The Personalist Project

Accessed on September 26, 2023 - 4:46:46

Justice entails due distribution of power

Katie van Schaijik, Sep 03, 2019

Looking through my quotes collection for something else, I came across this passage from an address by Pope Benedict to the UN:

This is all the more necessary at a time when we experience the obvious paradox of a multilateral consensus that continues to be in crisis because it is still subordinated to the decisions of a few, whereas the world’s problems call for interventions in the form of collective action by the international community.

Indeed, questions of security, development goals, reduction of local and global inequalities, protection of the environment, of resources and of the climate, require all international leaders to act jointly and to show a readiness to work in good faith, respecting the law, and promoting solidarity with the weakest regions of the planet

Human rights, then, must be respected as an expression of justice, and not merely because they are enforceable through the will of the legislators.

If I adjust it a bit, you can see how it applies to the problem of clericalism in the Church:

The Church is in crisis because in place of the multilateral consensus that should characterize any brotherhood of equals, the ecclesial communion throughout the world is "subordinated to the decisions of a few". The Church's problems "call for interventions in the form of collective action by the" entire people of God, yet, the vast majority of Catholics are effectively voiceless and powerless.

Indeed, questions of administration, resource management, clerical misconduct, abuses of power and conscience, Christian education, local and regional liturgical culture, missionary outreach, developmental goals, etc. require the People of God to act jointly. We need lay leaders who exhibit a readiness to work in good faith, always respecting the deposit of faith and the due authority of the local ordinary, and promoting solidarity with weakest members of our communion.

The rights and dignity the laity given in baptism and confirmation must be respected as a question of justice and fundamental Christian truth. Their full participation in the life of the Church is not the gift of the clergy.

I would go so far as to say that the current clericalist structure, habits and ethos are in dramatic disaccord with the gospel and with the teachings of our Faith respecting the dignity and vocation of laity. They are in disaccord with our nature and dignity as persons.

They're also in crisis. They can't last; they are rapidly disintegrating. The only question is how and when they will be replaced.