Hierarchy's inability to mourn thwarts healing in church (Main Forum)
NCR commentary by Mary Gail Frawley O'Dea
The Catholic hierarchy from the papacy on down seems to be roiling through a series of manic episodes in which they execute perverted power plays against those perceived as enemies. This kind of mania often is exhibited by large identity groups whose power has been threatened and who are unable to respond adaptively to that loss through a process of healthy mourning.
Along with victims and advocates who have aggressively brought the church to task for the crimes of power inherent in sexual abuse, religious women -- usually much closer to actual human beings trying to live their lives than are the ecclesiastical nobles -- have raised powerful voices exhorting the Catholic community to attend better to the world’s suffering, especially that of the most marginalized. Even more recently, priests in some quarters have assumed a power to insist that attention be paid to the need and the rightness of expanding priestly ministry to the married and the female. In other words, the common citizens of the realm are calling out the royals on their failures to care well for those most in need -- victims of hierarchical neglect and abuse inherent in the sexual abuse crisis; priests who cannot meet the needs of the flock; women speaking on behalf of women and children, minorities, the Earth, and the poor.
When mourning is refused, however, we may deny that loss is permanent and instead manically try to restore that which is forever changed. Nostalgia, memory’s rose-colored cousin, rules the mind and soul. In some cases, we select someone or something defined now as “Other” onto whom we direct rage for “causing” our loss of power and control even if our own behaviors actually ushered in the loss. Mourning is submerged beneath rage and exclusivity -- we are OK, they are not; the badness is out there while goodness and heroism is within.
The failure to mourn power that is crumbling is rampant among the Catholic monarchy. A manic thrust to restore the past can be seen in a nostalgic return to cathedral length trains, cassocks, birettas, and a new/old missal in which words are more important than meaning.
And from one of the comments:
The Vatican lashes out at American nuns, outspoken priests, even the Girl Scouts, while kissing the butts of right wing cults like SSPX, LC/RC, Opus Dei, etc. which shows what they really want. Blind obedience.
We have currently, a sort of Potemptkin village of a church, where a small number of ultra orthodox Trads curry favor by telling the hierarchy what they want to hear, while the vast majority of the laity ignores the hierarchy, if not holding them in outright contempt.
- Hierarchy's inability to mourn thwarts healing in church - Journeyman, 2012-05-08, 00:56
- Hierarchy's inability to mourn thwarts healing in church - Helen, 2012-05-08, 01:09