Saturday, September 12, 2015
IS PROTESTANT CONGREGATIONALISM COMBINED WITH SPIRIT OF VATICAN II DEMOCRATIZATION OF PARISHES THE CULPRIT THAT LEADS STRONG LAY LEADERS TO GRAB POWER IN PARISHES?
Anyone who knows American Catholic history knows that there was the Board of Trusteeism problem in the Church in the 1800's. In fact, my former parish of Most Holy Trinity was one of the parishes at the forefront of this in the 1860's which may have caused it to lose the possibility of it becoming the cathedral of the diocese. The pastor become bishop who built the new church there wanted it to become the Cathedral as Savannah was a cesspool of yellow fever!
But I digress a bit, although the problem in the 1860's may have well be caused by the fact that lay Catholics envied their Protestant neighbors who operate on a board of trustees model and the power in churches is centered on the laity who hire and fire their ministers.
Fast foward to two little parishes in Eastman and McCrae in our diocese and my Macon deanery. A small minority of lay leaders there, perhaps the "founders" as though founding members in a parish have more clout than others and as if it isn't Jesus who is the Founder and the bihsop who allows parishes to come into existence, claim a power and moral authority over and above the bishop and the pastors he sends to them.
Is this based on two things? Protestant congregationalism fueled since Vatican II by an ecclesiology that has tended to clericalize the laity and laicize the clergy? Pope Benedict tried mightily along with St. Pope John Paul II to end this silliness in the Church.
Parish or Pastoral Councils create power plays between the pastor and the laity voted to be on the council. Rather than being merely advisory to the pastor, which is the canon law concerning these lay councils, they take on a power that pits the council against the pastor and then politics develops where the pastor tries to win as many of the council members to his point of view and council members try to thwart that activity by being in control.
It also happens on finance councils and school boards.
Of course the Catholic Church isn't a democracy but when we use democratic principles in our councils and synods, like the marriage synod in Rome, doesn't this become quite divisive?
I ask you answer!