Tuesday, November 15, 2022

More Commentary on Situation in French Catholic Church: "Structural 'Implosion" and Pope Francis's Mixed Record

More commentary on the eye-popping revelation in the French Catholic church that 11 former bishops, some still sitting and others retired, have been credibly accused of sexual abuse of minors, and a French cardinal has admitted abusing a 14-year-old girl in his pastoral care in the past: 

Robert Mickens, "The Church's implosion: it's gonna get worse before it gets better":

I'd submit that what is happening in France is only the latest and most pernicious stage in what I described exactly ten years ago -- during a Nov. 16, 2012 talk at the City Club of Cleveland, Ohio -- as the Catholic Church's structural "implosion".

It's another inevitable result of an ethos perpetuated by members of a clerical caste and their lay enablers who are bent on preserving -- at all costs -- the Church's anachronistic structure and many of its rituals and customs that appear more and more estranged from the radical message of the gospel.

Pope Francis’s record is mixed on the greatest scandal to envelop the church in centuries. His forthrightness on the issue is admirable, but ultimately he, and the church, will be judged on the tangible progress they have made.

The Catholic sexual abuse scandal is a systemic problem. It's the result of the system by which the Catholic church is organized and governed, which places all governing (and teaching) power in the hands of ordained males who are, with the exception of Catholic rites permitting priestly marriage, ostensibly celibate.

This is a tiny slice of the whole church. This systemic arrangement excludes women from ordination, and it excludes married men except in Anglican and Eastern Catholic rites that permit married clergy, but are far from the Catholic norm. 

This systemic arrangement excludes all lay Catholics from governing power. it is ipso facto abusive because it is a non-representative, top-down arrangement that creates a caste system within the people of God, in which all lay Catholics are viewed as and rendered passive objects of "pastoral" activity on the part of the ordained. 

Such a system is a recipe for abuse. Until the clericalist model clerical leaders of the Catholic church have chosen to treat as permanent and sacrosanct — when it's neither — is radically revised, dismantled, and something much more in line with the gospels built in its place, the abuse will continue. And as long as the current pope does nothing to change the system in a radical way, he will remain a big part of the abuse problem and will be viewed in that light by historians.

No comments: