Would Abolishing Priesthood Save the Catholic Church?

priest

Newly ordained priests pray during a ceremony led by Pope Francis in St. Peter’s Basilica at the Vatican on May 12, 2019. (AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)

Abolishing the priesthood will not save the Catholic Church

Source: Religion New Service

By Rev. Thomas J. Reese, a Jesuit priest, is a Senior Analyst at RNS. Previously he was a columnist at the National Catholic Reporter (2015-17) and an associate editor (1978-85) and editor in chief (1998-2005) at America magazine.

(RNS) — In an article in The Atlantic’s June issue titled “Abolish the Priesthood,” James Carroll provides thought-provoking analysis of the state of the Catholic Church, recounting the history of the sex abuse crisis in the church with special focus on Boston, Ireland, the Pennsylvania grand jury report and Theodore McCarrick.

None of this is new, of course, but seeing it all together depresses and angers the reader that such things were possible in the church.

Also not new is the culprit, in Carroll’s eyes. He points to clericalism as “both the underlying cause and the ongoing enabler of the present Catholic catastrophe.”

“Clericalism, with its cult of secrecy, its theological misogyny, its sexual repressiveness, and its hierarchical power based on threats of a doom-laden afterlife, is at the root of Roman Catholic dysfunction,” according to Carroll. “The clerical system’s obsession with status thwarts even the merits of otherwise good priests and distorts the Gospels’ message of selfless love, which the Church was established to proclaim.”

It was clericalism that soured Carroll on the church and led to his leaving the priesthood 45 years ago. Now he wants the priesthood abolished altogether.

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