Thursday, April 17, 2008

On Clericalism---and Consequences

Russell Shaw defines it neatly.

“By clericalism I mean an elitist mindset, together with structures and patterns of behavior corresponding to it, which takes it for granted that clerics – in the Catholic context, mainly bishops and priests – are intrinsically superior to the other members of the Church and deserve automatic deference. Passivity and dependence are the laity’s lot.”

It is a perversion, or maybe a denial, of the "Servant-Priest" model given by Christ and exemplified by Benedict XVI.

Apply that where necessary.

(Taken from a FT article written by Fr. Neuhaus, quoted in ChristusVincit.)

By coincidence, Dreher posts loosely-relevant stuff today.

...This is why so many orthodox Catholics are so angry over the sort of things that strike many liberal and moderate Catholics as petty matters. They see their traditions being pissed on and pissed away, often by the very clerics and bishops who are given the sacred responsibility of defending them, preserving them and passing them on. The orthodox know that theirs is not simply a matter of taste, of aesthetic preference. They understand intuitively that there are some things you can't muck around with without altering the belief -- and if you alter belief, you risk altering the community's identity, and, far worse, eternal destiny.

When there's liturgical abuse, when there's heresy taught from pulpits, when the truth does not get taught for whatever reason or the other, you inculcate within your people an indifference, or hostility, to tradition and its demands. You inculcate a hostility to legitimate authority. When people lose their sense of authority, they come to see claims to authority being only a pretense for power. They don't understand why they should obey authority in the first place. They become their own authority. And Catholicism atrophies, and maybe even dies, even though it still calls itself Catholic

Which taken together means that clericalism, in addition to being cancerous, is most aggressive when applied to the destruction of Tradition--as is often the case--especially when the Tradition being destroyed is that of the Servant-model.

And don't for one second think that Clericalism died at the close of the Second Vatican Council.

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