Former Priest Says to Save The Church It Must ‘Abolish the Priesthood’

James Carroll points out that the church has revamped itself before with considerable success

James Carroll, a former priest, has written a powerful piece in a well-known magazine where he prescribes solutions to get the Roman Catholic church free of its failings-he to want to do away with church priests. In his article appropriately named Abolish the Priesthood, the American identifies the concentration of power in a celibate and an all-male clergy as one of the significant sources of the problem.

Carroll pulled no punches when he wrote that clericalism had taken full advantage of its reprehensible cult of secrecy, sexual repressiveness, hierarchical power centered on threats of a terrible afterlife, and theological misogyny to make a Roman Catholic church a dysfunctional institution. He points out that clericalism is not only the basic cause but also enables the Catholic catastrophe which has presently befallen the age-old institution. Carroll, who was a priest for five years advocates the dismantling of the clerical hierarchy. Only by doing this, he opined, can the church end the almost permanent scandals and move into the modern age. It can also preserve the faith cherished by its believers.

Carroll makes a compelling case for his prescribed action. The reader is logically presented with facts, as to how ending priests’ celibacy and allowing women to enter the church administration will benefit the Catholic church. He stressed the church should import lay individuals into positions carrying real power. It must also foster complete equality for women officeholders in the Vatican power structure. Carroll went even further, pushing for female sexual autonomy and a yes for pleasure and love and not only to reproduce when it comes to aim of sex. He has pushed for contraception and to married clergy. He is also into complete acceptance of homosexuals. He wants male dominance and clerical sovereign authority to end. He dislikes double standards.

If there are doubts as to whether his prescribed changes are enforceable, he shows the advent of Vatican II. He recalled how the Roman Catholic church radically revised Catholic teachings concerning Jews after the Holocaust. The former American priest recollected the “Christ Killer” slander being renounced by the church council which later affirmed Judaism’s integrity. He said that developments had made a more profound impact into Catholic tradition and doctrine when compared to clericalism being overthrown, involving the ordination of women or married priests.

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