More food for thought from Metropolitan Jonah's paper on conciliarity.
"There is a very damaging false notion that the lay people are separate from the clergy, and that the clergy are different from the laity. This is not the case! The clergy are simply those laity invested with a particular scope of responsibility by the whole Church, in a structure of accountability. In particular, the presbyters and deacons are accountable to the bishop for their stewardship of the life of the parishes. However, all members share responsibility for the Body, but have differing levels of accountability. The priests and bishops are accountable for each member of the Body by their ordination. Each member is important. Each member has a voice, and must be heard.
There are two related attitudes that constitute baggage from the past, temptations which have afflicted the Church and distorted its life and indeed, its conciliarity. Both stem from an abrogation of responsibility. Clericalism comes from an abrogation of responsibility by the laity for the affairs of the church, with the clergy taking over all functions; even the loss of the traditional ministerial role of the diaconate and pastoral role of the episcopate, with the concentration of all "ministry" in the presbyters, is a kind of clericalism . Trusteeism comes from a refusal of the clergy to accept their responsibility for the more mundane aspects of the life of the Church, which was then seized upon by lay leaders. This resulted in the priests being responsible for what happens in the altar; the parish council for everything else in the church. Both result from a breakdown of conciliarity, in which the integrity of each area of responsibility in a structure of accountability is critical. Conciliarity can be partially defined as shared responsibility with distinct levels of accountability. In both reductions, authority becomes identified with power; there is tremendous resentment and mistrust of the others by the persons disenfranchised. Both the clergy and laity need to recognize their areas of responsibility, and support one another in the exercise of that authority. The rector of a parish, or the bishop of a diocese, has complete responsibility for every aspect of the life of the community under his care, liturgical, spiritually, financial, legal, and administrative. But he cannot do it alone; it has to be done in cooperation with the laity, who are empowered with responsibility for certain areas by delegation.
The image used by St Paul of the body is very valuable in approaching this: the eye is not the foot, which is not the hand; there are parts more or less presentable, more or less private. Yet it takes all the parts working together, doing what they are supposed to be doing, and all have to be united to the Head, to Jesus Christ, the real Leader of the Church."