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.
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.
(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: http://www.vatican.va/archive/ccc_css/archive/catechism/p123a9p2.htm
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