Portland Crisis

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For an interesting perspective, speculation regarding the possible ramifications of the Portland Problem, you might want to visit The View through the Windshield. Scroll down to July 8 and the entry "Reformation II."

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It's an interesting suggestion, but how to prevent schisms and heresies in such a decentralized hierarchy? Does the diocese certify each parish periodically to ensure its adherence to Catholic doctrine? Or how else does the diocese keep parishes from going astray? Trying to sever legal ties in the interests of limiting diocesan liability seems to me a rather two-edged sword. Also, some legal ties would likely need to be retained, especially as the ecclesiastical ties could not all be severed: the clergy and religious would still need a bishop, for example, which would need to be legally acknowledged somehow, thus providing potential liability to the diocese.

I also don't see any way to avoid a bishop's continued involvement in parish priest rotation. But such involvement would also open the door to legal liability, if a subsequently accused priest ever changed parishes. This might protect uninvolved parishes, but I don't see how they would benefit in the long run if their diocese was legally picked to shreds. The alternative, of giving parishes sole authority to hire and fire priests, would, I think, lead to other problems: it is not only or even primarily to hide malefactors that bishops relocate their priests.

In addition, there is the issue of whether decentralization makes sense in an age when governments, corporations, and other organizations are trending in exactly the opposite direction. Would we really be reducing the likelihood of legal conflict if parishes become legally autonomous, or would we be merely inflicting a divide and conquer strategy on ourselves?



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This page contains a single entry by Steven Riddle published on July 9, 2004 6:39 AM.

Prayer Requests 9 July 2004--Friday Week 14 Ordinary Time was the previous entry in this blog.

We Don't Need no Contemplation. . . is the next entry in this blog.

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