When Michael asked me to write a post about the accessibility of the Catholic hierarchy vs that of the LDS hierarchy I admit I was intrigued. Too intrigued perhaps, as my writing style can never do this topic the justice he must have envisioned giving it. I shoot from the hip with my writing and hope it all sticks—I am no academic, though I am academic adjacent so I apologize to you the readers, and Brother Barker as well.
The most commonly recognized situation of Catholic hierarchy is the 3-tiered model. The 3-tiered model consists of The Pope→Bishops/Dioceses→Local Parishes. Not too complicated at all, right? Up until recently, it was virtually impossible to gain an audience with The Pope though. Even if one could afford the time and money to visit Vatican City the most you could hope for was to wait in the crowd and be blessed as a body of people vs and individual; and then The Pope would ride off in his Pope-Mobile. With the coming of the newest Pope, Francis, quite a few changes have been made. This Pope specifically travels extensively out of Vatican City, but not to visit heads of state and other individuals of supposed great import, but to visit the people. Pope Francis has made an almost Herculean effort to bring the office of The Pope back to a servant position in the same respect as John Paul II. Pope Francis even has a Twitter Account (@Pontifex) which offers “time off” from Purgatory to its followers. A veritable new era of accessibility when one can fire off a tweet to His Holiness.
We are all pretty well familiar with the structure of LDS Hierarchy so I hope I don’t need to detail that—suffice it to say that surprisingly there are many more levels. Regular Joe Schmo has access to his Bishop/Branch President, Stake President, and *sometimes* the Area 70, but that is really about it. Dishearteningly, any problems or complaints that are taken further up the chain are merely referred back to the Bishop or Stake President. The LDS Newsroom has its own Social Media outlets, but who on earth wants to talk to them about a matter of doctrinal importance, or eternal salvation?
Prior to Pope Francis I would have put all my money on Mormonism offering greater accessibility than Catholicism, but we live in a new age. We live in an age where as Catholicism grows closer to itself Mormonism seems to become more distant. Sure, there are members that are on a first-name basis with those higher up in The Church, but in a worldwide Church is that sufficient? I suppose it makes more sense for Catholicism to be more accessible because there is the intermediary nature of The Pope that is not really there for the President of The Church. We can access God ourselves, so why not do so? When there is a problem with the organization of The Church that is unrelated to The Gospel I think there should be better means to nip problems in the bud. As it stands all we are left to do is to hold out hope that we will be blessed from afar, while FP12 drives by us in their Morm-Mobiles.