We the People of God

How democratic should the church be?

Sexual-abuse scandals, here and abroad, are but one symptom of a much deeper problem facing the church: its current structure of government is extraordinarily centralized and hierarchical. Leaders who grossly violate the trust of the faithful can be removed and replaced only by a superior official. A priest may be removed by a bishop; a bishop by the pope; a pope only by God. If a superior chooses to keep an official in office, those...

The remainder of this article is only available to paid subscribers.

Print subscribers to Commonweal are entitled to free access to all premium online content. Click here to purchase a print subscription, or if you’re already a print subscriber, register now for premium access.

Online-only subscriptions provide access to all premium online articles for just $34/year or $2.95/month. Click here to subscribe.

Registered users, please log in below:

Or log in with...


About the Author

Bruce Martin Russett is Dean Acheson Professor of International Relations, Yale University.

Also by this author