Thursday, July 7, 2011

Quote du Jour (Religion Department)

Hard to choose a single quote from a two part series by Eugene Cullen Kennedy about clericalism in the Roman Catholic church. Kennedy, an emeritus professor of psychology at Loyola University, Chicago pulls no punches about the havoc being wrought by what he aptly characterizes as "set-decorator" clerics. 

May the Holy Spirit continue to guide him in wisdom and faith. May God protect him and his courageous editors from the vitriol being spewed forth in their direction.

Part I: "Set-decorator Catholicism: clericalism thrives in a new phase of the sex abuse crisis" appeared in the National Catholic Reporter on June 30, 2011.  Part II: Set-decorator Catholicism: The common traits of set-decorators" appeared in the July 7 issue of NCR.

Hard pressed to choose, I've pulled this lengthy excerpt from Part II:

Most of the bishops now anxious to restore their credibility would be surprised, not to say amazed, to learn that they are ordaining and placing their hopes in some men who are more subtle than but nonetheless psychological twins to the priests whose incomplete personal growth lay coiled at the heart of the sex abuse scandal. . . .

The healthy, theologically sophisticated Catholics who belong to such movements as the Voice of the Faithful or Future Church, love the Church, want to support good priests, and are not leading a revolution against their bishops whose authority they respect and with whom they seek to collaborate in building the 21st century Church. 

The bishops and many priests, however, are hesitant to meet with members of such groups and in various ways, such as denying them meeting room on Catholic property, indicate their apparent fear that its members are heretics or worse. The leadership of the official Church appears to be less comfortable relating to adult lay Catholics than they are to immature members of the clergy. . . .

We might sum up the problem and its cure in this way: Church officials might well listen more to the Catholics they currently don’t trust and trust less the clergy to whom they currently listen. 

─Eugene Cullen Kennedy