I was the Mayor of Fargo for 16 years. This was while being a professor of economics and NDSU. Later I became active in the Red River Freethinkers. While I no longer live in Fargo-Moorhead the focus of my blog remains there.

 
 

Catholic Church Was Not Always Under a Hierarchical Clergy

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I can't vouch for its accuracy, but an article going around the web traces the history of power confined to it clergy. I had assumed it was always as it is today, with lay people frozen out of decision making.
It turns out, according to this author, the power now held and guarded by clergy was amassed  methodically during the past few hundred years. In an earlier time, lay people started church enterprises and held sway over major decisions in the denomination.
The clergy carefully and methodically rearranged the chairs so laity would have less and less influence and clergy more and more. In doing so, it ignored one of the powerful observations about humans: Money and power lead to a bad place.
One of the brilliant observers of humans was Karl Marx. His view was the capitalists had no way to slow their greed. They would continue to take more and more from the value workers created until the workers would revolt. 
While Marx's prediction of revolt never quite came to pass.  Political people at the time recognized the power of his observation and adjusted somewhat the rules of the game to prevent revolution.
I see some of Marx in the behavior of clergy in Christianity. Some Protestant preachers have several homes and airplanes and never think they have enough. The Catholic hierarchy wants to control what individual people do in their bedrooms and they want more buildings and bigger bank accounts.
High level Catholic clergy would do well to see themselves as Marx saw capitalism. The future of their denomination would be well served by bringing back the power to lay people.

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