Why are Many Priests Still a Law unto Themselves?
Elroy Swart, Port Elizabeth – How often have we heard Pope Francis say that the laity should be involved in the running of the Church? He also said that “priests should smell like the sheep”.
But many priests are a law unto themselves, making unilateral decisions the rest of us are expected to just follow.
In many parishes, decisions on who can use the hall and what should be paid rest solely with the priest.
Outside Mass, priests have become “office clergy” whom one sees only during office hours, and by appointment.
Where are the days when you saw a priest roaming the streets of the suburb, visiting the “sheep” and getting to know them? Parishioners are now merely equated to a pledge number.
A Cabal of Cronies?
Many parishes are run by a small cabal of cronies, the parish finance committees, who can rubberstamp the feelings and aspirations of the priest.
If the Church is to be a church of the laity, then allow people to have a meaningful input in the affairs of the Church.
Parish pastoral councils are often nothing more than talk shops, discussing things that have already been discussed over tea, or in some cases a drink.
We have fought hard to liberate the country from the shackles of apartheid but we are still stuck in an autocratic system in the Church.