Progress reports and bureaucracy

Progress reports and bureaucracy

A report was released on Friday on how well the Archdiocese of Boston has “progressed on protecting children.” They had kudos for the archdiocese, but not unqualified.

“The greatest challenge presented to the Archdiocese in 2005-06 is the slow pace of organizational and cultural change in the face of diminished human and fiscal resources,’’ warned the panel, appointed by the archdiocese and made up of current or former employees of child abuse prevention agencies, colleges, and law enforcement agencies. “This challenge is ignored at the peril of the Church.”

Yes, because what really makes kids safe and what really addresses the problems inherent in the Scandal is programs, policies, and funding. Typical bureaucratic approach.

Read the report, and you will not find more than a cursory reference to the moral and spiritual issues which caused the Scandal in the first place. Instead, we have the usual sociological, psycho-therapeutic, and managerial approach.

The problem is quite simple and so is the solution, but nobody wants to deal with it as is. Homosexual predators were allowed in the priesthood, they abused kids, and when their superiors found out about it, they covered up the crimes and shuffled the predators off to cursory treatment and recycled them back into the population. The problem wasn’t that kids weren’t trained to spot the warning signs of their own abuse. The problem is that those in charge who knew better did nothing and that a culture that had re-defined sin and sexual morality found itself unable to deal forthrightly with abuse without condemning a homosexuality that was supposed to be acceptable now. Combine that with the worst remnants of the old-boy network and old-fashioned clericalism and you had a recipe for disaster.

So how do we deal with it? We appoint blue-ribbon commissions that come up with multi-hundred page reports with impressive-sounding recommendations and years of goal assessments to follows. And for all that, is one child safer? Have they dealt with the problems that we are the root of Scandal?

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Written by
Domenico Bettinelli