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U.S. Catholics See Sex Abuse

Introduction

The modern world is strongly associated with numerous changes in the industrial and business spheres. However, religion still occupies one of the leading positions in many people’s lives. In view of the recent world events, it is a timely issue to pay attention to the Catholic Church and religion. Though many Catholics believe that the Church cannot influence secular economic matters, the latest scandals connected with sex abuse and pedophilia among priests and corruption prove the contrary. Therefore, it is significant to regard the Catholic Church not only from the theological point of view, as a symbol of faith, but also from a non-religious one, and pay attention to the fact that the Church is a nonprofit management organization. The article “Views of the Catholic Church today: U.S. Catholics see sex abuse as the Church’s most important problem, charity as its most important contribution” by Alan Cooperman reveals the most important problems and contributions of the Catholic Church. According to the researches, sex abuse by clergy and scandals are the most important problem of the modern Catholic Church; while the charitable work, helping the poor and the sick is its most important contribution to the life of people. Regarding these facts, it is important to analyze the causes, consequences and implications of the sexual scandals connected with the Catholic Church. Moreover, it is essential to discuss the importance of the board governance role in soothing the conflicts and punishing the guilty. Probably, the main task of the Catholic Church board is to plan the strategy, which would let them bring the faith of the church members and the credibility of the Catholic Church back on the world arena. Invention of the effective means to struggle against this problem would bring trust in the morality of the Catholic Church back, increasing the financial ability of the church as the non-profitable organization, and would contribute to the possibility to support people with charitable, educational actions and events.

Key Points of the Article Discussed

The aim of the article is to report about the viewpoints of the members of the American society towards the Catholic Church. It gives evidences of how the attitude of people towards the Catholic Church was influenced by the events reported by the media sources. Among numerous options, the respondents have chosen the most essential problems and contributions of the US Catholic Church. The information from the article provides the survey description and the results section.

The survey:<

The survey, which is described in the article, was conducted by the Pew Research Center, and was based on the telephone interviews conducted with 1,003 adult Americans (Cooperman, 2013). A combination of cell phone and landline random-digit dial samples was used. An iterative technique that matched gender, education, age and race was used to weigh the given samples. Some density parameters provided by the Decennial Census and the National Health Interview Survey were used as well. The results of the interviews’ analysis were provided in the tables, included in the article.

The results

The research consisted of two sections. The first part was linked to the negative development in the Catholic religious sphere; the second one characterized the positive achievements of the church. The findings of the research have provided evidence that, according to the views of 34% of the respondents, the sex scandals present the most serious problem of the Catholic Church. Among them, 28% of people emphasized pedophilia occurrences among the priests of the Catholic Church as the worst of such manifestations (Cooperman, 2013). Some other relevant problems are dishonesty, losing faith, non-modernity, choosing the pope, organizational problems, and unfair treatment by media. Regarding the second section and the positive consequences of the Catholic Church’s functioning, 27% of the respondents marked out the charitable works as the most important. At the same time, teaching moral values, providing faith and emotional support were the criteria, which were chosen as significant, too.

Therefore, the research has proved that the efforts of the board of the Catholic Church should firstly be directed to neutralize the problem of people’s sex abuse by priests, who have got the unlimited freedom and lost the morality that was taught in the church Doctrine. These problems are closely connected with the advantages that the Catholic Church can bring to people. The loss of credibility and parishioners decreases the financial funds of the Catholic Church and, therefore, its ability to help the needy, the poor, and the sick.

Significance of the issue

Numerous news reports about the Catholic sex abuse scandals during the last ten years have created the background for the article research. It is widely known that, during the last decade, the authority of the Catholic Church was seriously battered. Regarding the reasons, one should pay attention to the findings of the survey included in the abovementioned article, which prove that the sexual scandals connected with priests have become one of the most outstanding problems.

