Tuesday, June 04, 2002

One last comment on hiring PR firms...

A short while ago, I wrote a small blog entry on why I thought hiring a PR firm might be a Good Thing (tm).

From that, I actually got an email reply from St. Blog's Padre-To-Be, Steven Mattson, the blogger of In Formation fame. In his email, he wrote: Perhaps I've been under the sway of Mark Shea too long (well, okay, it hasn't been that long), but I was also a bit troubled by the PR move.

Of the first (being under the influence of Mark Shea) there is not much I can do but offer my prayers, but it's probably too late :) As to the second, here was my reply:

Thanks for the heads-up on your comments
(Editor note: They are located here and here). I see your point, I'm just going to have to respectfully disagree. I do not think that this move was calculated to be an attempt at avoiding reform (as Mark stated), because even with some good PR, reform IS going to be needed and it's going to be demanded by both the people of the United States and by those in the Vatican. On the point of the former, one just needs to look at the blood-thirsty press who can't seem to get enough of this situation and will ride the Church until something is done (and probably will continue to do so because certain things, like women priests just won't ever come about). On the point of the latter, Peter Vere made a good point when he said that Rome is unusually quiet and when that happens it means She is taking a "wait and see approach" and if things don't straighten up She will make wholesale changes at the appropriate time.

There is nothing that PR can do to prevent the latter, but I think that PR can help with the former. I agree with you when you say that what the Church needs is more honestly, holy men in the priesthood. As a Knight of Columbus, it is something that we spend a great deal of time trying to bring about and support and it's something I pray for daily. I understand that we should be worried about our character more than our reputation, but I can't help but think how much better off we'd be if both were intact.

If the hiring of the PR firm was simply to get people off of the back of the Archdiocese and once that happened the Archdiocese went right back to the lax ways it had prior to this whole fiasco, then I would be terribly upset and offended. However, I think the PR firm will tell the Archbishops and Bishops EXACTLY what is expected of them and how to implement it and make sure people know what is being done. I don't think that this would be a case of handing over the reigns to the laity or even non-Catholics, making our leaders lame-ducks but rather I think that this is a time where certain leaders within the Church, who may have never been adept at handling Church matters will need to be goaded into making the right decisions. Some of these decisions might be common sense, but seriously... a lot of things are common sense (like saving for retirement) and people never do them until, usually, it is too late.

I'm willing to let this PR thing play itself out and see how it benefits of the Church in the United States where it is employed. I think if utilized properly, it will help those Archdioceses restore their image over time and regain the trust of the people it has betrayed. Is it unfortunate that it has come to this? Yes it is, but I don't think seeking an ally with communication-savvy is necessarily wrong when you have to deal daily with an anti-Catholic press.

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