We are represented

We are represented

One of the frequent demands of groups like Voice of the Faithful is that the laity receive more representation in the administration of the Church with the assumption that priests and bishops are not representative of the laity, that somehow they are of a different class or race or species than lay people. They are wrong. The Church is not like India, for example, where only those born into a particular caste may rise to power and wealth and influence. The clergy spring from the laity, from mothers and fathers and families that generously give of their own a gift to God, by encouraging sons to consider whether they have been called by the Holy Spirit to serve.

Every priest and bishop was once a layman, before ordination. They are our brothers and sons and uncles and neighbors and school-chums and lifelong friends. The laity do not need new representation among the hierarchy because the hierarchy is us. A man, by virtue of his ordination, does not have his identity, his origins, his formative years changed. I wish that more priests and bishops understood that themselves.

Just as a Senator or Representative, by virtue of his election and swearing in, becomes part of the government and a congressman, so too, does a priest or bishop, by virtue of his ordination, become part of the hierarchy. And just as a congressman remains a representative and part of his people (or should), so too, does a priest or bishop remain a representative and advocate and servant and part of the People of God.

Perhaps the underlying objective of those who wish to create a perceived split between the ordained and the laity is to someday wipe out all distinctions between laypeople and clergy. With a blurring of roles, you lose the priesthood. And when you have no priests, you have very few sacraments, most importantly the Eucharist. Now who in all of creation would benefit most from a world without the Eucharist? Hmmm, there’s a very old name at the head of that list.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli