Clericalism at root of abuse of power

Catholic Courier    |    04.01.2019


To the editor:

The older among us remember, wistfully, packed churches and devotional practices of past years, forgetting scandals now coming to light were happening then too. Some young among us seek a return to those times. Why?

Underneath our external piety, something was rotten to the core. How have we been complicit in enabling clericalism, one root cause of heinous abuse of power? When have we denied our suspicions about what was really going on our homes and churches? In our denial, we abandoned children as surely as Peter abandoned Jesus.

Our Lord did not come to lord it over us. He was never referred to as “Your Excellency,” nor did he demand such recognition. He did not sit at the head of the table, even in our artistic renderings of his Last Supper. He sat among us, humbling his body and blood even further, becoming bread and wine for our spiritual nourishment. A servant leader, he came towel and basin in hand to wash feet.

Some of us are being called to reconsider how we are exercising leadership roles in the church. Others of us are being called to step up into the full dignity of the role conferred to us in baptism in the priesthood of all believers. Victims, particularly, are specially called, as Mary Magdalene was, to be first witnesses of the resurrection. Had she not preached the good news to the apostles, as Jesus asked her to, the whole world may never have known that Jesus had risen.

Suzanne Pearson

Stuyvesant Road, Pittsford

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