Believe it or not, after the Second Vatican Council anticlericalism is a Catholic virtue. In elaborating a theology of laity, as many call it, and speaking of a hierarchy of service rather than of domination in the Church, Vatican II implicitly endorsed opposition to clericalism, which is a policy of maintaining or increasing the power of a religious hierarchy. Clearly, this sort of anticlericalism has nothing to do with the other anticlericalism.
There is a strain in Marx of the cleric, of the vulgar moralist. He paints the capitalist and the bourgeois as incarnations of evil; it is they who are responsible for the woes of mankind. The dismissal of the individual’s responsibility for his own misery is the quintessence of clericalism.john carroll