Over on Deacon's Bench, an article was posted on the increasing trend of people drafting friends to officiate weddings. To this I made the observation that this should be posted alongside the posts that demand greater confrontation with the laity under the guise of "catechesis." This produced the interesting response that the Sacraments are a great time to confront people, except they used the catch term "re-evangelize." I noted that this is little more than the selling of Jesus to which the host proclaimed Jesus a salesman.
Sitting here today, it is very difficult to see Catholicism as developing into something other than a cult. In some respects this is unfair to cults. With cults, the members at least make Dear Leader responsible. If Dear Leader has a small harem, they can at least expect support from Dear Leader. If Dear Leader asks the followers to do things, the followers do expect to be given some fulfillment. Catholicism is doing it on the cheap. It demands a lifestyle supportable only by the moderately wealthy in this country. Its diocesan priests are all moderately wealthy. It promotes deacons from the class of the wealthy. What the cult members get in return is absolution from their sins of materialism and concern trolling over the abortions of wealthy daughters and gay marriage. The marriage one is a bit humorous considering that the Church in America can't seem to effect a valid marriage whenever the matter comes under examination.
This all is rather peripheral to the actual ministry of Jesus. Jesus didn't found a country club. If one is of the clericalist bent, and I am, one believes that Jesus founded a Church. The Church was founded to serve the people. The people served were to be throughout the world. While it is well and good to speak of the laity's responsibility, it seems to have become a bit of a cop out. The clergy have a specific obligation to the people. That is the difference between a salesman and a minister. For the salesman, the product is the thing. If no one buys the product, the product dies, and the salesman is out of a job. For a minister, the product is ancillary to the well being of the person. The minister should act in the way he does because he believes the person will be benefited. In the case of the Sacraments, the minister believes the person will benefit from the encounter with the Divine. This is the sentiment behind "if X is Christianity, then to hell with it."
In the end this is what makes the whole idea of ordaining one's own minister interesting. The idea that the minister should serve the people is almost a revolutionary concept today. The whole attitude of you need to play by my rules is quite amusing. As we fast approach the washing of the feet on Holy Thursday, perhaps the people who call themselves ministers will once again recall that theirs is an ordination of service, not merely of power.