If anyone is wondering how lay Catholics are feeling these days, I give you Exhibit A, Elizabeth Scalia, who has had just about enough:
One gets the sense that certain leaders are not only corrupt, vain, and selfish, but clueless beyond permission. They apparently do not understand that whatever “statement” they put out addressing the unending scandals being exposed around them—what the laity is seeing, hearing, and digesting—is a despicable “don’t do as we do, do as we say” hypocrisy.
All of this adds to our disgust and our understanding that something within the Catholic priesthood needs to change in terms of structure, accountability, and formation, and it needs to have happened yesterday. It needs to happen in the very minds and souls of some in leadership whose advancements now seem so questionable, and so connected to a deeply entrenched culture of corruption within our clergy that is still going unaddressed.
It is difficult not to despair. It is difficult to watch Catholics exit the Church, or at least express that they may do so, because many in our leadership seem to have lost touch with what should have been their lifelong focus on Christ Jesus, alone, in service to his Bride the Church, alone. But despair is not productive. What can we do, we laity, about this terrible boys club, so heavily loaded with spoiled princes who need to be made accountable, and double-fast?
There needs to be a strenuous, unified effort—one shared by the laity and the trustworthy bulk of our clergy alike—to build a vibrant and energetic solidarity within the Body of Christ. We do this by together undertaking and really embracing those shared spiritual practices that, since its inception, have brought the Church into cooperation with the Holy Spirit, and are thus its truest source of power.
We laity may feel powerless, but we are not. Our greatest saints have demonstrated how to tap into and unleash the forces of real change, real reformation, through the simplest, most unworldly, means—prayer, fasting, penances, devotions, and wholehearted service to whatever needs lay before them—all offered to Christ with a deep intention toward furthering his purposes in the world. We need to trust that what has saved the Church before will save it again.
We must refuse to be mollified by pathetic excuses or perfunctory platitudes. We must refuse to permit a failed status quo from continuing. We must insist on more lay involvement with seminarian formation, for the health and security of the young men pursuing their vocations, and to drive a stake into the heart of incipient clericalism that too often begins there and only grows over time.
Read it all. Ample and necessary food for thought in these days before Pentecost.