change management

By Diogenes (articles ) | Jan 04, 2007

Dr. Richard McCorry, founder of the "Church change management consulting firm" Embracing Change, wants us all to, well, embrace change:

I'll give you a current example. Several months ago, the new rector of Sacred Heart cathedral announced that they were considering remodeling the church. Without even knowing what changes were planned, a group of people believed that one of the changes would be moving the tabernacle from the center of the church to a side chapel reserved for the Blessed Sacrament. Fearing this, people have mobilized and invested an incredible amount of energy into fighting this proposed change. Enormous energy has gone into this and frankly I can't understand it.

Tell me, if we move Jesus from here to here, is he any less present in this church? And if we were to remove the Blessed Sacrament from the church entirely, Jesus would still be here because he told us if two or more are gathered in his name, there I am in their midst. And couldn't it be just slightly possible that God is behind this change. Maybe God is telling us that we need to change our focus from Jesus in the tabernacle onto Jesus in the tabernacle of our brothers and sisters. Because, my friends ultimately, where we reserve the blessed sacrament is no where near as important as to how we treat the blessed sacrament which is contained in the tabernacle of the people we encounter daily.

Poor Mother Teresa. Had she gotten beyond the daily Adoration thing she might have been able to find Jesus in her brothers and sisters, in the manner of Richard McCorry, DMin. Wherein lurks a riddle.

Say your cousin had an 8x10 photo of her fiancé sitting in its frame on the place of honor on her mantelpiece, and one day you walk in to find it missing, replaced by a mirror. Your immediate hunch is that something must have gone wrong in their relationship. You may turn out to be mistaken (she could have moved the photo to a place of more private contemplation in her bedroom), but to come to understand this some explanation would be required.

Now suppose you have a photo of your fiancée on your own mantelpiece, and one day the apartment manager picks it up and carries it into the mud-room. You say, "Hey! Just what d'you think you're doing?" and he replies, "It's an out-of-date photo. And besides, it clashes with the new color scheme I've chosen."

How do you respond?

Well, after you've broken his jaw, you patiently explain to him, or his Change Management Consultant, that affection, honor, esteem, veneration are intimately bound up with the concrete means by which they are expressed. And although the forms through which we express reverence are detachable from the reverence itself, any change of forms will be distressing when inflicted surgically, from outside. More particularly, any change from a conventionally noble form to a conventionally less-noble form will be understood as an insult to the object of veneration.

If your apartment manager or sanctuary renovator not only disagrees with tradition but fails to grasp why arbitrary and un-covenanted change provokes protest ("enormous energy has gone into this and frankly I can't understand it") is it likely that he only wants what's best for your fiancée, likely that he wants to deepen your love of the Eucharist?

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  • Posted by: - Jan. 10, 2007 2:59 PM ET USA

    Pantheism is not far from what the good doctor advocates. The image of God in us is our supernatural soul. Its survival after death of the body to its everlasting reward mimics the eternal existence of our Maker. If we see that in others and serve one another in that sense we fulfil our obligations to each other. But Jesus in the "real" presence of the consecrated Host is something different. Instituted at the Last Supper, it is His way of being with us physically until the end of time.

  • Posted by: Deacon Bart - Jan. 05, 2007 10:18 AM ET USA

    Sanctuaries used to be modeled on the ‘Holy of Holies’ complete with veils outside and inside the Tabernacle. All knew the Temple was God’s dwelling with man and our Tabernacle is the perfection of that sign(the Temple). Only ignorance of the Bible and human need for the Divine, or a pernicious will can explain the unrelenting push to eliminate Christ among us. Emmanuel forgive us!

  • Posted by: - Jan. 05, 2007 8:57 AM ET USA

    As the characters in the Guinness Stout TV commercials would say, "Brilliant!" The architects of "change" have ruined many facets of my life, beginning in the early 1980's at the IBM Corporation where I worked. To people like that, "change" is good, as long as it suits THEIR agenda. They don't really care how change impacts others, and they generally have no proof that the proposed change is going to result in anything good. If you resist "change" (even if you're right), you're a dinosaur.

