The rise of the People of God


On October 5,2012 Hans Küng wrote an  an oped in the U.K.  Guardian in which he encouraged the Catholic faithful to stand up to their increasingly docile and out of touch hierarchy. The latest public spat in Ireland where the already bruised hierarchy shockingly refused to meet with the Association of Irish Priests is symptomatic of the increasing tension in the church. Kung is appealing to priests and churchgoers to confront the Catholic hierarchy, which he says is “corrupt, lacking credibility and apathetic to the real concerns of the church’s members.’ He is not far wrong.

The world-renowned theologian  went so far to liken the “unconditional obedience” demanded of the clergy to the pathological extreme of German generals fealty to Hitler..

Kung spoke the truth when he wrote of the conscience-destroying demand of the Vatican for absolute fealty to Rome on issues of birth control and the ordination of women, both debatable subjects. Birth control literally is a “Docens non receptus”, a teaching rejected by those who administer the sacrament of matrimony to each other. Clerical  Institutional leadership today is at an all time low, a direct result of “grey men” appointed by John Paul ll. The worst part of his pontificate  was his monochromatic choice of bishops, a group of one-note Charlies who increasingly appeared like lap dogs to Rome. Even today almost none of them are seriously listening to the Spirit roiling in those they have sworn to serve.

This servility to Rome is well known. Too many are suffering from “scarlet fever” the desire for position and influence in an structure akin to a militaristic, stratified society so very far from the Vatican ll language of communio, dialogue and service.

I have known men who had the integrity to say “No thanks, I have to live with myself”. One bishop who quit in disgust at the peak of his powers said it was unbelievable the full court press put on him to conform.

Priests have told me that it is difficult for them to stand up, even though one of the reasons often given for celibacy was that it freed men to speak as they had no family to worry about. I have never seen much of the prophetic in all my years as a Catholic. These same priests have told me that it is  hard for them in mid-life to speak out as it is difficult to reinvent themselves when exiled from the community.Where do they go? How will they support themselves? One can sympathize with these existential questions.

To further exacerbate the situation, many are gay and simply do not want any light shed on their orientation. They keep quiet, are pastoral in their own way but the prophetic has died within them. They still live with fear, though they need not be afraid. If they stood up publicly and left the closet they would be cheered and supported and they would shed much of the terrible anxiety and possible guilt they live with. It is all too sad, working in an institution so rife with hypocrisy, in a home where you are considered “disordered.”

The tension is becoming palpable.

50 years after Vatican ll the principled resistance  is heating up. Millions of the laity have left in disgust and the clerics are beginning to stiffen their backbones.They are gaining voice. They are organizing themselves all over Europe and in many North American dioceses.  Vatican ll is just beginning.




  1. 1
    abqecc Says:

    Your views of the Roman Church are right on target. I had to live nearly twenty years in the closet of being a married priest. Through the grace of God My wife& I are now members of the Ecumenical Catholic Communion. We would to use your material in our news letter, if that is OK with you.
    Fr. Mark & Rachel Sutton

  2. […] wavelength. It’s very easy to condemn the common people. The most difficult thing would be to listen to God’s common people right now. Some very old people who have never been to University but who  understood the basics of life used […]

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