UPDATE 10 May 2019:
Fr. Longenecker has a post about different layers of clericalism. It is well written and has a good insight that builds on what I wrote, below. Go over there to get the full line of his argument, but here is a sample. And he nailed something important.
[I’d] like to add to Fr Z’s rant by pointing out another form of clericalism which is strangling the church today.
Remember “clericalism” comes from the word “cleric” or “clerk”. A priest was once called “a clerk in Holy Orders”. This is because when only the priests and monks were literate they held most of the office jobs.
So the form of clericalism strangling the church today is the clericalism of bureaucracy. Rather than serving the people of God the diocesan officials are the clerks (but not in Holy Orders) who quash spiritual initiatives with paperwork, forms, codes of conduct, assessment plans, annual reports, financial compliance reports, regulations, regulations, regulations.
Try starting up a local faith initiative that needs diocesan approval. You will have the clericalism of the diocese all over you pointing out a hundred and one reasons why this won’t work, your vision will fail and you will not get approval. You will have to go through insurance company procedures, financial projections, feasibility studies and more.
They will say, “This is to protect our children” or “this is to protect you.”
_____ Originally Published on: May 8, 2019
I’m catching up on some reading. I found one thing at American Conservative to pass along which, as I have said of other pieces in the past, you ought to read every word.
As I read it, it resonated with my ideas are about what real clericalism is. These days there is a kind of “clericalism” cobbled up into a strawman by libs and homosexualists as a smokescreen for their agendas.
There is a terrible clericalism in the Church, but its main exponents are NOT traditionalists or conservatives. Libs are the worst of all. For an example of the worst sort of clericalism, take the dreadful propensity of lib priests who condescendingly bring all sorts of lay people up into the sanctuary (to “clericalize” them) so that they can do things that the priest is supposed to do. Thats a way of saying, “Your dignity as a baptized Catholic isn’t enough. But I shall confer more upon you by my fiat.”
In the piece at AC, we find another kind of clericalism, that flows through and from the Second Vatican Council.
Evelyn Waugh Predicted the Collapse of Catholic England
He saw Vatican II as an attempt by elites to foist changes on a laity that didn’t want them.
Read the whole thing, there.
One of Waugh’s most persistent criticisms of the liturgical changes is that progressive, elitist-driven experimentation hurts ordinary people the most, undermining their confidence in important institutions. Vatican II represented, in Waugh’s mind, a rejection of the needs and opinions of local people. “A vociferous minority has imposed itself on the hierarchy and made them believe that a popular demand existed where there was in fact not even a preference,” he warned.
Nor were parish priests, the local leaders who best understand the common man, sufficiently consulted. Waugh wrote: “I know of none whose judgment I would prefer to that of the simplest parish priest. Sharp minds may explore the subtlest verbal problems, but in the long routine of the seminary and the life spent with the Offices of the Church the truth is most likely to emerge.”