26 November 2020, The Tablet

Topic of the week: Shed the Church’s feudal trappings


Your editorial (“Our feudal Church must reform”, 21 November), while accurately summarising problems within our Church, leaves us to ask where we start with reform. A possible beginning is with clerical attire.

This starts at the very top. A pope (or pope emeritus) only ever appears in white, as though he or his advisers are frightened others may realise he is a human being like the rest of us. The mitre worn by bishops must encourage some to feel superior, together with corresponding feelings of inferiority among the laity.

This is reflected in the outdated modes of address the Church still encourages. Referring to “His Eminence”, “His Grace” or “His Lordship” not only contradicts the Gospel message but encourages a sense of superiority. Even a priest’s title of “Father” reduces those not ordained to the role of children.

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