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That "faulty institutional memory" problem

By Diogenes (articles ) | May 29, 2003

Msgr. Frank Maniscalco, the director of communications for the U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops, compares bureaucratic failing size with the NYT editors:

"The Times is to be praised for the forthrightness with which they have dealt with the issue," he said. "Having urged the same forthrightness on other institutions in trouble - including the church - it is good to see the Times taking its own advice. And, conversely, its own experience of how, in a complex bureaucracy, a multi-faceted problem can elude immediate and complete solution, will hopefully make it more understanding of others' failings."

Maniscalco is suggesting that NYT's failure to fire Jayson Blair and the U.S. bishops' failure to address a mushrooming sex-abuse crisis were instrumental or procedural failures -- that is, that there was a good-willed desire to confront and solve the problems which was derailed or otherwise hindered by red-tape or snarls in inter-departmental communication.

This is contemptible.

In almost every pertinent instance the problem was not the bureaucracy failed but that it succeeded: succeeded in stonewalling victims, in rehab-ing twisted priests, in insulating the bishops from criticism and accountability. The reason the crisis reached the dimensions it did it that the bishops' administrative structures were a nearly perfect instrument of their will. Their will.

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