Thursday, September 13, 2018

Clericalism, and My One Encounter with McCarrick

2005 World Youth Day in Cologne Germany

I am a seminarian for the Archdiocese of Indianapolis

Pope Benedict had an event where he was going to be at a Church in Cologne to speak particularly to seminarians

My fellow seminarians and I arrived 4 hours early, but the Church was already full.  So they had a huge screen set up in the side yard of the Church where we were directed, and there we waited for about 4 hours with hundreds of other seminarians.

At one point someone pointed to a guy maybe 40 feet away and said "That's Cardinal McCarrick from D.C."  I looked over and there was the really old guy standing there in black pants, a black shirt, with his white roman collar sitting in his breast pocket.  "Just one of the guys" if you will.

Here's why I mention this incident.  In the ongoing discussion about how to address the abuse crisis, a word that keeps popping up in certain circles, including from Pope Francis, is a blaming of "clericalism".  Here's what our Holy Father told Jesuits recently in Ireland:

"sexual abuse is the consequence of abuse of power and of conscience as I said before. The abuse of power exists. Who among us does not know an authoritarian bishop? Forever in the Church there have been authoritarian bishops and religious superiors. And authoritarianism is clericalism."

Here's my point - the LEAST clerical guy that I've ever seen was Cardinal McCarrick. "I don't want to wear my Cardinal outfit, I don't want to have the seat of honor with the other cardinals INSIDE the Church listening to Pope Benedict...heck I don't even want to wear my collar for crying out loud...can't you see how anti-clericalism I am...I even want you to call me UNCLE Ted, not father or cardinal or any of that clericalist mumbo-jumbo"....and he turned out to be a serial sexual predator of the highest degree

I'm not arguing AGAINST talking about "clericalism" as ONE COMPONENT of this crisis, but to assume that it is THE reason is crazy.  

As we sort through this mess together as a Church, be very wary of those who say "The problem is simple: it is ____________________".  And by the way, that goes for those who are also saying "The problem is simple: it is homosexuality" as well.

The problem is NOT simple, and it has many tentacles and sources.  From my vantage point, some issues that need to be examined

1) Vatican II said priests should live in community.  Most parish priests live alone.
2) Are there healthier ways to set up our seminaries
4) How do we address homosexuality in candidates for the priesthood
5) What are ways to address the clericalist mindset
6) In the West, regular fasting and penance have evaporated.  How might that be rekindled systematically
7) How might the state of the Liturgy today contribute to clericalism and other issues
8) Are punishments/reactions to those who do abuse too lax

From what I've seen, it isn't JUST clericalism.  

1 comment:

  1. I like the tone of the article. I like to see the clergy in their rightful garb. Wearing the clerical garb should define you in public and there may be less likely inappropriate conduct. A return to penance and the sacraments will enrich our faith.