up”, see description below. This individual presents a very insightful statement about clericalism among the laity who work within the institutional church. Do diocesan, parish-level, Catholic university laity, teachers, DRE’s … etc protect the institutional church at the expense of those they are meant to serve? Let me hear from you, both religious and lay?? DrNick

Speaking-up” is a pseudonym for an individual who chooses to be known only by this title. This individual is a frequent contributor to this posting site. I have been impressed with the level of intelligence and depth of insight “speaking-up” has brought to the various topics of discussion. As a result, I privately approached this individual -off the record-and asked this person to be a guest blogger. I will only tell you that this person is schooled in philosophy, theology and psychology. Speaking-up addresses the problem of clericalism in both the laity and the clergy and its very destructive effects on the human community. Questions

Clericalism among the laity:  The laity also go through a Formation, of sorts, through years of catechism, through which they are taught to be trusting and obedient to their superiors.  While the management of the parishioners’ confidential files… police-checks etc. are presently being handled by clergy and lay-leaders, I am hoping that there is more transparency and accountability towards victims.  However, the authoritarian leadership-style that the laity is being exposed to does not include an “effective” reporting-hierarchy or mediation strategies to ensure fairness and social justice.  At the diocesan level, committees have been set-up for the reporting of sexual abuse, but none in relation to religious abuse, which is a precursor for sexual abuse.  In the past, if the victims took their grievances up the chain of command, they would be sent back, down the ranks, to the original abusers, at whose hands they would be re-traumatized. There was no concern for the victims’ pain, sense of betrayal, hurt, faith-crisis etc. as clericalism is a complex and sophisticated system that protects its own. Without the necessary checks and balances against the abuse of power, this new collaboration between clergy and lay-leaders could turn out to be no different.  Is this simply an internal transfer of the main players, while the same autocratic and high-handed policies remain in force?  How often have transfers been used as cooling-off periods to protect offenders and to avoid accountability?  If the laity is to function as servant-leadership, will the clergy change their top-down position and model Christ-like behavior?  If the laity is not given the proper training to carry out its duties, how will it succeed?  How will the laity perform as ‘middle-man’ between their superiors (clergy) and the parishioners?  Will the lay-leaders be “thrown under the bus” as have some good priests who have spoken-up against injustice?  Will it be safer for them to buy into the prevalent culture of secrecy and silence instead of voicing their concerns?  Will the future generation be asking the clergy to take over the management if this present arrangement falls through?  Will the future generation know anything about the present-day clergy sex-abuse of nuns and children, just as this generation knows very little about Vatican 11?  Will Vatican-conservatism reintroduce the ‘spiritual-aids’ that have helped clericalism in the past?  Are they not already doing this with the new (old)  missal, the Latin-Mass, the bells and smells, the difficult-to-understand scholarly documents?  Will the laity become another breed of gods …  legions of them… warring against each other and against the clergy, while we stand by and watch clericalism destroy our church?


2 Responses to Clericalism among the laity – a big problem???

  1. Deacon Bill says:

    The laity employed at the parish level are enablers of clericalism either overtly or silently. One need look no further than the firing of church empolyees simply because they joined Call to Action. The message is clear: Do not do what I disapprove of!

    Lay enablers do good work within the bounds set by the cleric, but they are not free to follow the Holy Spirit’s prompting to go outside the clerical limits which means they are not free to follow their conscience without risking their livelihood.

    Those that are most responsible for clericalism, beside the pope, are the Lay Catholic Fat Cats who use the power of their secret money to support medievalism. If this “evil” money disappearred tomorrow, then Catholic laity as a whole would not be as easily ignored. It is the “secret Fat Cat money” that corrupts the church as a whole.

    These scandals would not exist if it were not for the laity’s money. I believe the only way to effect a change and eliminate the attacks on our children is to stop the money which supports systemic clericalism.

    Sadly I think this is very unlikely to happen, and for what it is worth, I blame the laity for perpetuating clericalism with their money, with the result being that more children will be sodomozed and the bishops will continue to keep the crimes secret. Why do I say that, because the best predictor of future behavior is past behavior, and there is no oversight for bishops who are still free to secretly break the law and protect abusers.

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