The scandal rocked the church a decade ago at both – a national and worldwide level (Roberts, 2013). The Boston Globe story has caused a serious scandal, which has even become a story of a compelling and dramatic film by DreamWorks (Roberts, 2013). The scandal regarding to involvement of the Catholic bishops in defiling youngsters was reported in 2002 (Whitehead, 2002). The issue, which has evoked in people even more revolt than the fact of children defilement, was the tolerance of the Church board members towards the guilty priests. Such apathetic position of the chief Catholic representatives leads to a change for the worse. During the last decade, the number of such priests-abusers and victims has ultimately grown. Though the issue has stayed disputable till nowadays, and numerous resources were aimed at proving the erroneousness of the charges, many Catholics declared and still declare that they cannot trust their church any more (Jenkins, 2002). However, the regulations aimed to stop the crimes of such kind were not effective. Numerous similar crimes throughout various states of America have drawn the Catholic Church and its members into a great world scandal. Among some other occurrences, in his article, Gibson reported about 21 Philadelphian Catholic priests, who were suspended for sexually abusing children (Gibson, 2011). It is important to emphasize that the further actions and regulations implemented by Bishops, Cardinals, and the Pope are of great importance. Cardinal Rigali, for instance, has put his forces to express his sorrow to the victims and to prosecute the guilty for these terrible acts. Nevertheless, the mentioned crime could not stay unnoticed, and the good name and reputation of the Catholic Church have suffered.

The problem of sex abuse is highly important because it puts the Church credibility on the line. Besides the fact that non-Catholics become highly doubtful about the reliability of the mentioned church, the inadmissible conduct of priests can shatter faith of the church members. As a result, those parishioners, whose faith is not strong enough, are very likely to yield to pressure of the media and refuse to trust in the church sanctity. There are numerous negative consequences of such outcomes. Apart from those results, which are mentioned above, the clergy pedophile scandals in the US and many other countries of the Western Europe have driven countless Catholics away, and drained morale and finances from the church (Associated Press in Vatican City, 2013). Archbishop Gomez described these scandals as a great, horrible and huge tragedy in the life of the Catholic Church. He also stated that all the governing and spiritual church members have to try to contribute help to the victims of clerical sexual abuse and do everything possible to minister them in the process of healing. (CWN, 2013)

Taking into consideration the ethical implications, it is important to accentuate that teaching the priests and other community members the appropriate moral values and the idea of the common good is the core task of the Catholic Church. From the Catholic Social Thought perspective, the common good involves advancement and recognition of the global universal dignity of human beings (Stabile, 2013). As any other organization people judge the Catholic Church according to how it threatens or enhances the social life of the community. Permitting the clergy to violate moral norms and accepting their self-willed accursed behavior is deteriorative for all Catholic organizations. Such attitude towards the problem can only abolish the existence of the background of all religious norms. Board members have a bare responsibility to ensure that the church follows the legal and ethical standards. Therefore, strong integrity and practices aimed at restoration of the Catholic Church honor need to be implemented and followed in order to enhance its public image.

Discussion of Board Governance

It is essential to emphasize that the governing board of the Catholic Church, the same as those of other non-profit or profit organizations, plays a central role in achieving the goals of the ministry and supporting the interests of all church members. Therefore, the central tasks of the church governing board can be defined as social and ethical responsibilities of the whole organization (Stabile, 2005). According to Stabile’s article, one can make a conclusion that the Catholic Church can be regarded as a liable corporation, which provides citizens with t knowledge on demands and rules, which should be followed in order to become a “good citizen” (Stabile, 2005).Therefore, from the economic point of view the church can be regarded as a corporation, whose central principle is the common good and dignity of each person. The clerical sexual abuse scandals violate this central principle. Violence directed at individuals is the transgression of human rights, moral principles and law. Moreover, if abusers are the representatives of a secular organization, its reputation cannot stay clean. Hence the main task of the governing board is to take measures, which would prevent these transgressions.

Paying attention to the board governance of the Catholic Church as a non-profit organization, it is important to point out that the first task of the Catholic community lately was to select an appropriate chief executive, who has become Pope Francis. According to the first steps made by him, it is obvious that he is decisively directed to take measures against pedophile priests and sex abuse cases (Associated Press in Vatican City, 2013). He also made a decision to visit Cardinal Bernard Law, who is considered to be the most corrupted member of the Catholic Church board and has been hiding crimes of hundreds of child molesting clerics. Consequently, the above mentioned visit has led to Cardinal Bernard Law’s resignation. Presently, his actions cannot be estimated unambiguously because, regardless the plan he started to implement, some Catholics and other church members perceive the steps he takes to be too slow while more urgent measures should be taken in order to lessen the consequences of the scandals.

