Catholic Clergy - Elitist Group?


I was with a friend recently & we were discussing finance, particularly Private Equity (PE). He then said that they are an Elitist Group. Very few people from the best business schools get the privilege of getting into PE.

This made me wonder if the Catholic clergy - specifically the priest, bishops & Pope are an elitist group?

Reason being:

  1. Not everyone can become a priest.
  2. There are a list of things only they are allowed to do e.g Celebrate Mass, etc.

Sounds pretty cool if they are!


“Elitist” is subtly different than “elite.” Elitism refers to a mindset of “I’m better than you because I’m in this or that group.”

I’m sure there are some priests who feel that way towards the laity, but I doubt it’s the majority.


By that reasoning, I’m in an elite group because I can engage in licit marital relations with my wife.

And I would pick that over the ability to licitly celebrate Mass any day of the week.


You are assuming here that elitism is inherently bad? There is nothing wrong with there being a group of people especially good at something, who organise themselves and spend time with eachother. That’s quite good in fact.

Elitism tends to produce certain dangers, but in general I don’t see the problem with it. At least not proper elitism. It is more when a group of people, with no special qualifications in something, organise themselves as the most powerful voices and decision makers that I see a more toxic aspect to it.


I don’t mean to be priggish about it, and I know you’re being tongue in cheek, but this is a little insulting to those who didn’t pursue married life because of a clerical vocation.


Eh? I always assumed that those who choose religious celibate vocations also wouldn’t trade their state in life for a marital vocation.

‘Te gustem non disputem’ and all that…


Yeah, presumably not. To each their own. Just sounded like you were being a little dismissive toward the mass.

I’m probably reading too much into it.


I think elitist means that someone is outstanding in their field of work. The priests’ field of work is spirituality. Besides God and the Holy Angels, the only ones we know to have been outstanding are the Saints. They are the elitist group of Christian spirituality.
The clergy just follows certain rules, some argue that they are too strict, others that they are not strict enough.
Priests also go against each other sometimes, when they disagree. Their brotherhood of belonging to the same organization and the same line of work does not prevent this to happen. Not even hierarchy stops them.
While Saints have presented themselves in revelations that they do not argue, but “are one”.


That’s what elite means. Elitist implies a snobby, exclusionary attitude.

Someone could be elite at something without adopting an elitist attitude. For example, a Rhodes Scholar and an Olympic athlete are both “elite” in the sense of being highly accomplished, but if they remain humble and don’t start believing that they’re somehow “better” people, they’re not being “elitist.”


Not in the least. Priest are called and give up a LOT to become Priests in the Catholic Church. To whom much has been given MUCH is required.


With the understanding that celebrating the holy sacrifice of the Mass is, objectively, a far greater act that marital relations…marital relations being a pale reflection of the union of Christ and His Church accomplished at Mass… but as you’re not called to the priesthood, its a moot point. ;).


A Priest won’t just have to answer for his own soul when he meets God he will have to answer for each and every person he shepherded as God’s servant here on Earth. Those he counseled and those he administered the Sacraments to. Those he preached homilies to and those he said Mass for. WOW what a heavy weight to have on their shoulders. They are Christ’s representatives here on Earth and they will be held into account for their works as such. That is why WE MUST PRAY DAILY for ALL Priests, Consecrated Religious Brothers and Sisters, Deacons, Seminarians, our Pope, Bishops, Cardinals and all discerning vocations to the Priesthood and the Religious Life.


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