Ted Schmidt says the church must evolve and listen to its parishioners in order to survive
Posted: Jun 7, 2012 12:49 PM AT
Last Updated: Jun 7, 2012 12:39 PM AT
A retired editor of the New Catholic Times says the Catholic Church is in crisis and unless its leaders start listening to the lay people, it will continue to lose parishioners.
Ted Schmidt’s comments come in the wake of allegations of abuse by late priest Camille Léger of Cap-Pelé.
He said there needs to be a tremendous change in the architecture of the church, especially in light of the ongoing crisis of sexual abuse by priests.
He said he believes unless the Catholic church starts allowing married men and women to be ordained as priests, there will be a massive exodus from the church and people will start to set up alternative faiths.
“What you have now are bishops that are appointed by Rome with no say from the people on the ground who are not listening to the people and listen to a minority of one: Rome,” Schmidt said.
“That’s not what a bishop is supposed to do. A bishop is supposed to hear the hearts of his people. The holy spirit of God is given to all of God’s people, not just to you clerics.”
Schmidt, who comes from a family of five boys, said he’s seen a shift of what Catholics expect in his lifetime.
“Four of us have theological libraries that are better than most parish priests and much better than the foreign imports that are coming in to Canada, who are really good men but they come from cultures that are not used to feminism, they’re not used to democracy so the huge problem is that you have the massive education of the laity versus the hierarchy that is still stuck in a medieval configuration.”
Schmidt said lay people are demanding more say in their church.
The diocese of Moncton announced earlier this week that it had retained Michel Bastarache, the former Supreme Court of Canada justice, to handle all the sexual abuse complaints against Léger, who was a priest in the small southeastern New Brunswick village of Cap-Pelé.
The priest died in 1990 and was never convicted of any crimes.
Victims of Léger have until the end of the month to come forward to Bastarache, who will listen to the their claims and decide what the church should pay them.
He has said compensation of between $15,000 and $300,000 will be given out to victims.