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3.1.2 A Close Look at the Roman Catholic Church, its Clergy and its Congregations

For more or less 2000 years the Orthodox Roman Catholics preferred saying the mass in Latin and if they had to say it in the local language, they only do it with great reluctance. They are against women being part –at any level- of the clergy, they are against priests getting married, they are totally against divorce and, especially, the religious marriage of divorcees, they are against any kind of contraception as they believe that the size of the family should be left to God, they insist that them alone can interpret correctly the bible, they are opposed to their members reading any religious books that is not part of the canon, etc. In other words, the Orthodox Roman Catholics are for a military type of organisation for the whole church with the clergy at the top, of course.

The more open minded members of the Roman Catholic Church are in favour of the use of the local language in all religious functions, they also like their priests to talk in ordinary day-to-day language, they would gladly accept women in the clergy as well as married priests, they are more tolerant towards divorcees, they use contraception independently of what the church says about it, they read what they like even those books forbidden by the Church, etc. These members are for a looser organisation of their church where they share the power of decision on most subjects with the clergy.

The passive members could not care less of what the church says or does. They are, however, very critical of the clergy at all levels.

The main reason why the percentage of active members of the Roman Catholic Church decreases is to be found in the increased level of education of most people. Up to the beginning of the 20th century, even in the western world, only a small minority of the people had the competence to understand what the Christian religion was really like, its history, its power, and its “raison d’être”. The use of the Latin language in most religious ceremony, the interdiction to read any books the church did not like as well, as their physical destruction, gave the clergy a de facto great authority and influence on the lay members. And the clergy used this strength and, more often that not, abused of their power, to keep the people ignorant and uneducated. One must remember that the Church was opposed until very recently to any form of high education for its lay members, especially women.

Nowadays people are more educated and this frees them from the would-be church dominance of their personal life. As a result the Church had to come to term with the new situation, to refrain from some past practices, and to treat the lay-members with the respect they deserve.

This does not mean that people do not believe in religions, quite the opposite. However they believe in a different way; they refuse to take the words of the clergy as coming from God, and they pretend to have their own interpretation of the religious scriptures. Modern people do not take what the clergy says as necessarily true since they know that the clergy has told them a lot of lies in the past and, even now, the Church repeats stories that are not true, knowing that they are not true.