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Subject of clericalism.

In the Nov. 29-Dec. 12 issue, there was a fine article by Fr. Peter Daly on the subject of clericalism. As a validly ordained Catholic priest of more than 60 years--12 years as a celibate priest and more than 48 years as a married priest in free ministry--I agree strongly with Daly's article. I would like to add a couple of suggestions on how to overcome or reduce clericalism in priests and bishops.

The main suggestion I would make is to allow priests and bishops to marry and become husbands and parents. If as a married man you are in a loving relationship with your spouse and children, then they will feel free to tell you in a loving way when you are off base on any topic. Priests and bishops usually do not have this type of honest feedback. They often hear "Yes, Father," "No, Father," or "Whatever you say, Father," and thus think their idea or opinion is the only right one. This situation leads to an attitude of superiority, clericalism and abuse.

I will always be eternally grateful for a very loving wife and two grown sons who have always given me honest feedback in a loving way. Being a husband and a parent gives one many opportunities to practice the virtue of humility.


Kearney, Nebraska

Fr. Peter Daly's article on clericalism was succinct and on message.

My personal method for determining whether a particular cleric could be a priest is to picture him doing his job (pastor, bishop, diocesan office type) without his wearing distinctive clothing (black suit or cassock) or his using a meaningless title (father, bishop, monsignor). I am too often disappointed.


Hingham, Massachusetts

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Title Annotation:LETTERS
Author:Kelliher, Charles E.; Donovan, Jack
Publication:National Catholic Reporter
Date:Jan 24, 2020
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