The first common characteristic of set-decorators is their affinity for surfaces. Professing commitment to the depths of the faith, they are obsessed with rustling cassocks, billowing capes, sounding bells and bows, the stuff, in short, with which they can redecorate the set of hierarchical Catholicism. If they build it, these clerics believe, the people will come.
Have you ever read a piece of writing that had your head-a-bobbing in agreement? Have you ever been drawn into a metaphor so strongly that you are torn between lingering on each image and speed-reading to see what happens next? The above article is part two of a lengthy essay written by Eugene Cullen Kennedy. I read the first part while on holidays and was itching to share it on this blog.
Kennedy uses the term `set-decorators`for those clerics who embrace the pre-Vatican II liturgical style of ritual, pomp and finery. The focus on fine fabrics and lace is only one aspect of this clerical culture. It also promotes an old-school style of authoritarianism that views the laity as disobedient children, and a style of leadership that allows no questioning or dialogue. The young seminarians who embrace this style of priesthood have one eye always open on future promotions in the Church. And there is more…
As always, the discussion board is a mixed bag of reactions. Readers love it or hate it. What do you think?