However, to date delineated responsibilities of the pope are to return to the Catholic Church its previous credibility. The bishops and cardinals are also making efforts to soothe the suffering of the abused. Hence another important task of the board is to support the chief executive morally and professionally to augment his attempts to achieve the social goals. For instance, some examples reported in the news can show how the representatives of the church board make efforts to improve the situation and serve the higher aim, namely clear out the honest name of the Catholic Church. Archbishop Diarmuid Martin of Dublin was standing on his knees, when washing feet of three women and five men, who had been victims of priests-pedophiles as children (Gibson, 2011). After that Cardinal Sean O’Malley of Boston dried their feet in a ritual, which was regarded as a sign of humility and penance. As Gibson (2011) has marked out in his article, the service recalls the Gospel passage, which depicted Jesus washing his disciples’ feet. In such wise, the archbishop, the cardinal and the priests reenacted Maundy Thursday, which is the day before Good Friday, and managed to recall the sanctity of the church (Gibson, 2011).

The central principle of the Catholic Social Thought is the common good (Stabile, 2005). Therefore, the primary orientation of all church members including priests, bishops, archbishops, cardinals, and the pope is to teach the parishioners to follow the church doctrine and win the common good for the society. In the current situation, the role of the church board appears to be very significant. Taking into consideration the latest Catholic scandals and people`s distrust, its priority is not only to promote fundamental rights of person to bodily integrity, life, but also to reach the former trust level of Catholics (Stabile, 2005). Invention and implementation of the strategic plan plays an important role by reaching the abovementioned objectives. The mission, which is shaped by the upper church hierarchical representatives, among which one can find the pope, cardinals, bishops and others, is supported and developed by others. At the same time, it is essential that the spirit of brotherhood is on the second place after the social doctrine teaching. Consequently, the priests’ solidarity should not become an obstacle to just as regards to the law and morality norms violation. Moreover, legal and social responsibilities should be regarded as highly important roles of the church governing board.

Another responsibility of the church board is to maintain the financial stability of the church and to manage the budget wisely. This point should be emphasized as very significant because the church as a non-profit organization has no income to pay salary to the personnel and to organize charitable events, which are marked out as the most important contribution of the Catholic Church (Cooperman, 2013). If the mission of the Roman Catholic Church is to help the sick, the poor, and the needy, the financial side of the issue should be under the authorities` observation. Therefore, the planning process should be directed at inquiring the means to get as much charitable alms as possible. One of such sources is engagement of new parishioners and church members. Therefore, it proves again that the efforts of the board should be aimed at reenacting the honest name of the Catholic Church and encouraging the fair, faithful, loving and honorable atmosphere in the Catholic community.

Another important role of the church governing board is planning and managing the process of the church work organization. The planning process is influenced by the mission statement and development of goals and priorities at this stage is a crucial task for all members of the Catholic Church community. However, the chief executive, namely the pope, appears to be in charge of making strategy decisions at the global level, especially when it comes to the problem of sex abuse, especially within the last decade. Nevertheless, the success of the plan depends not only on the pope, but on all members of the Roman Catholic Church, who should serve together to reach a common goal. The task of the church board is to support the entire planning and implementation processes.

Each church member must know the mission of the organization and support its objectives and purpose. It is essential that all clergy including priests, bishops, archbishops, and cardinals think as individuals and at the same time work as a group. Moreover, the fact that the church is a non-profit organization suggests that all members of the church governing board are to be deeply dedicated to the organization.

Conclusion

To sum up, the scandals involving Catholic pedophile priests are regarded as the most serious problem of the modern Catholic Church. They have brought serious ramifications to the position of the church in the world as violating the moral norms of the society, the prior principles of the Catholic Church, and, finally, revealing corruption that lies within the Catholic community of the entire world. Consequently, there has appeared a strong need for the church governance board to plan how to reenact the faith of the church members and the credibility of the Catholic Church. Catholic sex abuse cases are inexcusable and intolerable as they violate not only the law, but the background principles of honoring personal dignity, which is the basis of the Catholic Church. The governing board of the church plays an essential role in preserving its reputation. It is also responsible for the budget of the organization, following social rules, planning strategy, managing organizational processes etc.

Exploring the best ways to plan the actions, which would help in solving the problem of sex abuse cases, it is important to emphasize the role of Pope Francis, who dismissed the corrupted Cardinal Bernard Law. Ministering the victims of sexual abuse following the Gospel story also contributes much to an effort to remind people that the Catholic Church worships the Bible and God. Moreover, the article emphasizes that the contributions of the church and its problems are closely interrelated. Budget of the non-profit organization is an economic benefit, which is influenced by the policy of the governing board and the number of the parishioners. On the other hand, it strongly impacts the ability of the organization to organize charitable events. Finally, the church board makes effective steps and decisions if its work is organized wisely and all members are cooperative and result-oriented.

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