Abolishing the priesthood will not save the Catholic Church

Religion News Service | 5/21/2019 | Staff
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(RNS) — In an article in The Atlantic’s June issue titled “Abolish the Priesthood,” James Carroll provides thought-provoking analysis of the state of the Catholic Church, recounting the history of the sex abuse crisis in the church with special focus on Boston, Ireland, the Pennsylvania grand jury report and Theodore McCarrick.

None of this is new, of course, but seeing it all together depresses and angers the reader that such things were possible in the church.

Culprit - Carroll - Eyes - Underlying - Cause

Also not new is the culprit, in Carroll’s eyes. He points to clericalism as “both the underlying cause and the ongoing enabler of the present Catholic catastrophe.”

“Clericalism, with its cult of secrecy, its theological misogyny, its sexual repressiveness, and its hierarchical power based on threats of a doom-laden afterlife, is at the root of Roman Catholic dysfunction,” according to Carroll. “The clerical system’s obsession with status thwarts even the merits of otherwise good priests and distorts the Gospels’ message of selfless love, which the Church was established to proclaim.”

Clericalism - Carroll - Church - Priesthood - Years

It was clericalism that soured Carroll on the church and led to his leaving the priesthood 45 years ago. Now he wants the priesthood abolished altogether.

Pope Francis has also pointed to clericalism as a cause of the church’s failures, but he is not spared in Carroll’s analysis. Carroll was scandalized by Pope Francis’ claim during his August 2018 visit to Ireland that until then he knew nothing about the Magdalene laundries or their scandal. “Pope Francis is lying” was the thought that went through his head at the time. Now Carroll acknowledges that Francis may merely have been ignorant, but “to be uninformed about the long-simmering Magdalene scandal was just as bad.”

Carroll - Clericalism - Origins - Gospel - Attitudes

Carroll claims that clericalism has its origins not in the Gospel, but in the attitudes and organizational structure of the Roman Empire. He, like many before him,...
(Excerpt) Read more at: Religion News Service
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