Clericalism: The Death of Priesthood

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Liturgical Press, 2008 - Religion - 158 pages
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Searching for answers in the midst of the sexual abuse crisis in the church, many blamed the ?clerical culture.? But what exactly is this clerical culture? We may know it when we see it, but how can we?whether clergy or laypeople?go about dismantling it and putting in place a new, healthy culture? George Wilson has spent decades working with organizations to help them discover, and often recover, their foundational calling. He is also a Jesuit priest engaged in the lives of congregations. In Clericalism: The Death of Priesthood he brings together both capacities and gives his sense of the challenges facing the church. As members of the church, Wilson maintains, we are all responsible for creating a clerical culture. And we are also responsible for that culture?s transformation. Clericalism aids this transformation by helping us examine some underlying attitudes that create and preserve destructive relationships between ordained and laity. After looking at the crisis and establishing where we are now, this book challenges us with concrete suggestions for changing behaviors. We are lay and ordained, but all baptized into the royal priesthood of 1 Peter 2:9, all called to spread the Gospel and do the work of God?s love in the world. Ultimately, this is a hopeful book, looking for the restoration of a genuine priesthood, free of clericalism, in which we become truly united in Christ.?Jesuit George Wilson has the eyes and heart of a good pastor. He sees everything about the Church and the Priesthood with X-Ray vision and an understanding heart. That remarkable combination allows him to view the deadening effects of the clericalism that makes priests into princes and to offer gentle comprehensive advice on how to help a new generation to become servants again. Learned in history, theology, and organizational theory, Father Wilson provides just the right book at just the right time. He does not thunder like a prophet when, for example, he analyzes the structural and human failures that led to the clerical sex abuse scandal. He is rather like a good confessor who hears the depths of a sinner?s confusion and offers gentle absolution and hard edged advice for renewal and reform. Everybody who wonders what can be done to help the Church and its priests in the next generation should read this book.? Eugene Kennedy Professor Emeritus Loyola University, Chicago?At the time of a serious challenge to the priesthood this book of George B. Wilson, SJ, presents an excellent and positive process for both the laity and the ordained to address this challenge for a renewed Church. I strongly recommend this specific effort.? Robert S. Pelton, CSC University of Notre Dame ?This valuable and timely book provides a much needed education in the concept of clergies and the cultures associated with them. By using the idea of the sexual abuse crisis unfolding as a five act drama, the author is able to clarify the complex interactions of several different clergies and their cultures. Based on this analysis and spiritual reflection, he explores the potential for a renewed priestly community that is the Church. A ?must read? for anyone concerned about the future of the Church.? Andrew and Loretta Favret Former members of Teams of Our Lady Bethany Beach, Delaware?I?d like to make this book required reading for all Catholics (actually all Christians)?clergy, laity, and especially those studying for and teaching ministry. If any of us think that we have heard it all or that we can?t stomach another attempt to ?explain? what happened to cause the pedophile scandal, this book will put the lie to such thinking. It won?t allow you to walk away unchanged. George Wilson?s many years of helping religious organizations understand how human systems work enable him to analyze institutions and people with unique and powerful lenses. The ?sad reality of clericalism,? he shows, is a ?seduction that carries its own allure for every last one of us, ordained or lay.? He skillfully explores the complex cultural and linguistic roots of clericalism and the resulting pedophile scandal without resorting to theological or psycho-social jargon. He lays out a theology of priesthood and a vision of a transformed church that come straight out of the gospels and that are the responsibility of all. No quick fixes or gimmicks will effect the transformation. It has to be system-wide and people driven. Laity and Clergy, individually and together, must create the new system by doing what our common baptism calls us to: priesting, and living in mutuality, giving up any illusions of being a victim. Future ordained clergy will find this book hard to stomach. It lets neither clergy nor laity off the hook, but is most painfully honest about the pitfalls and temptations of being one of the clergy. If they can avoid those pitfalls and temptations they will call forth and marshal the gifts of the human communities they serve, moving them in solidarity toward a more just and sustainable world as well as a holier and world-changing church.? Loretta Jancoski, PhD Dean Emerita, School of Theology and Ministry Seattle University

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I have analyzed this piece of literature as well as my internet review comm-rad's previous in depth analysis and have come to the conclusion that he is a babbling, demonic, filthy fool and I've been told that his underwear is constantly stained with poo.


Clerical Cultures and How They Work
Priesting Before Clergyhood
When Priests Become Ordained Clergy
The Sexual Abuse Tragedy
Expectations of the Ordained and the Laity

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About the author (2008)

George B. Wilson, SJ, is an ecclesiologist and organizational facilitator. His other books are Blessing Prayers and Church Leadership: Training in the Ethical Use of Power (Treehaus Communications) and Patches ( His articles can be accessed at

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