September 30, 2018
By John Allen
Moments of great crisis generally affect institutions in multiple ways, some of which are immediately evident and others that take longer to discern. Amid the clerical abuse scandals currently rocking Catholicism, it’s worth asking if one such long-term result is playing out before our eyes.
To wit, are we seeing a redefinition of the traditional left/right divides in the Church because the focus of popular complaint is no longer really teaching, one of the three traditional duties of a bishop, but rather governing?
Recently I sat down with a senior Church leader who was musing on criticism of the bishops of late, which he said at times seems reminiscent of Congregationalism – the idea that it’s the lay congregation, not the clerical caste, that exercises real power over Church affairs.
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