Tuesday, April 1, 2014

Another Church scandal . . . and another failure of an 'organization man'

I was disgusted to read this news from the Archdiocese of Atlanta.

The Roman Catholic Archbishop of Atlanta apologized Monday for building a $2.2 million mansion for himself, a decision criticized by local Catholics who cited the example of austerity set by the new pope.

. . .

The archbishop said that he made a mistake while designing a home with large meeting spaces and rooms for receptions and gatherings.

"What we didn't stop to consider, and that oversight rests with me and me alone, was that the world and the Church have changed," Gregory said.

He demolished the one-story home on Mitchell's property, which was donated to the church, and replaced it with a Tudor-style mansion. In January, a group of local Catholics met with the archbishop and asked that he sell the large home and return to his old residence. They cited the example of Pope Francis, who turned down living quarters in a Vatican palace and drives a simple car.

There's more at the link.

Salient points:

  1. The building was purchased using money specifically donated to the Archdiocese for "general religious and charitable purposes".  I can't see the building of an opulent mansion as either religious or charitable - can you, readers?
  2. The Archbishop apparently didn't even think - until it was too late - about the impression his decision would make on the flock he's supposed to tend.  He simply regarded this as a worthwhile expenditure from his point of view, and that of the institutional Church.  There's no evidence he even considered whether the money might be better spent on more urgent pastoral needs.
  3. After his flock found out about the expenditure and complained, he's apologized - but he hasn't resigned, or (as far as we know) even offered to resign.  He's retained the reins of power.  In other words, his apology appears to be more a matter of "I'm sorry I got caught" than "I'm sorry I did this".  If he was serious, he'd have resigned his position after such a colossal failure of leadership.

This is yet another example of an 'organization man' making decisions from the perspective of perpetuating the organization's power, influence and status.  It's precisely the same problem that pervaded - and still pervades - the Catholic Church in dealing with the clergy sex abuse scandal, about which I've already written extensively (see the list of articles in the sidebar).

Insensitivity, bullheaded self-interest and an utter incomprehension of the way the world works.  These are the hallmarks of most of the current leadership of the Catholic church (with a few - all too few - honorable exceptions).  When will they ever learn?  Is it even possible for them to learn?  Have they become so spiritually and mentally ossified by their years locked within an 'institution mentality' that they no longer care - unless forced to do so - about how the rest of the world sees and responds to them?

The Catholic faithful deserve far better than this.  Tragically, most of them aren't getting it.



Old NFO said...

Last sentence says it all... sigh.

og said...

here's the thing: No matter what anyone says, the Catholic Church is not the bishops, the priests, the clergy of any stripe. The Catholic Church is comprised of the Faithful, and the clergy is a group of self appointed people who have established themselves as our "Rulers". Witness how they are addressed: Your excellency. Your Eminence. They are royalty, and we have no say in their appointment, and that makes them think we have no say in their actions.

Catholicism is tenable and inviolate, and will exist outside of the clergy, and has always existed outside of the clergy. We have been blessed in that we have had a good run of grand spiritual leaders who are true Christians, but the church as it stands must return to it's beginnings. Never forget Christ himself said "For where there are two or three gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.". he did NOT say "For where there are two or three including at least one minister of my word gathered together in my name, there am I in the midst of them.

I did not leave the Catholic Church, I am still proudly one of it's members, and will be forever. The Catholic Church (In the person of it's "leadership") left me.

PapaMAS said...

"Insensitivity, bullheaded self-interest and an utter incomprehension of the way the world works. These are the hallmarks of most of the current leadership of the Catholic church."

Apparently the Church forgot why the Protestant Reformation happened. There is none so blind as he who will not see.