Atlanta archbishop says clericalism continues to hinder sex abuse reforms / America

If only clericalism could be quashed and the Vatican II promise of a broad, deep, significant, and effective participation of equal lay and ordained in the Church could be fulfilled — but we don’t see this happening anytime soon.

Archbishop Wilton Gregory, who led the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops during the tumultuous years when the wide scope of the clergy sexual abuse scandal was brought to light, said in a new interview that clericalism is still hampering efforts to address the issue, even at the highest levels of the church.

“‘I would say there is a resistance to do the hard thing,’ the Atlanta archbishop told NPR affiliate WABE in a March interview broadcast on April 10. ‘I think it’s culturally driven as much as it is ideologically driven.’

“Archbishop Gregory addressed allegations by Marie Collins, an Irish laywoman and survivor of sexual abuse who resigned from the pope’s child protection commission. She complained that the Vatican refuses to implement recommendations from the group, even with the backing of Pope Francis himself. Ms. Collins, the archbishop said, ‘has touched on a truism.’

‘”‘It is the ugly face of clericalism that unfortunately still has too much influence in our church,’ Archbishop Gregory said. ‘Marie Collins is a very brave woman, and she is a very determined woman, and I believe she’s a grace for the church.’

By Michael O’Loughlin, America: The Jesuit Review — Read more …

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  1. #1 by M. W. Ryan on April 13, 2017 - 10:56 AM

    While the hindrance of sex abuse reforms is arguably the most egregious example of clericalism’s negative effects, the lack of consistency or uniformity between the nearly 200 U.S. arch/dioceses regarding financial transparency and accountability is arguably the next most egregious example. In that regard, the USCCB has the gall to cite individual bishops’ autonomy as the justification for their (the USCCB’s) failure to act. In doing so, they have tacitly placed the preservation of bishops’ temporal authority above their moral obligations relating to those areas. The best example of that, of course, is the USCCB’s refusal to implement secure Sunday collection procedures Conference-wide in spite of the fact they well know that a vulnerable collection system represents an ongoing temptation to serious sin and (based upon news reports) an ongoing cause of actual sin.

    Hypocrites does not adequately describe those members of the USCCB who have been and are now aware of the collection theft issue but, for whatever reason(s), refused to make any effort to correct it.


    • #2 by Victoria Ann Reed on April 15, 2017 - 12:19 PM

      These two problems (money and sex) tend to go hand in hand. I heard this from an married elderly Catholic gentleman several years ago who had a lifetime of experience in the Catholic Church. Sure enough, I experienced it myself in my own Church in 2013 when my deacon went to jail for embezzlement (he was taking all the $20 bills out of the collection vault at 3AM Monday mornings) and my priest went on “retreat” for fondling women in the confessional (he was supposedly teaching women the mystical sign of Jesus’ love with skin on).

      The parishioners adored them both and even set up facebook fan pages for them while they were in jail and on “retreat.” They wanted to make these guys into canonized saints. From my perspective, the parishioners appeared to avoid thinking about the seriousness of the situation and instead made quick excuses saying that, “these men were only human and in need of our love and support.” This thinking in parishioners can stem from their own unacknowledged, unconscious childhood abuse where the lay parishioners are psychologically saying to themselves something along the lines of, “Daddy (my priest/deacon) needs to be ok because all we have is daddy to take care of us. So we need to make excuses for daddy’s abuse and make it sound ok so we can be ok. We do not want to lose daddy.”

      The truth of the matter is: we are all priest prophet and king. God has no grandchildren. Clericalism can be easily identified wherever lay parishioners, who are psychologically healthy adults are being rejected and demeaned. Healthy priests/deacons/bishops do not need to dominate, control, or shame their parishioners to fulfill their own deep unmet psychological needs for approval, prestige, or power.


  2. #3 by Sally Murphy Doganieri on April 12, 2017 - 5:41 PM

    Disconnect from the clergy. Connect with the true leader of the church and form your own group. Invoke the Holy Spirit. God in Jesus is shaking up the churches and asking us to be His church led by His Holy Spirit. STOP PROCRASTINATING.


  3. #4 by Victoria Ann Reed on April 12, 2017 - 12:27 PM

    Clericalism will not change as long as we have Catholic parishioners that enable such dysfunction. This dysfunction in our Catholic Church needs to change from the bottom up, not from the top down. Lay people need to realize that we are called to be a light to the world, not a light to our priest or bishop or even to other Catholics. It is the people in the pew who are seeking the approval from the clergy that feeds and supports clericalism. This is how abuse is also enabled and covered up. Many bishops do not know that victims who report abuse are being shunned out of the church and rejected as mentally ill by their parish communities after reporting abuse. The Pope can’t change that childish mindset by making bishops accountable for things that their staff cover up and keep from them. Lay Catholics need to own the fact that we are the hands and feet of the resurrected Christ on earth during our time period in history and focus on the serving the poor instead of protecting clergy.


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