11 April 2014
Priest shortage is symptomatic of over-clericalised Church
The question of the so-called shortage of priests, as with other issues presented to us, can be approached by seeking immediate and short-term solutions. This, I believe, would entail “managing decline”, whereas what we are facing is something long-term and systemic and therefore more to do with ongoing conversion than tinkering with an ailing machine. The division of the Church into a dominant clerical Church over/against a second-class lay Church can no longer be sustained.
Regarding our basic parish communities I believe the effort to maintain our smaller communities is in the short term, very worthwhile and possible with greater preparation of leadership in these communities: the Church is after all a community of faith. In the long term, however, we have to look at the whole governance of the Church, often seen as written in stone, but far from it if we study our own history. The lack of persons in the community deputed to lead us in the celebration of the Eucharist has gone on far too long and is an unnecessary scandal, but also a symptom, not the heart, of the challenge we face.
Canon JG Koenig, Kettering, Northants
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