Monday, June 03, 2002

I've started receiving some feedback on Catholic Responses to the troubles in the Church. So far, I'm being overruled as far as lay boards go.

Mike Hardy over at Enemy of the Church? has an interesting proposal that he has kindly reiterated (since I've come so late to the table). He does seem to some good points, although personally I have a problem with his idea of 'running to the press.' I don't think we should be holding threats over our bishop's heads. Maybe it would be enough to issue periodic reports to diocesan members.

Mike who should be Reading doesn't see clericalism as being an issue with lay boards. Perhaps my use of the term was poor. Many of today's Catholics speak about Church leadership in terms of power, control and influence. To me, this is a position of clericalism. The opposite would be a self-effacing humility in service to the people of God. Leadership would involve persuasion rather than influence. It would empower people in their secular lives to act as Catholic 'lights' in the world.

Rather than concentrating on the transformation of the Church, the laity would be concerned with the lay responsibility of transforming the surrounding culture through the faithful living of the Faith in the secular world. Our Church 'leaders' would be the support personnel of this primary mission. They would see themselves as servants of the people of God. It is in this regard that the pope is considered the servant of the servants of God.

I would think that the vocation and the vocational training of a priest are more likely to instill this sense of service than the corporate or entrepreneurial experiences of lay leaders. I did read an article claiming that clericalism has grown with the introduction of lay involvement in Church governance. The article claims that it wasn't nearly the problem prior to Vatican II that it has become in recent years. If I can find the article, I'll post it

Although he mentioned it in a different context, the Cranky Professor highlights the intriguing ways that parishes elect their lay boards. With his permission, I'm referencing his remarks. If we have to go with lay boards, I like the idea of random 'election' Perhaps we could even find a way to incorporate 'army volunteerism' where volunteers are simply the people too slow to take a step back when called upon.

Perhaps John at Disputations has the best answer: Prayer and Fasting.

Other links of interest will follow as they crop up.


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