Wednesday, December 13, 2017
YET AGAIN REDEFINING THE PRIESTHOOD ACCORDING TO A 1970'S MENTALITY ABOUT IT, ISN'T THE ANSWER!
The National Catholic Reporter (aka, National Chismatic Reporter or NCR) has an article on the horrible sexual abuse scandal in Australia and its progressive new Bishop's take on what this clericalism is.
You can read the full article there by pressing the title:
Bishop Vincent Long Van Nguyen says culture of church contributed to sex abuse crisis in countryDec 13, 2017 by Peter Feuerherd
Here are a couple of soundbites (readbites?):
(Bishop Vincent) suggested they look to the example of Pope Francis as a vision of priesthood based on a servant, not an authoritarian, model.
After Francis was elected, he eschewed the usual papal trappings and asked for the gathered crowd to pray for him at St. Peter's Square. That gesture, said Long, "was truly the prophetic sign of the century."
"The ground under our feet has shifted," said Long. "There needs to be an attitudinal change at every level, a conversion of mind and heart that conforms us to the spirit of the Gospel, a new wine in new wineskins, not a merely cosmetic change or worse, a retreat into restorationism."
"The new wine of God's unconditional love, boundless mercy, radical inclusivity and equality needs to be poured into new wineskins of humility, mutuality, compassion and powerlessness. The old wineskins of triumphalism, authoritarianism and supremacy, abetted by clerical power, superiority, and rigidity, are breaking," he said.
I do believe that clericalism has a major role in the scandals in the Church related to bishops and priests. It has nothing to do with the trappings of the priesthood but rather lack of transparency when crimes were committed.
While sexual abuse of minors is a scourge experienced in all professions and family life, it seems that the loss of priestly identity following the Second Vatican Council accelerated homosexual acting out with teenagers which peaked, according to the John Jay Study, in 1974. Loss of not only priestly identity, but Catholic identity led to the increase.
The bottom line, though, is how these cases were handled by the Church, which was completely inadequate and devastating.
I would say the loss of priestly trappings contributed to the loss of identity and the acting out that accelerated after the council.
I can remember well, our now deceased retired bishop, Bishop Raymond Lessard, telling us priests in the 1980's that the loss of priestly majesty has contributed to so many problems in the priesthood. When priests see no distinction between themselves and those they serve, things happen and not always good things as the good young bishop from Australia seems to think.
Australia is going through what the USA and Canada went through in the 1990's and 2000's. There are no easy answers to this problem other than how bishops handled these cases. Zero tolerance, openness and reporting crimes to legal authorities is the solution, not an ongoing loss of priestly identity a la 1970's!