aefenglommung (aefenglommung) wrote,

Storming the castle

I'm reading a lot of think-pieces by Catholic laypersons, who insist that clerical domination of the Roman Catholic Church has to end. The laity has to have real power in the supervision of clergy and the operation of the Church.

Well, good luck with that. The historical box score is not encouraging. The Conciliar Movement raged in Catholicism for a century or two in the High Middle Ages. It was an attempt to corral the Popes from running the Church like a personal fiefdom. It finally collapsed with the Reformation. Diarmuid McCullough points out that the papacy defined itself over against Luther and the other Protestants in order to put the conciliarists and other would-be reformers in a box: in essence, the Pope gave them a choice, Them or Me. The faithful backed down and we have seen the RCC completely run by the Pope ever since. What I'm saying is, the people who participate in high clerical office in the RCC are pros, and what they are pros at is keeping other people out of the game.

And this clerical domination is not limited to the autocratic RCC. The UMC has been described as a conciliarist catholic body. We have equal lay and clergy representation at all levels of the Conferences that run our Church. Except bishops are, well, bishops, and laity can't be bishops. And the clergy are full-time church politicians while the laity are mostly just volunteers, so the clergy play the game all the time. We are effectively dominated by the worst and most ruthless elements in our clergy, too.

I don't know the answer. Probably money. Maybe if you starve the beast of the means of carrying on, you can bring it to heel. Maybe.

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