Monday, April 8, 2019


I have to say that I agree with this:

I would say that clericalism on steroids developed in the 1970's when the laity were clericalized and the clergy were laicized.

A truly post-Vatican II parish is one that has a very strong sacramental life, beautiful liturgies done by the book and rubrics allowing for what is allowed in the Ordinary Form. This parish may also have the Extraordinary Form of the Mass and other sacraments, following the books and rubrics of this form as well.

Priests should do what priests are ordained to do: Celebrate the Sacraments and preach the word. This always entails offering the One Sacrifice, reconciling sinners to God, healing the sick, banishing Satan. The priest should teach, govern and sanctify and allow others to do the ancillary ministries of the Church.

The priest is not a counselor, social worker, actor, youth worker or therapist.

However, the ministry of the parish should offer these ministries with compentant laity leading these, especially outreach to the poor, political advocacy in the name of the Church and her teachings, Catholic education.

One of the things that I have been very glad to delegate as pastor are the administrative needs of the Church. I do not need to supervise the lay staff of the parish, our administrator does that; I don't need to over construction, work to get deals from banks and micromanage the administrative aspects of the parish.

I do need to hear confessions, prayer the Liturgy of the Hours, celebrate daily Mass, offer Benediction and other spiritual and devotional aspects of the Church.

I have to offer spiritual ministry to young, old and everyone in between. I don't need to take trips with kids to have a good time with them, but if do go, and I don't, I am too old, so I send my parochial vicar, it is to offer spiritual support to the kids, lay youth director and to offer the Sacraments.

Let priests be priests and the laity be laity. And if you have permanent deacons, let them wait on tables. 


Dan said...

THE Clericalism was the attitude of the elite that has pushed and continues to push an agenda upon the Church as it looks with contempt and feelings of being superior to and more enlightened than Catholics, and Catholic theologians, of the past.

TJM said...

yep, that was the point I was making earlier. He is not a glorified social worker or a Democratic Party operative.

Tom Makin said...

WOW!!! I think this finally gets to the heart of the issue. A priest who has lost his way because of the misinterpretation and horrible application of VCII is the one guilty of "clericalism". I do not believe for a second that this is how HFPF sees it but Fr Longenecker is right on point. VCII envisioned an expanded role for the laity in the administration of the parish with the Pastor as it's guide and final arbiter. Priests who adopted the cult of personality, wherein they became the point of everything vs. what they were ordained to do, are the driving force for the mess we are in....and their Bishops who aided and abetted this behavior. This makes tremendous sense to me and if we dig into this idea, it may offer a way back from the wilderness.

Fr. Michael J. Kavanaugh said...

Long before the "loss of identity" you suggest came in the 1970's, priests were, in many places, doing the books, overseeing construction, running the youth groups, etc. This was especially the case in smaller, rural parishes and/or missions.

In some places they also typed and mimeographed the bulletins, planted and maintained the gardens, and, in our own diocese, drove the school bus.

All this they accomplished while maintaining their identity as priests, hearing confessions, praying the hours, celebrating mass, leading Benediction and other devotions.

There's lost written, especially here, about the so-called loss of priestly identity, but I'm not sure that that has happened.

TJM said...

Father McDonald,

I thought you would find this statement from Msgr. Mannion on liturgical clericalism. The pastor of my territorial parish is guilty of this in spades:

Since I am considered something of an expert on the matter, I have occasionally been asked the question: What is the fundamental problem today with the Church’s liturgy? My answer is simple: clericalism.

By clericalism I do not mean the existence of a clerical order in the Church (I am after all a cleric myself). By clericalism, I mean an “ism,” a deformation of something good and necessary – in this case, of something essential to the life of the Church: the liturgical ministry of the ordained.

Liturgical clericalism occurs when the role of those in holy orders overpowers the Church’s rites and disempowers the baptized from the full and active participation in the liturgy for which the twentieth-century liturgical movement and Vatican II called.

Essentially, there are today two kinds of liturgical clericalism: the “old-fashioned” (a carry-over from pre-Vatican II) and the “new fashioned” (since Vatican II).

In the old-fashioned kind, the priest assumes unnecessarily the roles of readers, intercessors, or altar servers; the sign of the peace is dropped out; the chalice is withheld from the people; and the laity (especially women) are kept out of the sanctuary as much as possible.

Indeed, in some quarters this kind of pre-Vatican II clericalism seems to be on the rebound, as many younger clergy state a clear preference for the “extraordinary” (Tridentine) Latin Mass over the “ordinary” form (the Mass we have had since 1970). In this attitude, little consideration seems to be given to the fact that the people do not understand Latin. (This trend goes with a resurgence of an exaggerated theology of priesthood.)

"The second kind of liturgical clericalism – the new-fashioned – is very much a product of the post-Vatican II era, and is found today mostly among an older generation of priests. What is often referred to as the “talk show” style of priestly presidency of the Eucharist serves – like the older kind – to focus unduly on the priestly role and to disenfranchise the people, who have a right to the liturgy of the church in its integrity.

The tendency among priests of this school toward excessive personalization, unpredictable intervention, and textual and ritual experimentation has the effect of compromising the objectivity of the liturgy and turning worship into an exercise of personal priestly expression."

TJM said...

