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Corporate expert questions accountability in Church sex-abuse crisis

March 25, 2010

Writing in Business Week, an expert on corporate accountability asks why Church leaders have not been forced to accept their own responsibility for mishandling sex-abuse charges, and to face the consequences of their failures-- just as executives at any secular corporation would be called to task.

Ben Heineman Jr. writes:

I am not a Catholic, but I am a student of accountability in major institutions. As a matter of principle, I do not understand why the practices of corporations, whose main objectives are material, to assess and fix accountability should be more direct and robust than the practices of the Church, whose objectives are ethical and spiritual.


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  • Posted by: unum - Mar. 26, 2010 6:53 AM ET USA

    Many secular corporations and governments employ devices, such as "accepting resignations", to protect the corporation rather than calling their leaders to task for their actions. The idea that the organization must be "protected" is a convenient rationalization that allows leaders to avoid embarrassment for their failures. Clearly, the Church is susceptible to the same human failings as other institutions, but it must change if it is to fulfill its mission to change the world.