New documents further damage an already-battered reputation
As a result of ignoring the basic tenets of crisis management, not to mention human decency, for years the Catholic church takes a major reputation hit every few months as new revelations expose the scope of child molestations by clergymen, as well as the level of knowledge their superiors had, and hid.
Here, a quote from an LA Times article by Harriet Ryan, Victoria Kim and Ashley Powers describes the latest findings from newly-released records which are part of a civil court case:
Internal Catholic church records released Monday show that 15 years before the clergy sex abuse scandal came to light, Mahony and a top advisor discussed ways to conceal the molestation of children from law enforcement.
The records offer the strongest evidence yet of a concerted effort by officials in the nation’s largest Catholic diocese to shield abusers from police. The newly released records, which the archdiocese fought for years to keep secret, reveal in church leaders’ own words a desire to keep authorities from discovering that children were being molested.
Now, the statue of limitations is up in these cases, which means nobody involved will be in court any time soon. However, every revelation of this type gives more ammo to detractors, as well as scaring away potential donors and parents who may be considering placing children in church-run programs or schools. In other words, it’s bad for business.
The Pope may be on Twitter, but the power players in the church are still frantically avoiding the realities of modern crisis management; things like honesty, transparency, compassion and actually setting things right.
Until the church officially and publicly creates programs to remove pedophiles from its ranks, as well as those who helped to hide their crimes, and resolves to cooperate fully with authorities in their prosecution, mistrust and anger will continue to swirl around the organization as a whole.