It’s Your Fault, Laity!

What in THE heck is this about? It’s like they’re sending in the B-team to try out some new strategy to see if it can fly in the heartland. “Let’s try to float this one in the less populated areas so if it bombs, we can keep it on the down-low.” Sorry. That’s not how the internet works.

Bishop addresses issue of clericalism

By Bishop Thomas Zinkula

For The Catholic Messenger 

It is important to search for what is at the root of the current tragic state of affairs in the Church. Some people want to scapegoat obligatory celibacy, a male-only priesthood or homosexuality. However, U.S. demographic statistics demonstrate that married, non-celibate men are a significant source of child abuse, so we need to look more deeply.

Some of us want to see reality, maybe that’s just me. Some of us want to stick to the subject and some want to point to a different group as just as evil. Methinks Bishop Zinkula misses his old career. (He used to be a lawyer.)  He’s certainly got the “blame the victim” and “provide another suspect” tactics down as you will soon see. I’m so tired of the trite arguments. Like I’ve said before, when my kid does something wrong, they pointing to someone else doing something wrong simply doesn’t fly.

With regard to homosexuality, which is perhaps the most commonly suggested reason, about 80 percent of the survivors of clergy sexual abuse are male, but research has found that most of the perpetrators didn’t consider themselves to be homosexual. They instead were “situational generalists” (i.e., they abused whomever they had access to and control over, boys or girls).

Well, well. Apparently, we’ve noticed that people aren’t buying the fact it’s pedophilia anymore, so we’re trying something new and exciting.  PROVE IT, counselor! Points for style though. You shall now henceforth be known as the guy who coined the term “situational generalists” in response to this crisis. It wasn’t even found in the John Jay report, and they twisted themselves into pretzels trying to say “not homosexuality”. Kudos to you. However, odds are, Your Excellency, that if one wants to have sexual contact with a post-pubescent person of the same-sex, they are suffering from same-sex attraction, not “situational generality.” I’m going to go out on a limb and assume people aren’t going to dump their vows for just any weakness. They’re not simply going for pleasure. If that was the case, they wouldn’t involve others. They’re attracted to an act with a specific group. 

I agree with Pope Francis that the root cause of the problem is clericalism. In his letter to the people of God (8/20/18), the Holy Father wrote, “To say ‘no’ to abuse is to say an emphatic ‘no’ to all forms of clericalism.”

It’s only clericalism on the part of one specific group of people. What you’re about to propose has nothing to do with it.

So, what is clericalism? Clericalism is an exaggeration of the role of the clergy to the detriment of the laity. In a culture of clericalism, clerics are put on a pedestal and the laity are overly deferential and submissive to them. Pope Francis notes that clericalism is not only fostered by priests, but also reinforced by lay people.

Um, wow! Your lawyering days served you well. So now this mess is all OUR fault? We are kind of darned if we do, darned if we don’t. If we say, “Uh, hello, bishop, you are acting in a horrible manner!”, we are dissenters (or maybe right-wing extremists, neo-nazis, alt-right, etc.)  On the other hand, if we just pray, pay, and treat you with respect, we’re responsible for clericalism.

Let’s look at the actual definition of “clericalism.” The Oxford Dictionary, the first thing that popped up when I typed in “clericalism” states it quite succinctly. 

  1. (especially in Roman Catholic contexts) the misuse or overextension of the clergy’s authority:

The bishop goes on.

Please allow me to define who I am talking about.

More like re-define to fit your spin.

Technically, a “cleric” is someone who is ordained: a bishop, priest or deacon. But, sad to say, “clericalism” may also affect those preparing for ordained ministry as well as those serving as lay ministers.

Perhaps a few examples of clericalism would be of assistance:

Coddling seminarians and telling them how special they are.

Insisting that priests or deacons go to the front of the line at meals and wakes because they are more important and busier than everyone else.

People telling me, when I am pondering an issue, “Whatever you want, Bishop.”

Well then.  I guess I can’t be accused of clericalism by your definition.  How’s that working for you?

In reality, most people show respect for the vocation and submission to the paternal structure of the Church family as children would honor their father. Some would also call this our recognition of “in persona Christi Capitas,” but somehow this has led to you guys misusing your authority? Sorry, I’m going to continue to do all I can for my parish priest, and I will continue to kiss my bishop’s ring. My respect for your ministerial priesthood has nothing to do with others’ lack of respect for their ministerial priesthood.

The issue here is privilege. Which can lead to a sense of entitlement, superiority and exclusion. Which can lead to a mindset that the rules don’t apply to me. This, in turn, can lead to an abuse of privilege and power, which tragically includes the sexual abuse of minors. …

So, let me get this right. The laity’s respect for the clergy led to big heads and that led to the abuse of minors?!?! So, again, it’s all the fault of the laity. Please.

In order to overcome clericalism, we need to reclaim the common priesthood of the faithful. As St. Paul tells us (1 Cor 12:12-31), together we make up the body of Christ — each with our particular vocation, each necessary for the healthy working of the body. We should not equate distinct roles with differences in worth, dignity or holiness.

