Anti-Clericalism in Pope Francis's letter?


Is the Holy Father encouraging anti-clericalism in his recent letter to the “People of God”?

I’m no expert, but I thought anti-clericalism was one of the main things that inspired the English Reformation, the French Revolution and some wars in South America that I don’t know the name of.

Have I misunderstood the letter?


Not “anti” but balanced and healthy clericalism.


What is that in practice?

Edit to add: “Balanced and healthy clericalism” I mean. What does it look like?


Pope Francis tends to say things in unique ways and to use certain buzzwords in ways that are not always precise. To understand, at least a little, what he was getting at there, the letter cited in the footnote for it is somewhat helpful:

Here’s an excerpt:

At the same time I must add another element that I consider the fruit of a mistaken way of living out the ecclesiology proposed by Vatican II. We cannot reflect on the theme of the laity while ignoring one of the greatest distortions that Latin America has to confront — and to which I ask you to devote special attention — clericalism. This approach not only nullifies the character of Christians, but also tends to diminish and undervalue the baptismal grace that the Holy Spirit has placed in the heart of our people. Clericalism leads to homologization of the laity; treating the laity as “representative” limits the diverse initiatives and efforts and, dare I say, the necessary boldness to enable the Good News of the Gospel to be brought to all areas of the social and above all political sphere. Clericalism, far from giving impetus to various contributions and proposals, gradually extinguishes the prophetic flame to which the entire Church is called to bear witness in the heart of her peoples. Clericalism forgets that the visibility and sacramentality of the Church belong to all the People of God (cf. Lumen Gentium, nn. 9-14), not only to the few chosen and enlightened.


Thanks. Very helpful.


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