A terminal case of the slows

When asked why he fired George B. McClellan for the SECOND time as commander-in-chief of the   Army of the Potomac, President Abraham Lincoln said, "Because he has a terminal case of the slows." McClellan was a great administrator and organizer, but he lacked the stomach for warfare.

Editorial_20100403After reading about the latest Catholic Church disgrace in the archdiocese of Philadelphia, I reached the exact, same conclusion about Cardinal Justin Rigali.

Here's why. Back in early February, a Philly grand jury found that no fewer than 37 priests, who had been accused or suspected of misbehavior with children, were STILL serving in the ministry. That's enough men to field three football squads, four baseball teams or SEVEN basketball franchises (heck, the latter would constitute an entire division). 

Now, get this: one month after the grand jury report, the archdiocese placed only 21 of the 37 priests on 'administrative leave.' That means:

A) All 37 accused molesters were running amok for a full month and…

B) Even worse, another 16 continue to have free and unfettered access to their unsuspecting flocks.

The good cardinal was quoted as saying, “I know that for many people their trust in the Church has been shaken.” Ha! Is he kidding? “Been' shaken?” My trust was shaken, stirred and completely shattered years ago.

Responding to Cardinal Rigali's decision to allow 16 of the accused clergy to continue their 'alleged' wanton ways, the grand jury said, “We understand the accusations are not proof, but we cannot understand the Archdiocese's apparent absence of any sense of urgency.”

I can understand it. Just as police departments boast of a thin blue line that closes ranks when one of its members is accused of wrongdoing, the Catholic Church has a thin line of either black or red hue (depending upon whether the cover-up is led by a priest or cardinal).

I'd like to believe if Abraham Lincoln were still alive and had the authority, he'd sack Rigali for his terminal case of the slows. And, he'd also boot the 37 offenders out of the priesthood faster than you can say “Gettysburg Address.”

When it comes to worst practices for image and reputation management, the Catholic Church is in a league of its own. The Philadelphia scandal is neither shocking nor unexpected. It's just more of the same old, same old.

And, sad to say, there will be many more scandals until, and unless, the Church addresses the issue of celibacy. But, that's another issue for another blog.

Until the Church is able to find a U.S. Grant-type to fill the papal role, they'll be stuck with George McClellan types such as Benedict XVI and Cardinal Rigali who delay, deny and obfuscate without ever acknowledging the system itself is broken.

A tip o' RepMan's hat to LunchBoy for suggesting this post.

6 thoughts on “A terminal case of the slows

  1. Always a pleasure to hear from you, CPO Kasko. That said, I doubt the number or percentage of pedophilia cases in the Catholic Church is rivaled by any other type of business or sector in society. The system is broken and the trust non-existent. I’d never, ever allow a young child of mine to be within 10 feet of a Catholic priest unless there were lots of other people around.

  2. I couldn’t agree more, Julie. But the problem will keep occurring until, and unless, the basic product is changed. The Church’s ‘business model’, if you will, attracts pedophiles.

  3. Rep:
    You are right to label this a disgrace, but celibacy is not the cause and eliminating it will not solve the problem. After all, these sickos weren’t celebate – some of them never kept their vow of celibacy even from their days in the seminary!
    As a practicing Catholic who has followed the abuse scandals with interest (and much dismay), it’s very hard sometimes to remain faithful and even harder to defend the Church in general. I read a book last year titled “The Courage to be Catholic,” which thoroughly covers the history, causes and possible solutions to the abuse crisis (you and Lunch should check it out).
    Most child molesters are not celibate and they are not gay. They are married heterosexuals (with wives and kids) with a serious mental/sexual illness. And they are found in all walks of life and jobs – especially those involving children (teachers, ministers, coaches, boy scout leaders, etc.). And the percentage of “abusive” or sick priests is not higher than those of other occupations.
    So yes, there are some things that need serious fixing in the Church – but it’s not the rule of celibacy – and I don’t think the whole model is wrong (you and I will probably not agree on this). I think the Catholic Church, which has survived and evolved for 2,000 years, will be around for a long time to come – but hopefully with better leaders and more honesty, openness and humility in admitting mistakes and correcting them.
    CPO Kasko

  4. When it comes to this issue, the Catholic Church worships “Our Lady of Perpetual Denial.” If the church would expose and expunge these predators, instead of harboring and protecting them, I would have more respect for the organization and its leadership.
    But for decades, all they’ve done is turn a blind eye by relocating the predators to a new parish to prey upon a new group of unsuspecting victims. The so-called leadership of this non-profit corporation should be held accountable.

  5. No argument from this blogger, Bubbles. People sometimes ask me how I’d handle the Church’s PR efforts. I always respond by saying I wouldn’t try until they fix the basic model. The best marketing in the world can’t help a broken product or service offering.

  6. You know I feel the same way about the Church as you do, Rep, but I think the problem is not that priests are (supposed to be) celibate. Marriage does not deter a sexual predator. The church is, and has been, a petri dish for pedophiles. I imagine there are some deviants who become priests just because the Church is such a playground for them, and the repercussions are mild, at best. For sure this sexual abuse has been going on as long as the Church has been in existence. Breaks my heart to think about the children over the centuries who were abused at the hand of God and had no opportunity for recovery or healing.