29 August 2011 (ACNS) - There is an interesting phenomenon in Catholicism as a whole lately. There seems to be a lack of respect for the hierarchy. This goes beyond irritation at some distant, high-up bishops over the sexual abuse scandal. It is something far closer to home. It is about the parish priest. It is about laity telling priests their job. It is about priests telling bishops, even senior bishops how to do their job. All of this flies in the face of basic obedience that is a fundamental cornerstone of the Catholic Faith. It is inconsistent for a layman to call himself (or herself) Catholic and then tell the parochial leadership what they should be doing. It is inconsistent for a priest to call himself Catholic and then tell bishops and archbishops what they can and cannot do.
These actions are more Protestant than Catholic. The Continuing Anglican churches are rife with this problem. Laymen tell their priests what to do and what to say all the time. Vestries often hijack parishes, even in the mainstream churches. Independent Catholics even exhibit this trait, especially among the clergy. The possible reasons are many. Whatever the reason in any given individual case, it is not Catholic behavior. It is not a demonstration of the humility and obedience required of all Catholics, lay and clergy.