Sunday, February 21, 2010

A Good Start toward Overcoming Clericalism

I want to focus on the positive aspects of the attempt to get beyond clericalism, expressed in the passage in my previous post:
"[...] a purely external 'delegation' by the hierarchy could not ensure it any sufficient foundation.This is why there was further reflection and then the discovery of the inner foundations — rooted first of all in baptism and confirmation, but also in the entire reality of the Mystical Body of Christ — for the laity's primary share in responsibility within the Church.The idea of a 'participation in the hierarchical priesthood' was sometimes almost wholly overshadowed by the idea of the 'universal priesthood' of all the believers. Only thus did it seem possible to cut off at the roots the danger of clericalism [...]" (Balthasar, The Laity and the Life of the Counsels)
 The good here is the inner foundations of a broader sense of mission in the Church: baptism, confirmation, and the Mystical Body of Christ. The priority of the universal priesthood is expressed in a clearer and broader way in the Second Vatican Council constitution Lumen Gentium:  Communion [communio] as primary and hierarchy as secondary.
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