The Audacity of Laypeople

Clericalism is Good

At AMDG Ventures we consider ourselves unapologetically clericalist. This means that we support our clergy, even when it is against our own inclinations or opinions.

Many laypeople are understandably hurt and wounded from what they may have experienced since 1965. The oldest among us feel a deep sense of betrayal, as they grew up with the Catholic Mass and sacraments. The younger feel a sense of distrust, as they’ve only ever seen this dual world of the Novus Ordo, resident in the properties of the Catholic Church, and that of the Catholic Church, often resident in garages, hotel rooms, or basements. An attitude of “trust, but verify” has crept in among some Catholic laypeople, and that attitude must be resisted.

Let us be clear here, when we are speaking about clergy, we are speaking of those who have gone to a seminary in the post-Tridentine tradition. We understand that formal seminary training is fairly new in the tradition of the Church, and grew out of a necessary reform after 1517, so it is not in and of itself essential to the Catholic priesthood. But in today’s situation particularly, that seminary training can provide a baseline that laypeople can trust. Of course it can be further argued that not all seminaries are of the same rigor, but that was always the case, even before 1965.

The Position Demands Respect

Our clergy do not need to be “fact-checked,” not least of all by anonymous laypeople on the Internet (the type most likely to have the audacity). What they first need is the benefit of the doubt. It is noted by spiritual writers that one of the strongest signs of pride is opposition to correction. The docile soul looks at something disagreeable and examines it with an open heart and mind. This attitude should flow even more abundantly when dealing with our clergy, who are other Christs, mediators between us and the divine.

When Our Lord said things that were disturbing, at least those laypeople had the intellectual honesty to leave Him, today’s laypeople (Professional Catholics, Trad Thirst Trappers, and otherwise) have the audacity of the Pharisees. They hang around, witness miracles, and mumble among themselves, for they are the real knowledgeable ones.

You Are Not the One to Correct Them

Often these laypeople will brag about how they are “interested in the truth” and are “not partisan” but the reality is that their poor attitude towards clergy partakes of Vatican II and the strange idea of the common priesthood of believers. Instead of realizing that they are about to argue against someone who has likely spent six years of their lives dedicated to training for the priesthood, and then has dedicated the remainder of their lives to dealing with ungrateful laypeople like themselves, they think that because they are an amateur expert in a particular field that they can and should correct the clergy.

The audacity (ultimately based in pride) knows no bounds.

If You Have an Issue, Maintain Respect

We at AMDG Ventures avoid these tendencies. We trust and respect our clergy. Even when they say things we may not agree with or find personally disagreeable, our instinct is not to correct them. We may ask them in private to clarify our misunderstandings, but we will never disrespect them, the Church, or Our Lord, by correcting them in public. Those who aspire to be sheep would do well to observe the conduct of sheep in order to better be worthy of the Kingdom of Heaven.