Focus Group:

Addressing Clericalism

Clericalism is a many-faceted reality in our Church. Among its manifestations are attitudes that see priests and bishops as superior to other Christians and exempt from accountability to others. CCOC believes clericalism to be at the root of many ills that plague our Church today. The Addressing Clericalism Focus Group seeks to illuminate and resist the pervasive, destructive effects of clericalism. We ask and are working on the following questions:

  • How can the laity participate more fully as partners with the clergy in all aspects of Church life?
  • Pope Francis promotes synodality, the encouragement of open and participatory processes for making decisions in the Church.  How can we encourage shared decision-making at all levels of our Church’s life? How do we strengthen current structures of synodality such as parish pastoral councils and finance councils?  What new structures of shared responsibility would benefit our Church?
  • Does the current monarchical model—where the bishop makes the decisions within “his diocese” and the pastor makes the decisions in “his parish”—really serve the Gospel and our Church community today? What resources can we find in our tradition toward the exercise of shared power in our Church?
  • How can we equip lay people to become more knowledgeable about and have a greater participation in the formation of clergy, so that our Church provides “shepherds with the smell of the sheep”? How do we work with our bishops to train clergy for collaboration with the People of God in all our diversity?


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CCOC Progress Report commemorating the Third Anniversary of the Release of the PA Grand Jury Report