Where I disagree with Msgr. Mannion, he is off the mark on the EF. The rubrics of the EF constrains the priest, in stark contrast to the OF.

rcg said...

We are arguing about something before we define it. Msr Mannion tells us that an ‘ism’ is a bad thing while striving to defend Catholicism. This is why I like Latin, you know what you’ve got to start with and likewise where you want to end up.

TJM said...


I go almost exclusively to the EF now. It is only when I am traveling that I am compelled to go to "Brand X" sometimes.

Anonymous said...

Fr. MJK 12:38, yes indeed, you are correct here...not to mention they also taught the catechumens and candidates pre-Vat II (no RCIA taught by laity). I know this from personal experience.

John Nolan said...

Fr Mannion writes:

'Many younger clergy state a clear preference for the "extraordinary" (Tridentine) Latin Mass over the "ordinary" form ... In this attitude little consideration seems to be given to the fact that the people do not understand Latin.'

I have met many people (laity, priests, even liturgists) who have a clear preference for the traditional Roman Rite. I have yet to come across (or even read about) a priest who imposed this preference on a resentful congregation.

Mannion is also guilty of clerical condescension when he says that 'the people do not understand Latin'. I am no Latinist, but my Latin is better than that of a lot of ordained priests. I doubt that most of the large congregation at the Sunday Solemn Mass at the Oxford Oratory (OF Latin) are fully conversant with the tongue. There are many opportunities to attend a vernacular Mass (including an earlier one at the same church) yet they choose not to do so.

Mannion assumes that there is a template for the OF Mass, which includes the maximum amount of lay 'involvement', the routinely offering of the Chalice to the laity, the exclusive use of the vernacular (which has considerable impact on the music), and adherence to the rubrics (such as they are) and the printed text. But no such standard exists. There are 'conservative' parishes which don't have altar girls, have Communion in one kind only, have choirs that can deliver traditional music, and may even offer the EF on occasion. There are also 'progressive' parishes existing in close proximity in major towns and cities.

It's not 'clericalism' that leads to this diversity - to a large extent it reflects the empowerment of the laity who actually have a choice. If some people like 'happy-clappy' celebrations, then that is fair enough; if they want a more dignified liturgy which does not exclude Latin, then it is their choice.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

I agree with your statement. What was interesting was that Mannion took priests to task who monkey with the OF.

Unless Mannion understands Italian, I suppose he avoids Italian language operas. It is a tired old canard. What he may be thinking is, I am too damned lazy to learn any Latin so let's blame it on the laity

Mark Thomas said...

I don't understand as to why a priest is unable to serve also as a counselor, social worker, actor, youth worker, and therapist.

From my parents and relatives who had grown up decades prior to Vatican II, they had spoken often of beloved priests who were all the things that Father Longenecker said that a priest is not.

The priest who had donned one different hat after another was beloved by his spiritual children.

I believe that such a priest served as a powerful generator of vocations to the priesthood.


Mark Thomas

Dan said...

Mark Thomas, the reason priests cant be all these positions to all people is because people are much more convinced of their neediness than before... people are much more delicate and now need continuous attention by dedicated professionals.

TJM said...

Priests are spiritual advisors and not social workers (most of whom are pro-abortion left-wing loons). Most priests that I knew prior to Vatican Disaster II did not step out of their realm of competence

John Nolan said...


I've no doubt that Mannion knows Latin; my objection is that he assumes it is some clerical argot which we (the poor plebs) have no understanding of. The fact that it was the liturgical language of the Western Church for more than fifteen centuries is of little consequence. We hoi polloi can't be expected to appreciate such things. We have to be fed only what our limited intellects can comprehend.

Peter Kwasniewski has a good take on this over at NLM.

Fr. Allan J. McDonald said...

I agree that when priests and other liturgists say the laity can't understand Latin that they are talking down to them and in fact this is a virulent form of clericalism.

In the early 60's we were taught as children how to use our St. Joseph Sunday Missal and that every Catholic including children should bring it to Mass with them to follow the Latin with an English Translation, especially for the changing parts of the Mass.

As a child, I recall that most people had their own missal.

This also reminds me of the Praytell crowd going ballistic over the new and glorious English translation of the Mass. They preferred a dumber version for the laity. Clericalism at its best!

Gene said...

John Nolan, But should heresy and bad liturgy be a "choice?" The flock's tastes should be formed, not consulted.

TJM said...

John Nolan,

Yes I saw that article by the good professor at NLM.

Father McDonald,

I received the St Joseph Daily Missal as a gift from my parents when I was 10 (I still have it).

Fortunately I went to a grade school where the Catholic nuns taught us how to recite the Latin of the Mass properly AND by the time I was 10 I could chant 5 Latin ordinaries by heart. Don't tell Bishop Trautman that, it would burst his illusion that it is "too hard" for the great unwashed. Clericalism, arrogance, and ignorance go together marvelously. Unfortunately, it is still with us.

Mark Thomas said...


Okay. Should a person wish to turn to dedicated professionals for help, then so be it. At the very least, I hope that a person who seeks help will turn to a Catholic professional who conducts a ministry.


Mark Thomas

TJM said...

Mark Thomas,

When are you going to have the honesty to admit PF has done NOTHING to deal with the cocaine gay fueled sex orgy at the Vatican? Maybe a dedicated professional who is Catholic could help you to come to grips with that.