What would a turnaround artist do with an $8.6 billion (sales) organization with 133,000 employees, falling market share and a mountain of multimillion-dollar lawsuits?So goes the opening line of an article found at Forbes.com. (If this link does not get you there, registration is required to view the article, but it is free.) For all the talk about stewardship that one hears, it does make a person wonder if this is a case of "do as I say, not as I do."
The authors summarize the conflict in a sidebar:
Change doesn't come easily to an authoritarian institution. The last guy who really pushed it with the Vatican kicked off the Reformation. At the same time it's tough for people living in a democracy to accept absolute authority. The current dispute centers on how much power an informed laity should have in the day-to-day management of the Church, given the perilous state of its finances. Reformists, among the most powerful Catholics in America, insist their push for participation is not a challenge to dogma or to bishops. Traditionalists, made up of prominent and influential religious officials and patrons, view their opponents as a threat to the very foundations of the Church. On this iteration of an old debate, the Vatican has, to date, been silent.
Granted, the Church is not a business in any sense of the word; this paradigm is a very big stretch. I hope, however, parishes and dioceses do make the effort to act with prudence and responsibility in matters of finance (or learn how). Both sides of this issue make very good points, because both sides bring their talents as well as cautions to the forefront. It seems to me the temporal and spiritual world can work together; it's "both/and" rather than "either/or". "There are different gifts, but the same Spirit,..."