Wednesday, September 10, 2014

Clericalism and Abuse

Mark Coleridge, archbishop of Brisbane


I just wrote about how an allegedly abusive English teacher was using art and literature not at the service of others or of understanding and appreciating God and life, but for selfish and twisted reasons.

Australian Archbishop Mark Coleridge says the same thing about certain priests (my emphasis) ...

Archbishop Coleridge reflected on the “Holiness Code” as found in the Book of Leviticus.
“We can imagine not just in terms of geography, but in terms of people. [Out of] all the tribes of the earth, God has chosen one nation: Israel. Within Israel, God has chosen one tribe to exercise the priestly office. Out of one tribe, God has chosen one man, the high priest, who is the only man who can enter the Holy of Holies.”
He said it is “an evermore intense choosing and separating of peoples and a person in the end for the sake of the mediation of the blessings; a call of separation for the sake of service”.
On the other hand, “clericalism involves a separation, but not for the sake of service of others”.
It’s all one way traffic. It’s about me,” Archbishop Coleridge said. “And I think this touches upon sexuality in eucharistic overtones. If you take the language of the Eucharist, ‘This is my body which is given to you’. That implies a eucharistic vision of sexuality that is utterly contradicted by sexual abuse. Because what [sexual abuse] says, in fact, is ‘this is your body taken for me’.  It’s anti-Eucharist.
He noted how both Pope Francis and the Royal Commission seem to be reminding priests of their priestly identity.
“Both the Royal Commission and Pope Francis seem to me to be summoning us to be what, in fact, we’re called to be. How odd that the Royal Commission is doing that,” he remarked.
The only way forward is the kind of authenticity that the people sense in the Pope and to which they do respond.
Archbishop Coleridge said what is needed is a change in the Church’s culture.
If all you do is to change policies, practices and procedure, we are only going to find the same things because we haven’t gone to the root of it. The hardest thing to bring about is cultural change,” he said.

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