THE CATHOLIC CHURCH AND CRISIS MANAGEMENT

Posted in Crisis Communication Failures, Crisis Management Response, Crisis Mitigation on April 5th, 2010 by admin
Sometimes it pays to come out fighting, with fists flailing away. Other times it looks mighty defensive, if not downright ridiculous.
To equate the current “persecution” of the Pope with the persecution of the Jews during the holocaust falls into the latter category. Furthermore it just digs the hole deeper. Now instead of appearing not to understand the seriousness of deviant sexual behavior within the Church, Rome makes itself look quite hardened to the death of six million Jews, lending truth to the many accusations of antisemitism over the years.
What to do? Presumably, direction is not coming from the top, but it should. A few competent souls need to plan and orchestrate a world response. This has to be done with great foresight and intelligence – and bravery and humility. The planning must be two-pronged. Not only must the words be chosen carefully and sensitively, but the actions must be carefully planned to prove to the world that the Church wishes to correct its mistakes and to make the Church a better place. The desire to make real corrections within the Church must be genuine.
Next, the bureaucracy has to muzzle self-appointed spokespersons who are inept. The spokesperson needs to be the Pope or someone with the stature to be taken seriously and as the final word on the subjects that are plaguing the Church. Of course Rome cannot muzzle individual priests but no one will mistake individual comments with the declarations from on high.
Creating window dressing and masking mistakes of the past haunt the Church. The expression of genuine regret, acknowledgement of past transgressions, the will to deal with issues head on and actually implementing changes and punishment of transgressors will help restore the Church. Otherwise Rome will be reigning over an ever more exclusive club whose membership will surely diminish as defections escalate.
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