Startseite > Blogroll > 8 Arten der Machtausübung des Vatikans um Katholiken zu kontrollieren – Democracy and Vatican

8 Arten der Machtausübung des Vatikans um Katholiken zu kontrollieren – Democracy and Vatican

 8 Arten der Machtausübung des Vatikans um Katholiken zu kontrollieren – Democracy and Vatican

Eight kinds of power the Vatican exercises to control Catholics.

Editor’s note: The following comes from Chapter 4 of N4CM Chairman Dr Stephen D Mumford’s book, American Democracy and the Vatican.

In 1980, Jean-Guy Vaillancourt, a Canadian Roman Catholic pro­fessor of sociology at the University of Montreal, published a book entitled Papal Power: A Study of Vatican Control Over Lay Catholic Elites.[11] This is a study of the techniques intensively used by the Vati­can in many countries to control Catholic laypersons in Italy over the past one hundred years. In 1875, the Vatican created a system of local parish committees of at least five members each, called Catholic Actions. These committees were created to organize laypersons to assist the Vatican in seizing control of local, state, and national politi­cal machinery.

Over the years, the Church gained considerable experience in organizing these committees and in ensuring obedience and a very high degree of responsiveness to the chain of command by the committees. These committees and their more recent counterpart, civic committees, are highly effective in mobilizing Vatican efforts. Vaillancourt places the role of the committees in proper perspective by discussing a famous open letter presented to the Pope in 1968 by dissatisfied Catholics from France and elsewhere. The letter severely criti­cized the Vatican’s excessive attachment to wealth and power, stressing the idea that Church authorities are too repressive and manipulative:

“The whole Church apparatus is organized for control: the Roman Curia controls the bishops, the bishops the clergy, the clergy controls the laity . . . and the lay Christians control (what an illusion!) mankind. Hence a multiplication of secretaries, commissions, structures, etc., with their programs and rules. . . . Underhand influences have suffocated the openness which had manifested itself at the lay conference in Rome, a congress which had very little communication with the bishops who were then meeting in a synod.”

After this attack on the abuses of social and legal power by church authorities, the letter goes on to describe three of the favorite techniques of control used by the Vatican: secrecy (there are secret files even against bishops), spying and informing, and repression (used even against some of the most respected theolo­gians).

Secrecy can be classified as either a legal or a social method of control, depending on whether it is used as an administrative-legal procedure or as a simple social defense mechanism. Spying and informing would clearly be instances of social power, since they entail the use of social processes. Finally, repression, as discussed in the open letter, refers to a mixture of legal, coercive, and even remunerative power. Concretely, it includes the habit­ual recourse by Church officials to excommunications, censures, condemnations, demotions, and the removal or firing of offenders from their ecclesiastical jobs.

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