Priests were the officers in the Catholic revolution. Their changes in attitude toward birth control, masturbation, and divorce occurred at the same time as the revolutionary effervescence spread among the laity. Their change in attitude may have been caused by the lay change. It is likelier that they supported and reinforced the idea that laypeople should follow their consciences. As leaders of the revolution they should be pleased with lay independence, which appeared so suddenly. Priests also are responsible for the emergence of beige Catholicism and the new authoritarian pragmatism. The priests who persisted in the beginning of the revolution are probably not the same as those who are promoting the imposition of new and utterly illegal rules with the help of their parish staff. Perhaps some of the new rules have come into being as an attempt to impose a new order on a chaotic Church.
The 1972 NORC report to the bishops showed that men were leaving the priesthood because they were not happy in it and