"The church must never become like that complicated and suffocating palace from which the messenger is unable to exit....(story by Franz Kafka)
Other obstacles include the abundance of and confidence in human resources - too many tunics and too many purses that weigh the messenger down (see Luke 10:4). ... There is also an excess of bureaucracy, a clericalism that dulls the incisiveness of the word and makes it seem remote from real life, language that is abstruse and incomprehensible, all constituting an insurmountable obstacle. Excessive human caution and self-protection keep the window shades lowered." (Remember Jesus Christ by Fr. Cantalamessa)
I think this passage summed up for me how I feel about church hierarchy and bureaucracy - that is has become a 'complicated and suffocating' place where the message of Jesus is Lord is 'unable to exit'. Since I've had the "opportunity" to work in church ministry for a number of years, I've seen how the hierarchy works - the politicking, the bullshitting, the rules that are pointless - and this passage so speaks to my heart. I read it and I was like - YES!, this is it! - and at the same time, was disheartened, because it's like "Why?".
I mean, I realize the corporate structure is important - actually I don't know that it is important. I think that's why small evangelical churches are so attractive to many people - because the rules aren't strangling them; bureaucracy isn't strangling the messenger.
Unfortunately, way too many priests, bishops, and cardinals get caught up in the politicking, in all the externals: the committees, the meetings, etc.; and with each step, grow farther and farther away from proclaiming the message. I don't know if they get enamored of the position of power, or the flattery; but they cease to be controversial in the way they should be.
It's infuriating to see it - and I have seen it even some of the priests I know. There are flashes of holiness, but it just becomes a flash. I often wonder how they expect their parishioners to be holy if they are not willing to do what it takes to be holy and lead their people in holiness. Do they think it will just happen by magic?
Then there's the meetings that they have used to replace actual face-to-face interactions. That's not just detrimental to perspective, but also to evangelization. Your perspective gets so narrowed to what the committee thinks, and that those people represent as a whole (they don't!). Fr. "Z" would rather sit in parish meetings than attend the parish Bible study or stop by the religious ed classes. Now, why would that be, do you think? Because he's an elitist? Perhaps. I think he doesn't like mingling with the uneducated commoners (no, he's not President Obama or Chris Matthews).
It's very sad that many parishes treat priests like a 'Sacrament Machine', and that some priests allow that mentality to continue! It reminds me that I need to pray for our priests more often.