09 February 2022, The Tablet

Eliminating clericalism: Reform the seminaries


Clericalism is a virus in the Catholic Church that will be hard to eliminate. Its latest manifestation is the reported emergence from Catholic seminaries of a type of newly ordained priest who seems to be in love with the idea of being “special”. 

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User Comments (1)

Comment by: John Wright
Posted: 11/02/2022 16:57:26
One manifestation of clericalism, which, to a degree, we all share as Catholics, is the near absolute priority given to the sacraments. That position rightly belongs to Grace. Grace is what we need to follow Jesus unselfishly. Sacraments are, when given and received appropriately, channels and signs of Grace. So they are a means to a means, rather than the end itself. Priests obtain much of their power, which can lead to clericalism as this article shows, from their control of the sacraments.

I offered this perspective in my submission to the current synodal process. I was disappointed, though not surprised, that it appeared nowhere in the “summary” forwarded from my parish to the diocese.