Thursday, April 8, 2010

New departure in reputation-risk management by the Vatican

Vatican flag Toyota, is the largest motor corporation in the world in terms of sales volume and it sustained this position through achieving the highest possible standards in various engineering functions and processes.

Toyota recently had a spot of bother when some Toyota vehicles suffered major quality problems involving defective brake pedals.  The US Department of Transportation wanted to fine the company over $16 million following a spate of injuries and a number of deaths.

The president of Toyota, Akio Toyoda, has prostrated himself in front of Toyota’s worldwide customers to redeem their goodwill and he also established a special committee of global quality experts to respond to its global crisis and product recall.

Compare this approach to that of The Vatican.   Cardinal Angelo Sodano, Dean of the College of Cardinals, gave an interview recently to L’Obsservatore Romano who described the criticism of the Holy See relating to clerical child sex abuse as ‘truly incomprehensible’ , a comment that I would describe as absurd, unworthy and mischievous,

Sodano claims that those who criticise the Pope and bishops' are transforming ‘individual guilt’ into ‘collective guilt’; that this is manipulative and part of a cultural battle that challenges the moral truths propagated by the Pontiff.  How would Toyota customers’ have responded to charges that they engaged in a cultural battle with the car company that challenged the quality of its engineering?

Those who criticise The Vatican are doing no such thing. They are seeking a degree of accountability and candour that has been concealed by decades of obfuscation and evasion to the point where too many bishops’ have lost the vital resource of their office – moral authority.

They are also seeking recognition that the civic processes in society are supported unambiguously by the Church and not impeded by anything. including canon law and diplomatic bolt-holes. They demand that the Holy See promptly replace bishops who have lost moral authority and stature because they have concealed wrongdoers’ from justice, or were implicated in doing so.  There is no justification whatsoever for the creation of a flimsy cordon sanitaire to insulate them and the Pope from accountability and consequences.

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