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Ekklesía Online



Necessary reciprocity

Carlos García Andrade

One might expect that today, 50 years after Vatican II, clericalism would have disappeared. Yet, despite both denouncing clericalism and the lack of even the slightest doctrinal support, it is still difficult to eradicate it from ecclesial life. This may be because it is easier to highlight negative traits than search for alternatives. To overcome the risk of clericalism, the author opens rich, new horizons and sheds light on the history, thought and life of the laity.

Outdated and lacking doctrinal foundation

A clerical emphasis, especially after the 16th century Reformation, led to an inflation of the ecclesial role of ordained ministry and a further separation between members of the people of God even if there is no doubt about the indispensable mission entrusted to ordained ministry nor the necessary diversity of missions in the one people. Yet, something must be missing if our understanding of this diversity among vocations ends up denying that basic equality given to us through baptism (all the children of God, all members of God’s people). Clericalism divides people into two unequal categories - superior and inferior - by reason of the power or authority received.

Vatican II affirms: “Therefore, the chosen People of God is one . . . sharing a common dignity as members from their regeneration in Christ, having the same filial grace and the same vocation to perfection […] no inequality on the basis of race or nationality, social condition or sex” (Lumen Gentium, 32). And it continues: “And if by the will of Christ some are made teachers, pastors and dispensers of mysteries on behalf of others, yet all share a true equality with