Pope: Don't Clericalize Lay People

From Vatican Insider:

Francis: The Church needs lay people, they should not be “clericalised”
In an audience with Italian television and radio network Corallo, the Pope called for “harmony” between individuals' tasks within a parish
Domenico Agasso jr

The Church needs the laity and they should not be “clericalised”, Francis said in this morning’s audience with Italian Catholic radio and television network Corallo.

“Who’s more important? The Pope or that little old lady who recites the rosary every day?” Francis asked this question to representatives of local television channels, admitting that he himself did not know the answer.                                 

“The body of Christ is the harmony of the different,” the Pope explained condemning the phenomenon of “clericalism” which afflicts many lay people, to the point that it can be defined as an “added evil”. “Some bishops and priests are drawn by the temptation to clericalise the laity, but there are also many lay people who get down on their knees and ask to be clericalised: it is a two-way sin.” But according to Francis, “a lay person has the strength that comes from baptism and his lay vocation is not negotiable.”

The Pope criticised the tendency some prelates have of pushing lay people who do a lot of great work in their parishes - they may be great organisers, for example - to be come deacons. Another thing that often happens, Francis said in his off-the-cuff address to representatives of Italian diocesan broadcasters, is that “when there is a lay person who does a good job and is committed, their parish priest goes to the local bishop – and this happened to me in Buenos Aires – and says: “Why don’t we make him a deacon?” This is a mistake: if we have a good lay person, let him carry on being just that,” the Pope stressed.

“The way I see it, clericalism prevents lay people from growing,” the Pope added. And this “is a two-way temptation because clericalism would not exist if there weren’t any lay people who wanted to be clericalised.” 

Francis then called for “harmony” between the various tasks carried out in the Church “because a priest cannot do a lay person’s job.” The Pope then stressed the importance of “pastoral councils”: “A parish without a pastoral council and an economic affairs council is not a good parish,” he said.

Francis urged Catholic radio and television broadcasters to give due “attention to issues that are important to the lives of people, families and society” as a whole and to treat said issues “in a responsible, sincere and passionate way in the name of the common good and the truth” not just to create hype. “Big broadcasters often don’t show an adequate amount of respect for the people and values involved in the issues addressed, but try to create a spectacle instead,” Francis stressed. “But it is crucial you show respect in your broadcasts because human stories should not be exploited.”

I rather like those choice of words-clericalizing the laity, that is- but, I wished the Holy Father said these words in reference to the trend in most parishes of giving lay people roles that would have normally belonged to the ordained alone, that is to say by making them lectors or extraordinary ministers of Holy Communion. When he discourages some laymen from becoming Permanent Deacons-which I also agree with-it comes across as yet another comment that seemingly denigrates the noble institution of priesthood. Being priestly is not a disease nor should it be treated as such. The problem with clericalism is that Priest infected by it are too worldly and not focused on God. I apologize for coming across as a pessimist who always finds reason to complain or be scandalized, but I can't help but feel this way, especially since His Holiness utters these sorts of comments quiet frequently.
Excellent! This has been sooooo overdue!
And just the other day he mentioned Hell (though he was poo-pooed for that too, because he didn't mention Hell on x, y, and z occasions, so maybe this will be poo-poo'ed as well.

Anyway, refreshingly good to hear this.
Not sure what to make fo this comment.
Is he against 'clericalilzing' lay people because he thinks they can do what the priest does without being clericalized, or does he think there needs to be a distinction between the two roles, but then what to make of extraordinary lay ministers of the Eucharist and lectors etc?
More off-the-cuff confusion, that can be spun for liberal or conservative purposes...
(03-24-2014, 04:34 PM)winoblue1 Wrote: Not sure what to make fo this comment.
Is he against 'clericalilzing' lay people because he thinks they can do what the priest does without being clericalized, or does he think there needs to be a distinction between the two roles, but then what to make of extraordinary lay ministers of the Eucharist and lectors etc?
More off-the-cuff confusion, that can be spun for liberal or conservative purposes...

That's not what he means at all.

