Wednesday, April 28, 2010

The New Bishop

I'm not going to pretend that I know anything about the inner workings of the Roman Catholic Church, but I do know a bit about public relations.

From a distance, it appears former Bishop Joseph Martino did the right thing in closing churches and schools.   The population of priests,  the population of students, and the population of parishioners could no longer support all those buildings.

On the other hand, the Martino years were a public relations failure.  A disaster.  Tough decisions come with heat.  Early on, it was clear Martino decided he just didn't want to deal with it.  Discussion?  Zero.  Yes, there were news conferences.  They all went the same way-- a consultant was introduced, and he did the heavy lifting.  I'm sure there was compassion within the walls of the bishop's office.  Unfortunately, that compassion did not escape to the people outside.

The Martino era officially ended Monday.  There's a new bishop, Joseph Bambera.  He owes Martino a debt of gratitude.  Martino pulled the trigger on the tough calls.  The decks are cleared.  The diocese is leaner, and a more manageable size.

Martino also showed Bambera how NOT to do things, and Bambera should be grateful for that as well.