Get Rid of the Clergy

Get Rid of the Clergy

In their fascinating exchange on the clergy (“Imagine There's No Clergy”), William M. Shea and David Cloutier seem unable to distinguish the “clerical state” from the “sacrament of orders.” One author appears to seek elimination of both for the sake of evangelical renewal, while the other appears to seek preservation of both for the same reason.

Contrary to what appears to be the argument of both authors, the “sacrament of orders” and the “clerical state” are historically distinct and institutionally separable. During its first three centuries, the Greek-speaking church developed and sustained the “sacrament of orders” for episcopoi, presbyteroi, and diaconoi (bishops, presbyters, and deacons). But there was as yet no “clerical state.” That came only in the fourth century, through the Constantinian fusion of the Catholic Church with the Roman Imperial State.

Read Full Article »
Comment
Show comments Hide Comments

Related Articles