He means let the laity be the laity and the clerics be clerics.

So what is proper to the laity? Living out one's baptism in the world. What s proper to the clerical state? Ministering to the laity as they live out their baptismal vows in the world.

So an involved lay person doesn't need to be deaconized. And priest shouldn't be leading the charge in the world - we should be.

Seems clear to me.

I had been bugged by my diocese for over 10 years to become a deacon. I even entered the program: but we weren't being formed towards that which the deaconate should be ordered - to do charity in persona christi - we were being trained to be glorified altar boys and homilists (because of a lack of priests).

I've taken a leave from the program for a year or so, 'til my kids get older but the longer I am out of the program the less need there seems for me to be in it.
This is very fascinating stuff. It's a good thing the Holy Father said something like this. Though perhaps the translation did not convey it well, it is good to hope that he was referring to the fact that parishes often try to abolish the critical distinction between clergy and laity.

In my opinion, the West needs to stop obsessively making the distinction that the laity live out their baptism in the world, and the clergy minister to them from outside the world. I don't single you out, triumphguy, but you put the view so succinctly that it is a good summary. Overall, it just doesn't make sense.

The West - as someone said on Fishies recently - sees its priests in the way the East sees its monks. Somehow the diocesan & secular clergy are believed to be separate & outside the world, and that it's the laity who live the Gospel in public. Given what pastors actually have to deal with, this is not a correct distinction. Kliros and Laos are indeed real and extant distinctions, but in a parish they all form the public Body of Christ to the world's eyes. They are unable to be separated from their common duty to show forth the Gospel and Love of God in their lives. Only monastics live separate from the world. Let's not absolve the clergy of the duty to live open lives preaching Christ for all to see.

As for the Pope's actual words: yes! I've observed the growth of a Franciscan community in our diocese, for example, and this is the mindset. In reality, St. Francis' rule says that the state of life of a Friar should mean nothing when it comes to authority. For example, nothing stops a lay-brother from being the Guardian of a convent or the Moderator of the local community. In practice, however, the local bishop always feels strange allowing a lay-friar to have any position of authority in the order, so he ordains him. Whether they're novice masters or out doing any other thing, they must be ordained. We can't just leave well enough alone. Maybe that's because of the death of the priesthood since Vatican II, but I believe the focus mostly comes from the very thing which the Pope is criticizing.
Hopefully, this will eventually become a call to reduce the abuses of EHMCs and lay lectors and such.
(03-24-2014, 06:55 PM)Antonius Josephus Wrote: Hopefully, this will eventually become a call to reduce the abuses of EHMCs and lay lectors and such.

We should pray for such a comparative "land of milk and honey"... but really, Catholics have become so used to the expedited Mass that no one can imagine a large Mass without EHMCs. "It's so slow! Such things have to go quickly, don't you know? If a Mass lasts more than an hour and a half, they just aren't trying hard enough!" :)

Lay lectors seems a pragmatic problem. The priests never read the Epistle historically, and it's properly the Deacon's duty to read the Gospel. Who else is going to do the readings, really? Getting rid of women-lectors, however, is a good ambition.
The need for the laity to participate fully in their own liturgy is what Vatican II was all about reiterating - this is a problem that was formally sanctioned by Trent, and has been getting worse ever since. Hopefully the present pontiff will really help overcome it.
I can certainly agree, Heorot, that there is a much larger question here, about whether or not such strict distinctions  should be made. In theory, the distinctions can be superficial or harmful. Think of Cardinal Cisneros, of Spain, a man of rigid personal ascetical life, who founded universities, oversaw the production of the first polyglot bible, and led an army into North Africa for a Crusade. There would be no Cardinal Cisneros with such distinctions enforced.

However, the Pope seems to be speaking here of the more day-to-day troubles of the laity trying to act and "play" priest instead of conquering the material world for Christ. We need some Charlemagnes.

But again, he was poo-pooed for not saying other specific things which he should have said right there and then. So we must remove any merit from what he actually said, because he didn't say a whole bunch of other things that we great ones know he should have said. He is just not obeying us, for some reason.

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