You can see some comments in our last post, but I think some of what transpired there bears repeating for the larger audience. I was accused by someone named “Ben” of

Already determin(ing) that he is indeed guilty and that you’re glad he might headed to prison because you happen to disagree with his position on lay ministry.

Well, let’s also note that I also prayed for him and asked others to do the same. It’s amazing how people read what they want to hear.

For the record, I’m never glad to see anyone go to prison. I am glad when justice is served–which means that people show sorrow for the actions. The bishop has apologized for the incident and for that, I am grateful to him. I have not met Bishop Finn personally, nor have we corresponded. Most of what I have heard from both sides of the aisle has not exactly been glowing.

Also on the record, I DO think the Bishop is guilty and if he isn’t then why apologize for his actions? More over the diocese’s response which I assume he had some hand in crafting, is the equivalent of saying “We caught Fr Ratigan with child pornography, but we don’t have to report it because the charter says that we only have to report abuse.” is ludicrous and it makes the entire diocesan staff look like a bunch of idiots.

So yes, if he’s guilty because he didn’t report this guy and if a decision was made by staffers alongside him not to then I hope everyone goes to jail that was involved. Not for any ideological reason, but rather because they didn’t protect children.

Now all that being said, with regards to Bishop Finn’s management of the diocese in general I would say the following: The diocese wasn’t broken. They were a model of lay ministry staffers and were praised by the National Association of Lay Ministry for being so. Bishop Finn decided to dismantle a perfectly good system simply because he didn’t like the idea of lay people having some authority that he thought should be handled by others–mostly religious, women and men. Was that an ideological move? Perhaps. Does he have the right to do so. Certainly. Any CEO has the right to bring in “their people.” That said, I don’t have to like it. If a liberal bishop came in and threw out say the Daughters of St Paul or the Sisters for Life–two more traditional orders working in some way for a diocese, I’d have similar objections. It’s not a good way to manage any entity, much less one that that should treat their employees, some who’ve given their very lives for the church for years, better.

I think this shows everyone what is at the heart of much of the abuse crisis. Many (perhaps most!) Bishops are not a good CEOs. There are probably 20 other poor management decisions that Bishop Finn has made that we don’t know about and maybe 20 other good spiritual decisions that Bishop Finn could have implemented had he not dismantled the diocese.

Some of these guys can’t manage their way out of a paper bag–and that’s not their fault–they were called to the priesthood not to management. It’s time for people with the skills to be managers to run the temporal matters of the diocese and to advise the bishops in these temporal matters and for the bishop to focus on being a pastoral visionary. THAT’S what is missing in the church–the Bishops can’t be the spiritual leaders of their flocks because they are bogged down in the minutia of managing the business affairs of the diocese.

Pastors have the same problem much of the time.

So we need the laity–people with the skills to be management. Or we need to send Bishops to get MBA’s in management before they can take command.

On a personal note, I’m not a great manager either. I like being the pastoral person but I think I’ve brought my game up a bit in organizing the work and being a project manager when I need to be one. Ask anyone who’s been on one of my retreats. But I’m not the guy who should run a major corporation. I only do things I do well and I know my limits.

I think it’s time that some of the Bishops knew theirs.