  • Posted by: voxfem - Jan. 05, 2007 1:03 AM ET USA

    No, I don't think it could be even "slightly possible" that God is behind such a change. Where the tabernacle has been hidden from sight, God is hidden from sight. Are people like Dr. McCorry so afraid of Christ's perfection in the Eucharist that they only want him present in imperfect people? Or maybe they don't see people as imperfect; certainly the good doctor probably doesn't. I really like the analogy of walking beside someone or behind him. Excellent!

  • Posted by: Chestertonian - Jan. 04, 2007 10:43 PM ET USA

    If we believe that the Eucharist residing in the tabernacle is truly the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ, then a more apt comparison would be the removal of the PERSON, not just an image! This is moving the center, source, and summit of our faith out of the place of honor. That's why it is so objectionable, and why it's likely this Dr. McC doesn't believe in the True Presence; if he did, he wouldn't dream of doing this, and would understand the insult. Who hired this bozo?!

  • Posted by: - Jan. 04, 2007 10:07 PM ET USA

    I have news for Dr. Richard McCorry, If there is no differents with Jesus in the tabernacle or Jesus in the tabernacle in our brothers and sisters we do not need a Church or a new design for the Church. Actually, there is no need for a consulting firm, so you are fired. This is the most ridiculous explanation for moving the tabernacle from the center of the church. I am sure that this church is not that busy, with interruptions, that you cannot leave Jesus as the center focus of His Church.

  • Posted by: KateQ - Jan. 04, 2007 8:16 PM ET USA

    Let's not forget Dr McC's theology: "Our salvation is assured, it’s in the bank, you know how we say that only three things are certain: life, death and taxes, well add a fourth, salvation. It’s a done deal folks, and its so simple. All we have to do is ask for it and we’ve got it. Could it be any easier?" And I thought that was a Protestant thing. Gosh. No wonder it's no problem ignoring Jesus in the tabernacle.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 04, 2007 6:21 PM ET USA

    I am intensely offended and annoyed by the condescending presumption,even insult, that I have an inappropriate regard for my fellow brothers and sisters in Christ. How dare he? And, using his own logic, couldn't it also be that all of the "fear" and "enourmous energy" that he can't understand - just maybe that's God telling him something?

  • Posted by: - Jan. 04, 2007 6:02 PM ET USA

    "Out of sight--out of mind." If we can just get the tabernacle out of the people's sight, we'll be able to downplay all that orthodox stuff about the Real Presence of Jesus. Then we can elevate the church of ourselves. "Bless me, Father. I confess to you that I have sinned..." Pray always and remain watchful.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 04, 2007 5:17 PM ET USA

    Diogenes, I love your attitude -- and the way you express it. You are irreplaceable. Thanks.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 04, 2007 11:52 AM ET USA

    This fellow’s argument--which essentially translates to, “change is good”--is exactly the kind of thinking that has been used in the post-VCII Church to undermine Catholic teaching and tradition. And that is why so many Catholic parishes are now devoid of the authentic marks of Catholicism. Even dogma has been diluted. Ex: Many Catholics now deny the Real Presence and profess a sort of indifferentism. All these changes constitute Modernism, something many times condemned by the Church.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 04, 2007 11:48 AM ET USA

    I believe that is Sacred Heart cathedral in Rochester, NY. In my little parish in the same diocese we are fighting to keep our church at least looking "Catholic" while the opposite side keeps repeating that the "cathedral is a model for the diocese".

  • Posted by: - Jan. 04, 2007 10:58 AM ET USA

    Makes me wonder that when Jesus said, "Heaven and earth shall pass, but my words shall not pass," if He also had Richard McCorry and his Barnum and Bailey enterprise in mind. One might note that Jesus stressed the essential temporality of the McCorrys--and all of us--not long before that most central and sacred act of His when he took bread and said, "Take ye, and eat. This is my body." Through Jesus' mercy, even Dr. McCorry can convert and become truly a Catholic once more.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 04, 2007 9:40 AM ET USA

    Okay, I'll use an example that the Dr. may perhaps explain... When taking a walk with you wife, if you make her move from beside you to follow behind you is she any less walking with you? Well, of course she is still walking with you, but one has to wonder about the respect and esteem that you show to the person with whom you model the union between Christ and the Church.

  • Posted by: - Jan. 04, 2007 9:05 AM ET USA

    "Well, after you've broken his jaw, you patiently explain to him, or his Change Management Consultant, that affection, honor, esteem, veneration are intimately bound up with the concrete means by which they are expressed." Vintage Uncle Di!