Meh. You’re confusing (although blurring is probably better term) the Body of Christ with the Ministerial Priesthood. The laity does not act in persona Christi. That’s something special to you.  Quite frankly, the clergy not believing that and holding it dear is what led to this crisis.

There’s the Body of Christ:
And then there’s the Ministerial Priesthood. The differences are noted. (Emphasis and comments mine):

Two participations in the one priesthood of Christ

1546 Christ, high priest and unique mediator, has made of the Church “a kingdom, priests for his God and Father.”20 The whole community of believers is, as such, priestly. The faithful exercise their baptismal priesthood through their participation, each according to his own vocation, in Christ’s mission as priest, prophet, and king. Through the sacraments of Baptism and Confirmation the faithful are “consecrated to be . . . a holy priesthood.”21

1547 The ministerial or hierarchical priesthood of bishops and priests, and the common priesthood of all the faithful participate, “each in its own proper way (not common way), in the one priesthood of Christ.” While being “ordered one to another,” they differ essentially.22 In what sense? While the common priesthood of the faithful is exercised by the unfolding of baptismal grace –a life of faith, hope, and charity, a life according to the Spirit–, the ministerial priesthood is at the service of the common priesthood. It is directed at the unfolding of the baptismal grace of all Christians. The ministerial priesthood is a means by which Christ unceasingly builds up and leads his Church. For this reason it is transmitted by its own sacrament, the sacrament of Holy Orders.

In the person of Christ the Head . . .

1548 In the ecclesial service of the ordained minister, it is Christ himself who is present to his Church as Head of his Body, Shepherd of his flock, high priest of the redemptive sacrifice, Teacher of Truth. This is what the Church means by saying that the priest, by virtue of the sacrament of Holy Orders, acts in persona Christi Capitis:23

It is the same priest, Christ Jesus, whose sacred person his minister truly represents. Now the minister, by reason of the sacerdotal consecration which he has received, is truly made like to the high priest and possesses the authority to act in the power and place of the person of Christ himself (virtute ac persona ipsius Christi).24

Christ is the source of all priesthood: the priest of the old law was a figure of Christ, and the priest of the new law acts in the person of Christ.25

1549 Through the ordained ministry, especially that of bishops and priests, the presence of Christ as head of the Church is made visible in the midst of the community of believers.26  (Could just be why we show respect.) In the beautiful expression of St. Ignatius of Antioch, the bishop is typos tou Patros: he is like the living image of God the Father.27

1550 This presence of Christ in the minister is not to be understood as if the latter were preserved from all human weaknesses, the spirit of domination, error, even sin. The power of the Holy Spirit does not guarantee all acts of ministers in the same way. While this guarantee extends to the sacraments, so that even the minister’s sin cannot impede the fruit of grace, in many other acts the minister leaves human traces that are not always signs of fidelity to the Gospel and consequently can harm the apostolic fruitfulness of the Church.

1551 This priesthood is ministerial. “That office . . . which the Lord committed to the pastors of his people, is in the strict sense of the term a service.”28 It is entirely related to Christ and to men. It depends entirely on Christ and on his unique priesthood; it has been instituted for the good of men and the communion of the Church. The sacrament of Holy Orders communicates a “sacred power” which is none other than that of Christ. The exercise of this authority must therefore be measured against the model of Christ, who by love made himself the least and the servant of all.29 “The Lord said clearly that concern for his flock was proof of love for him.”30

. . . “in the name of the whole Church”

1552 The ministerial priesthood has the task not only of representing Christ – Head of the Church – before the assembly of the faithful, but also of acting in the name of the whole Church when presenting to God the prayer of the Church, and above all when offering the Eucharistic sacrifice.31

1553 “In the name of the whole Church” does not mean that priests are the delegates of the community. The prayer and offering of the Church are inseparable from the prayer and offering of Christ, her head; it is always the case that Christ worships in and through his Church. The whole Church, the Body of Christ, prays and offers herself “through him, with him, in him,” in the unity of the Holy Spirit, to God the Father. The whole Body, caput et membra, prays and offers itself, and therefore those who in the Body are especially his ministers are called ministers not only of Christ, but also of the Church. It is because the ministerial priesthood represents Christ that it can represent the Church.

And the bishops closing argument: 

As Pope Francis advocates, let’s work together to create a new culture and renew the Church. … Together, as clergy and laity, we are preparing to exercise our common baptismal mission to share the joy of the Gospel with others as disciples of Christ.

What’s all this rot on “preparing to exercise our common baptismal mission?”  I don’t know what you’ve been doing all of these years, but leave the rest of us out of it. How about you bishops do your job and guard the faithful before you start telling us we’ve failed in exercising our baptismal mission in the Body of Christ?!    

We need to rid the Church of sin and restore reverence in, well, a great many things. Aside from creating disorder in the world via our own sins, do not try to lay this on the laity.  The blame is the doorstep of those who engage in sodoclericalism.  I’m not usually for  buzzwords, but it’s far shorter than repeatedly saying, “clericalism on the part of those trying to normalize same-sex attraction.”  Too verbose.

