THE CASE FOR A HIERARCHY
The pedophile scandal has brought a lot of criticism on the Church's hierarchial structure. Critics have said that other churches that lack such a hierarchy don't have cover-ups like this because the ministers are accountable to their congregations, not another cleric.
But the Catholic Church has a unity throughout the world that other congregations lack. I can walk into a Catholic Church in any part of the world, and celebrate the same prayers. There's great power in that. There's comfort in knowing that my parents in NewJersey are celebrating the same Mass that I am in St. Louis, and that we're connected to each other.
It also enables the Catholic Church to speak with one voice. Does the Muslim faith allow for the killing of non-Muslims. Some leaders say yes; others say no. We can't know for sure because there is no single person who represents Islam. The pope represents the Catholic Church, and can speak definitively for all of us. Thus, the Chruch can speak out strongly and unequivocally against those who would commit misdeeds in her name.
The current scandals have woken the laity up, and reminded us that we must be more involved with what goes on in the Church. But they are not a condemnsation of the idea of a hierarchy. It is an important unifying force that enables the Church to truly be universal.