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Book Club


Clerical Culture

You'll hear it in news coverage of the Church scandals—"Clerical Culture"—but what does it mean? In Clerical Culture: Contradiction and Transformation Michael L. Papesh provides an understanding for today’s clerical system and present circumstances. Papesh describes the origin and contemporary formation of the clerical culture as well as eleven major contradictions in which today’s clerical culture is trapped. To transcend these crises, Papesh calls for a spiritual approach to cultural transformation (both clerical and popular) through leadership: in holiness, in love, and in justice. Written in an engaging style and complete with raw data and appendices, Clerical Culture provides the knowledge needed to understand today’s Church crisis.

Confronting the Systemic Dysfunction of Clericalism
Our book club is currently reading Confronting the Systemic Dysfunction of Clericalism. 
Produced by the Association of U.S. Catholic Priests in collaboration with Voice of the Faithful and lay people and clergy across the nation; endorsed by FutureChurch. It defines clericalism is "an expectation, leading to abuses of power, that ordained ministers are better than and should be over everyone else among the People of God." The group meets weekly via ZOOM for discussion.  If you would like to join or learn more about our Book Club, please email



Searching for answers in the midst of the sexual abuse crisis in the church, many blamed the clerical culture. But what exactly is this clerical culture? We may know it when we see it, but how can we’whether clergy or laypeople’go about dismantling it and putting in place a new, healthy culture? George Wilson has spent decades working with organizations to help them discover, and often recover, their foundational calling. He is also a Jesuit priest engaged in the lives of congregations. In Clericalism: The Death of Priesthood he brings together both capacities and gives his sense of the challenges facing the church.


Baptism, says Lakeland, not priestly ordination, is the basis for all mission and ministry, and the mission of those baptized into Christ is to be the sacrament of God's love in a world rife with violence and brutal inequity. The specific mission of the laity is to the world, whereas the mission of the clergy is to the household of the faith. Yet lay people can't leave "church business" exclusively to the clergy, and the clergy can't leave the church's "worldly mission" exclusively to the laity. The key to resolving these overlapping responsibilities is by becoming an adult church, an open church in an open society. In pursuing this goal, Lakeland develops "ten steps toward a more adult church."

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