This started with clergymen trying to cover for other clergymen so their agenda to normalize same-sex attraction wouldn’t get whacked (actual “clericalism”)  and then, of course, it had to be extended to other deviants, because, plain and simple, it’s kind of hard to thump someone else when you’re every bit as guilty.  Nobody was going to out McCarrick, because they didn’t want their own bad behavior to come to light.  Abuse breeds abuse.  This crisis wasn’t because of the faithful in the pews.  We’ve got our own issues. #AllYourFault




14 thoughts on “It’s Your Fault, Laity!

  1. I came across the category of “situational generalist” this past week. Prompted by an essay in Crisis, I found an article from CNS via my local paper the Catholic Sentinel,

    Although many blame the abuse scandals on homosexuality among the clergy, same-sex attraction does not make priests more likely to sexually abuse children, [Santa Clara University Psychology professor Thomas] Plante said.

    “It’s perfectly understandable that people could be confused by this, because we know that 80 percent or more of the clerical sexual abuse victims are boys,” Plante said. “So people conclude that if you get rid of homosexuals in the clergy, then you’ve got the problem solved. And it doesn’t work that way.”

    Most of the clerical sexual abuse perpetrators have been “situational generalists,” a term used throughout extensive John Jay College of Criminal Justice summary reports, the most recent in 2011, to the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops.

    Generalists do not have a specific sexual preference for youth, but instead “turn to children as a sort of substitute” due to psychological and emotional difficulties in bonding with peers, Plante observed.

    Such individuals — who often exhibit issues with substance abuse and impulse control — “can’t develop successful, negotiated, intimate relationships with adults,” said Plante, who recently served as vice chair of the USCCB’s National Review Board for the Protection of Children and Youth.

    Since generalist offenders seek readily available victims, boys have historically — though by no means exclusively — been a target for many clerical abusers.

    “Priests for the most part had access to boys, and trust with boys, much more so than girls,” said Plante, noting that this proximity has led to the erroneous correlation between homosexuality and clerical abuse.

    This, from an attempted track-covering report written in 2010, published in 2011, under the direction of Cupich.

    Weasels, all of them.

    And Plante himself: such a useful man!

    We need to keep circling around to ask the question: is sodomy okay, or not?


    1. Weird. I actually searched the JJ report and didn’t find that one. I wonder if that’s this bone-heads interpretation. Regardless, not much proof to the arguments made. Seems like it will be the new talking point.


  2. I felt from the beginning that Bergoglio was inventing his own meaning for “clericalism” as a means of throwing blame on his usual targets. In short, we are at fault for expecting clergy to live up to their high calling, and the only people who have such an elevated concept are traditionalists.


  3. In this era of the “buddy priest” (just call me Father Jim…) priests are being perceived as being just like the rest of us. I sure don’t see much of an “exaggeration of their role” going on in a lot of places. When my parish has had a priestly priest there’s a certain faction the complains that he’s too rigid and spends too much time making himself available for confession and providing spiritual direction.

    And as to “Generalists do not have a specific sexual preference for youth, but instead ‘turn to children as a sort of substitute’ due to psychological and emotional difficulties in bonding with peers,.. So if they don’t “prefer youth” and they didn’t have “difficulties” bonding with peers they would then be doing the “ bonding” with those peers instead…? Not my idea of a good candidate for the priesthood in either case,


  4. I’ve often said that we laity are guilty in that we stayed quiet, in particular an incident in my own parish. But we are not responsible for the choice of sin by the clergy and any attempt to put the burden that way is despicable.


  5. I contacted the bishop directly. I pointed out the Homosexual natute of deviant clerics including Mansell of Ct…… .I also.poinyed out Mansell usa.the Arg. Bishops including Bergoglio plus the Vatican itself covered up for Grassi etc. In Arg,. Barros chile ,Daneels Inzolio,O conner and farrell in Europe and numerous bishops in usa like Mahoney,soto, Weuerl O brien and McCarrick.


  6. I live in the Diocese of Davenport, and Bishop Zinkula is my bishop. I was STUNNED when I read the article a week ago in our diocesan newspaper. I have read and re-read it hoping that I was mistaken or had misinterpreted what he wrote. But, sadly, no. He is clearly blaming the laity for showing common courtesy to clergy and seminarians, and is avoiding the truth of the elephant in the room. My annual diocesan appeal letter is still sitting on my kitchen table as I pray and discern how to respond.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Give to your local parish. Then write this bishop and local diocese paper. I contacted this cino bishop and pointed out the Homosexual nature of the problrms not clericalism is the main problem….. I would write to.your bishop and tell him NO money for B. Appeal.until he figures that one out. Sincerely Ed M. Of Ct.

      Liked by 2 people

  7. I am also in the diocese of Davenport. We are not giving to the appeal this year.

    Thank you so much for your blog. I am another mad mom – but you put it so much better than I could:)

    Liked by 1 person

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