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Evening Conference: Rethinking Priesthood: A Path beyond the Culture of Clericalism?

December 11, 2019

7:00 - 8:00 p.m. EST

A recording of this presentation is available here.

Pope Francis and others have pointed to the culture of clericalism as a root cause of the present crisis of Catholicism, the symptoms of which include an unquestioning defense of the clergy coupled with a systematic failure to believe and protect victims of sexual abuse; a failure to develop synodal structures and procedures to ensure the full participation of the laity; a resistance to collaborative forms of ministry, including the full recognition of the contribution of women; etc. This culture has been nourished and abetted by a distorted theology of ordained priesthood. This talk will briefly explore the nature of these distortions, and suggest that in the teaching of the Second Vatican Council, we might yet discover the seeds of a more balanced theology of priesthood which have yet to be cultivated, rooted in the one priesthood of Christ.   

Catherine E. Clifford is Professor of Systematic and Historical Theology in the Faculty of Theology, Saint Paul University. She holds a PhD from the University of St. Michael’s College, Toronto, and a Licentiate in Theology (STL) from the University of Fribourg, Switzerland. Professor Clifford’s teaching and research are focused in the areas of ecclesiology, ecumenism, and the Second Vatican Council, with a particular emphasis on the dynamics of conversion and reform in the life of the church. She is co-author, with Richard R. Gaillardetz, of Keys to the Council: Unlocking the Teaching of Vatican II (Liturgical Press, 2012), and is working on a new book, Communities of Grace: Towards the Mutual Recognition of the Churches.


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