From The Bitter Pill (aka The Tablet aka RU486). Make a decision before you read this to remain cool and composed. I worked on this a few days ago, but set it aside and then turned my own heat down a notch or two.
It will help a great deal if you keep in mind that the writer of this editorial probably just can’t help it.
My emphases and comments.
Dangers of Clericalism
21 May 2011
To be against clericalism is not the same as being anticlerical. The latter signifies strong secular resistance to the Catholic Church’s social and political power. Clericalism is about an excessive emphasis on the role of the clergy in the Church’s internal affairs. It implies clerical elitism, the superiority of the priesthood over the laity. [Do you accept this definition?] Anticlericalism, as a concept in Continental European politics, is some way past its sell-by date. But clericalism is very much still in currency as a key concept in analysing the cultural factors that gave rise to the clerical sex-abuse scandal inside the Catholic Church. [I don’t know what fueled the abuse of children among the Irish clergy, who were a large part of the body of priests who served all over England – and in the USA – but with “clericalism” it has to have been also homosexuality. But The Tablet wants you to think it is the older form of Mass.] It has almost [almost] become de rigueur for church leaders to say they are against clericalism in this context.
Clericalism was dealt a heavy blow by the emphasis in the teaching of Vatican II on the priesthood of all believers and on common baptism. [What The Pill is not acknowledging is that the priesthood of believers and the priesthood of the ordained are qualitatively different. Cf. Lumen gentium. But here come some clichés…] But there is evidence of a clericalist backlash among some of those undergoing training for the priesthood or recently ordained. In dress and attitude, some of them appear to hanker – almost [almost – what is it with this writer and “almost”?] narcissistically – after a restoration of the priest’s elevated status that characterised parish life in the 1950s. [A time when people went to confession, married in the Church, schools and hospitals were being opened… Who would want those days again?] A softer form of clericalism is still apparent in diocesan structures and in the Vatican itself, where few lay people are to be found, and usually in relatively junior positions. [softer… usually… relatively… but! … its “apparent”!] And clericalism automatically marginalises or excludes women. [Yes. Indeed it does.]
[Here is a lesson in weasel-like inuendo:] It is also sometimes implicit [sometimes implicit?] in the motivation [the writer is psychic too… apparently] of those who are pushing for the return of the Tridentine Rite to general use. [E.g. The Pope.] While the post-Vatican II new-rite Mass emphasises the Eucharist as an activity shared by the whole community, the Mass named after the Council of Trent [They are a bit behind the times. Few people say “Tridentine Mass” now. However, perhaps “Tridentine” was purposely chosen to make it sound archaic? You decide.] puts more weight on the separation of roles, with the priest active and the congregation passively watching. [The clichés just keep coming.]
The Vatican [read=The Enemy That pesky Vatican!] is continuing to put ammunition in the hands the pro-Tridentine lobby in the Church, [mixing metaphors a bit there… lobby and ammunition… but read on] as in the latest instruction, Universae Ecclesiae, issued by the Pontifical Commission Ecclesia Dei. Does it [The Vatican] not realise how much this will encourage divisive tensions in the Church and a spirit of reactionary rebellion against local episcopal authority, not to mention the revival of a misogynistic and elitist clericalism? [Want to meet an “elitist”? Find a liberal. Want to find a true “clericalist”? Find a liberal. Want to find a true hater of women? Find a liberal. Who is more likely to defy bishops? Traditionalists or liberals? Who is more likely to create division? The Tablet or, say, The Catholic Herald? Who is more likely to support contraception and abortion, which reduce women to sex objects, and homosexual “lifestyles”, which arguably are at the root of abuse of adolescent males by priests? The liberal catholic media or traditionally-minded Catholics?]
The reinstatement of the Tridentine Rite was intended to unify the Church and reconcile those alienated from it; [I warned you about this tactic. The first stated intention in Universae Ecclesiae for the provisions of Summorum Pontificum was to offer “to all the faithful the Roman Liturgy in the Usus Antiquior, considered as a precious treasure to be preserved”. The dissenters of The Pill have focused on the third point.] there is a real danger of it having the opposite effect. If bishops are not alarmed by this, they should be. [Get that? The Pill is defending bishops. I guess the enemy of my Enemy is my friend. Had the bishops been generous in the application of Ecclesia Dei adflicta, it is probable that Pope Benedict would not have issued Summorum Pontificum. I wonder what The Pill will say about bishops when they begin to acquiesce to the provisions of Summorum Pontificum? The Pill is only with the bishops when the bishops are with The Pill’s agenda.]
Meanwhile, the latest instruction from the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) regarding the handling of clerical abuse allegations moves in the opposite direction. [Watch them turn on the bishops now in favor of, wait for it, The Vatican… a Vatican which does something that The Pill wants.] It recognises that while bishops cannot shirk their responsibilities, they cannot be a law unto themselves in such matters. National episcopal conferences are being required to draw up guidelines and submit them to the Vatican. The importance of cooperation with secular authorities such as the police is emphasised, though curiously the CDF only stresses the duty to report all cases where that is already required by law. It needs to be more general than that: [?] in many countries there is no obligation to report a crime. [I can see some Chinese bishop in communion with Rome calling the Chinese Communist authorities because one of his priests was accused of something. Shame on The Vatican! The Vatican should impose global guidelines! No… wait… that’s what The Vatican did with Universae Ecclesiae. QUAERITUR: Does The Pill want centralized control or not? Only when it suits their ideology.] That apart, the instruction moves the Church into the real world, with best practice (as in England and Wales, perhaps) being made the common standard. As a result, the Church will be that much less clerical – and safer. [If the CDF got it right with the guidelines about clerical sexual abuse, then maybe the PCED, under the CDF, got it right with Universae Ecclesiae.]
It is the role of The Vatican to offer global guidelines for policies that please The Pill.
So, boys and girls, we have learned today that the old Mass is very very bad because it is clericalist. But the Novus Ordo is very very good because it isn’t. Never mind that the Novus Ordo forces a priest towards a manner of celebrating focused on himself in a way unthinkable in the ars celebrandi of the older form of Holy Mass.
The Pill tries to create a moral equivalence between those who want the older form of the Roman Rite and clerical sexual abusers.
The Pill thinks that clericalism produced clerical sexual abuse of children. The CDF issued something good but not perfect about this obvious scourge. The Pill suggests that people who want the older forms of worship are narcissists reviving the obvious scourge of clericalism. Child abusers are, by the way, in the liberal mind, don’t abuse because they are homosexuals. Abusers abuse because of clericalism. That’s the connection they are trying to drive you to make. According to The Pill, The Vatican reined in those dealing with clerical sexual abuse (bishops, bishops conferences). The Vatican ought to have reined in those who want the older worship, which will surely produce clericalist narcissistic child abusers.
Annoy the writers of The Pill just as you annoyed those at Fishwrap.