• George Therukattil Emmaus Provincial House, Aluva
Keywords: Authoritarianism, Christi Fideles Laici, Communion Ecclesiology, Hierarchology, Pope Francis, Priesthood, Seminary Formation, Yves M. Congar


The topic ‘clericalism in the church’ has received a lot of attention in the media in the wake of the explosion of the clergy abuse scandal. As Clericalism is the root-cause of many of these evils, the article studies in depth its meaning and rationally analyses the various forms of it. This is done in the background of a gospel-based, true image of the church as conceived by theologians, especially Yves M. Congar, best known for his influence in Vatican II for reviving theological interest in the laity in ecclesiology. The article then explores the key points on clericalism in the Apostolic Exhortation of John Paul II, Christi Fideles Laici and in the speeches of Pope Francis. Finally, it ends proposing some theoretical and practical solutions to eradicate clericalism from the life of the church.

Author Biography

George Therukattil, Emmaus Provincial House, Aluva

Fr George Therukattil is a moral theologian from India belonging to the Missionary Congregation of the Blessed Sacrament (MCBS). He has obtained two Doctorates, one in Philosophy, the other in Moral Theology from the prestigious Catholic University of Louvain, Belgium. He was the former Chairperson of the Department of Christianity in the state University of Mysore, where he was teaching ecclesiology for twenty two years until his retirement in 2004. He was Associate and Visiting Professor in various theological and philosophical faculties and seminaries in India, among which are the esteemed Jnana-Deepa, Pune and St Peter’s Pontifical Institute, Bangalore. He has authored 21 books and around 200 articles published in different Journals and periodicals of philosophy and theology. At present he is residing in Emmaus Provincial House.


Abraham Garth, “Clericalism and the Need for Reform of the Post-Tridentine Model for the Formation of Seminarians,” The International Studies in Catholic Education 12, 2 (2020).

Anthony Oelrich, Church Fully Engaged: Yves Congar’s Vision of Ecclesial Authority, Baltimore, Maryland: Liturgical Press, 2011.

Jerome Hamer, Church is Communion, New York, 1964.

John D. Zizioulas, Being as Communion, New York, 1985, 60.

Pope John Paul II, Christifideles Laici (Christ’s Faithful People), 1988.

Roger Haight, Spirituality Seeking Theology, New York, 2014, 168.

Rose M. Beal, Mystery of the Church, People of God: Yves Congar’s Total Ecclesiology as a Path to Vatican II, Washington, D.C.: Catholic University of America Press, 2014.

Sebastian Athappilly, CMI, “Reform in the Church, a Utopia?” Third millennium 19, 4 (2016) 87.

Vatican II, Sacrosanctum Concilium, no. 48.

Yves Congar, as quoted by Gabriel Flyn, in New Blackfriar 83, 977/978 (July/August 2002) 347.

Yves Congar, Lay people in the Church: A Study for a Theology of the Laity, Piladelphia: Newman Westminster Press, 1967, xvi.
How to Cite
Therukattil, G. (2021). CLERICALISM IN THE CHURCH. Asian Horizons, 15(1), 91-103. Retrieved from