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.
After 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.