Wednesday, March 31, 2010

Mismanaging Catholicism

Posts like this one are difficult for me to write, I belong to no religion for my own good reasons and yet I recognize the force for good that religion can be - or stand in opposition to. Sometimes things can really go south and the crap will hit the fan and when it is religion it really sprays.

Every organization will have some people acting badly. The bad behaviour will probably reflect a focus or theme of that organization. If it were police, probably violence or money, politics would be influence or money - and on and on. The Catholic Church very much revolves around sex and youth and it is no real surprise that sex and youth are featuring in misbehaviour. That these bad actors are going to exist in any organization is sad and damn inevitable. All organizations have to face that and deal with it. Somebody is going to screw up real bad.

The fact of violence does not make all police violent assholes, it diminishes the standing of the majority who work at a rotten job for poor pay for the benefit of the citizenry and particularly reflects on organizations who try to bury it. The Catholic Church did not face the fact that there would be bad actors in its organization and that they needed to be dealt with - they just wanted it to go away. In the process they turned their backs on most of what they guy they venerate stood for and what they pray for. They also managed to become a part of crimes.

Many organizations are both hierarchical and paternalistic, top down driven with a "the bosses know best" philosophy. This can work well or badly depending on a lot of factors, but one thing is very sure to happen - if the management screws the pooch the first instinct is to protect the management. For an organization centered around moral behavior that can be a fatal failing.

Management in the case of Catholicism tossed aside the interests of its main focus in service of management and in the process has become criminal. An organization in this position has two options - break out a chainsaw and cut dead wood or double down. At this point, Catholicism is apparently doubling down. The really nasty aspect of this is that it turns it into an ongoing criminal conspiracy. I do not give a damn, one way or the other, about Catholicism but I do care about the people of good will and intent who practice it being put in this position by Management. I care that a criminally unsafe environment for children is created.

It begins to look to me as though it is time for The State to take this in hand with criminal investigation and prosecution.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

Well written, Chuck. And to bring all this home to Oregon, one of the higher level folks involved in the Vatican is Cardinal Levada--who used to be Archbishop of Portland.

I've met the man. I don't like him. Not like his successor, Francis George--who now, sadly, is Cardinal of Chicago (and who I devoutly hoped would be Pope instead of the Rat who now occupies the post).

I don't like Vlazny either, for what that's worth.

In any case, Levada's part and parcel of all of this. Well worth looking at his history in Portland and LA before he went to Rome.

I'm a practicing Catholic, and I'm shamed and appalled by all this. Surprised--no--but any lay readers of Father Andrew Greeley's fiction and nonfiction would not be. Greeley was hollering about this years ago, in the 80s and 90s.