Bad recordkeeping

Bad recordkeeping

The Archdiocese of Boston stands to get into hot water because it keeps finding documents long after it was required to turn them over to plaintiffs. In April, the archdiocese was ordered to turn over all files relating to Paul Shanley, but as late as last week it found four new boxes of documents containing records about him.

Plaintiff’s lawyers, including Roderick MacLeish, claim the archdiocese is dragging its feet and purposefully disobeying the court’s orders. He doesn’t believe that the archdiocese is that disorganized and incompetent. I can believe it.

From everyone I’ve talked to who has any knowledge of the way things are run at the chancery, this is par for the course. Remember that the people in charge are generally people who have no experience in management and administration, they have degrees in theology and philosophy. It’s not a Fortune 500 company (and even then we’ve seen bad administration in those places in recent months.) The fact is that there are thousands of documents in multiple places (including the former pool in the basement of the cardinal’s residence), almost none of it cross-referenced.

    One person involved in the process, who spoke on the condition that he not be identified, said the archdiocese retained records of sexual abuse by priests that in some cases date back to the 1930s. In any well-run organization with a reasonable document retention policy, this person said, most of the older documents would have been destroyed long ago.

It’s a good thing that the Church is guaranteed by the Holy Spirit, because a secular corporation run this poorly wouldn’t last two years, never mind two thousand.

Written by
Domenico Bettinelli