This is by far one of the best articles I have read in recent times on the matter of laity vs. clergy. Mark Shea is a great and profound writer whose wit is matched and exceeded by his knowledge, and while he has an edge to his writing it’s not unkind (Notice how he doesn’t resort to correcting spelling and grammar).
This is the best defense of clergy and Orthodox Faith I have seen in a long time. It’s seriously an awesome article that all Christians can garner a little bit from, and I hope you read it. It blessed me greatly.
A few of my favorite observations by Shea were:
The notion of the Church as neatly divided between hidebound clerics defending Fortress Catholicism and a marching army of Progressive Laity whose sole desire is for truth, justice, love and freedom is one of the many myths that Generation Narcissus has suckled itself to sleep on ever since the Council.
Too True. Also, I love that he has dubbed our generation in the fallout of baby boomers ‘generation narcissus’ I could not agree more.
What simple-minded believers in this simple minded “Evil Empire Clerics vs. Plucky Rebel Alliance Laity” myth never seem to understand is that it was just as often the laity who were eagerly tanking up on the Blood Libel and chucking Jews down wells for the supposed crime of drinking the blood of Christian children while it was the clerics who were telling everybody to cool off and stop believing urban legends.
He even has a source to back this up: Here
Everyone harps on the Inquisitions of the Church, to which Shea responds:
Indeed, the reason for the Church’s creation of a system of Inquisitions was precisely that laypeople were, in their profound wisdom that needed no guidance from celibate old men, already running around doing it on their own as vigilantes and lynch mobs. Turns out the Church thought that having a system whereby the facts were obtained and evaluated in an orderly way was better than something like this.
Shea is clear, witty and polemically charitable and brilliant, I expect to become a regular follower of his blog. If you’re looking fro great Catholic work written to today’s issues, this is the place to find it.