I guess in a nutshell, clericalism is an undue or unquestioning authority given to any one person, no matter their profession. It isn’t a disease of just the priesthood or those in the clerical state.
For example, with the outbreak of the worldwide pandemic, the new clericalism is the unquestioned authority that scientists and doctors now wield and God forbid you question what is espoused by these “experts” or question those who blindly follow them.
This occurs that despite their expertise, they have been so wrong on how to “flatten the curve” itself a silly meme, and have been wrong throughout history on certain subjects.
Doctors and scientist have always had a messiah complex but that’s on steroids today—the messiah complex is clericalism in the priesthood or in scientific and medical circles.
As it concerns the clergy of the Catholic Church, clericalism before Vatican II elevated individuals in the priesthood to other worldly status and nothing they could do could be questioned or excuses were made because they weren’t married and that caused idiosyncrasies or irritability. But the laity followed even errant priests because of the Messiah complex the laity allowed for the clergy, like so many “laity” today allow for doctors and scientists to remain unquestioned.
Today, post-Vatican II, clericalism allows for what we have seen happen to our Church and Liturgy. Both become the priest or bishop’s playground regardless of what it does to the laity for good or evil.
Look at how beautiful churches were reckovated or new ones no longer recognized as Catholic. How did that happen? EXPERTS ON VATICAN II, BE THEY CLERGY OR MONEY MAKING LITURGICAL CONSULTANTS SAID THIS IS WHAT VATICAN II WANTED AND THUS WE ARE DOING IT!
Clericalism can be seen in academics and an academic priest or bishop who is into clericalism can inflict the greatest harm on the Church in general and individuals in particular. Academics in high education look down their noses at their students and feel they know it all and know better than those less educated than themselves. Thus being well-educated and in preferable institutions, think Norte Dame or Harvard, places the person above everyone else and contributes to their desire not to be questioned by those not as smart as they.
I think that’s clericalism. It is arrogance, basically.