Hierarchy and Hierophany

Richard A. Schoenherr

Edited by David Yamane

in Goodbye Father

Published in print October 2002 | ISBN: 9780195082593
Published online April 2004 | e-ISBN: 9780199834952 | DOI:
Hierarchy and Hierophany

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This chapter continues the discussion begun in the last two, in examining trends six and seven of the seven trends in the matrix of social forces affecting the Catholic Church. These belong to the lay movement, which reflects the dynamic tension (conflict) between laity and clergy produced by the Catholic Church's division of labor and the liturgical movement, which reflects the tension between sacrament and Bible in Catholic worship. In other words, both the lay and liturgical movements draw their dynamism from the conflict between hierarchic and hierophanic power. Thus, the countervailing powers of hierarchy and hierophany are bound up in the tension between the forces of unity and diversity, and the tension between the forces of immanence and transcendence. Priest shortage (the first trend) brings these tensions to a head, and as the decline in the priest population continues, it is argued that it acts as a catalyst provoking a series of far‐reaching changes, most notably the loss of the sacrificial focus of the Mass.

Keywords: Bible; Catholic Church; conflict; diversity; hierarchy; hierophany; immanence; laity; lay movement; liturgical movement; liturgy; Mass; power; priesthood; priest shortage; sacrament; tension; transcendence; unity

Chapter.  5864 words. 

Subjects: Religious Studies

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