The pre-Vatican II Church did instill an unquestioning respect and admiration for clergy and religious and unwittingly turned us into mini-gods, beyond reproach. We were not to question authority and always had to show deference to them and in an unquestioning way.
I don’t know that this is clericalism or not. But it is very unhealthy and opens the vulnerable to be manipulated, used and abused by authority figures, be they religious or otherwise.
I think clericalism also refers to the clergy alone making decisions without lay input. But, normally this regards optional things that are not mandated through Divine Law. Clergy need the laity to open a school and pay for it, thus there needs to be some consultation about that. The governance of parishes, especially its business aspects, need laity to assist, especially those with expertise. And laity can be in religious positions of administration and pastoral care as well as teaching the faith.
But the modern Mass has inspired more true clericalism than the older form of the Mass ever could.
The TLM is a given and with few options that the priest has to decide. Will it be a low, High or Solemn High Mass is one of those choices a priest or pastor has to make with the TLM. Will there be the Asperges before Mass and some kind of devotion afterward, as there are options in the Missal for that choice.
I think that’s it.
The Modern Order of the Mass has choices galore. The one who makes those choices is normally to always the priest (although some progressive parishes transfer this clericalism to a small elitist committee to decide).
Here are the decision that I will make and since I am truly clerical, I alone will make:
1. Will I recite or eliminate the Introit, offertory and communion antiphons?
2. Which penitential Act will I use, A, B, or C and which option for C. Or will I bless water and sprinkle it thus avoiding the Penitential Act all together. And which blessing of the water will I use as there are options there too.
3. Will I sing or chant some parts of the Mass but not other parts. If the Gloria and Kyrie are chanted, will I say or chant the Collect but not the other prayers of the Mass?
4. Will say the offertory prayers out loud or quietly?
5. Which preface will I use?
6. Which Eucharistic Prayer. I have lost count as to the number, but there are the four main ones, two for reconciliation, four others of special needs and some for children. I will make that decision though and it will be Eucharistic Prayer II because it is the shortest and the Mass is too long as my more important 30 minute homily takes preference.
7. Will I use the Solemn Blessing at the end of Mass and which choice of the many there are will I use.
Thus, the Modern Mass encourages, inspires and demands a corrupt form of clericalism.
And that doesn’t include the decision of the priest to use “these or similar words!” What I have posted doesn’t delve into the desire of the priest to make the Mass his own one act Broadway Show, showcasing his actin abilities and clever, inviting, welcoming personality.