Friday, March 25

Ownership and identity within the RC church

There have been a number of polls released recently that have mutually reinforcing data.  This data demonstrates a pattern that has certain fundamental implications which many haven't really examined. 

In general, the US population has continued it's trend of social acceptance of homosexuality and recently reached the point where a majority of americans support gay marriage.  Of somewhat greater interest, but no great surprize, is that research points to RC laity being stronger in support of gay marriage and, more generally, gay rights, than other religious laity.  This leads me to the recent remarks by Vatican officials doubling down against gay rights.

In short, the leadership and the laity are substantively at variance when it comes to rights based upon sexual orientation, women's rights (including ordination),  just about ANYTHING to do with sex....there's a list.  Andrew Greeley has been making a living off of the statistical analysis of this phenomenon for decades, so it should come as no surprize.  The question comes to me, then...

Who is the church?  Is it the formal structure consisting of theocrats who promulgate doctrine and their local, ordained representatives?  Is it the general mass of parishioners who fill (or empty) the pews?  If there are differences in ideology and practical application thereof, who take precedence? 

Augustine would side with the parishioners as being "the Body of Christ" and there is substantive Tradition from his time forward to support that position.  If that is the case, then I would boldly assert that it is the laity who needs to seize ownership of the Church which is them and spearhead a reform...a correction to re-align the formal structure to be more in keeping with both the precepts of the Deposit of Faith as well as the the sensus fidelium.

Addendum: Much of what I have said here applies to other formal religions, in the broad catholic and protestant communities and in other faiths as well.  I have used the RC church as an example because it is possibly the most egregious example at hand as well as one that is most in my mind at present.


  1. It is comical to say the least, to imagine the clergy speaking on the subject of sex with which they -may- have no experience at all.

    But the laos are expected to obey whatever comes from "above"...

  2. Oh, I agree entirely, Anon.
    Sex, abortion, raising children, marriage counseling....the list goes on. I could argue that there are some who can speak authoritatively on sexual orientation, but to do so, they'll end up being de-frocked.

    I think a LOT of the issue is that the clergy are largely immune to the burning social issues which are needing to be addressed. Without context and without the capability to sympathise with the laity who are in're back to issues of relevancy.