Why the BridgeDialogues?
Many Catholics are unaware of the extensive consequences of the clerical culture in which priests and the hierarchy spend most of their adult lives. From specified educational paths to socialization opportunities, from living conditions to financial remuneration, in working relationships restricted by oaths of obedience and isolation enforced by celibacy, priests typically live aside and apart from the people they should serve—they are culturally and often physically far removed from the realities of the communities that surround them.
Some form of clerical culture will always be with us as long as we make distinctions between priests and laity. But we can all work together to reduce the temptations to condescension and elitism among our clergy.
The BridgeDialogues provides the resources to begin a dialogue in your parish or community to look at the subtle ways that language and pastoral relationships can feed clericalism and how all Catholics experience those barriers.