Addressing the Twin Crises in the Catholic Church in the United States

The Twin Crises

For years, Catholics have seen a disturbing pattern in the Church of twin crises: the sexual abuse of children and vulnerable adults, and the leadership failures that have led to distrust. The two are interrelated, for the sexual abuse crisis resulted from a set of leadership and management practices that permitted, then covered up, the abuse. These crises have eroded the moral authority and credibility of Church leadership in the eyes of many of the laity, driven over a generation of Catholics from our faith and have placed the Church’s financial well-being at risk.

Resolutions to the crises must advance unity in the Body of Christ and reflect the Spirit at work in and through us, individually and communally. These crises offer an opportunity to transform the Body of Christ: to create a new culture of leadership and management and a new relationship between laity and ordained members of the Church.


Resolutions to the Crises

As an organization committed to promoting and teaching best practices for Church management, Leadership Roundtable is continuously working to resolve these crises through our programs and services, conversations, and actionable next steps. 

The crisis in leadership requires the Catholic Church in the United States to transform its leadership and management culture. This cultural change will require:

  • Changed behavior, both individual and institutional, over time
  • Systemic changes
  • A return to fundamental purposes and values.

The sexual abuse crisis in the United States requires three main resolutions to occur. These three resolutions each require the focused attention of its own task force.

  1. Healing: Provide justice and pastoral support to the victims and fairness to the healthy pastoral leaders
  2. Investigation: Render a full accounting of the abuse and cover-up
  3. Transformation: Prevent future abuse by creating a standards-based, transparent, and accountable diocesan leadership and management culture.

These task forces must include lay and ordained leaders, both men and women. This hard work must be done in order to advance unity in the Body of Christ.


Transformation at the root

With our expertise in best practices for Church management, Leadership Roundtable has and continues to provide trainings and resources related most prominently to the task of transformation. Transformation calls for the following:

  • Standardization of staff operating procedures
  • Transparent procedures for financial decision making
  • Full accounting of financial resources and spending
  • Purging the spirit of clericalism 

These best practices are best implemented not after a pastor has been assigned to a parish, but during the crucial years of formation at seminary. These seminary years are meant to be ones of formation, education, and training. The Church must move away from the concept of solely academic education during seminary and towards the best practice of proper training for young men to become not just priests, but financial and administrative decision-makers qualified to make such decisions. Leadership Roundtable is committed to providing such training on the seminary level, as well as the diocesan.

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