My farewell letter to the Pope

Dear Pope Emeritus Benedict/Your Holiness,

I’d like to wish you an uneventful retirement, even though you and I both know, let’s face it, that you’re swiftly approaching your own Best Before date.  Soon, you’ll be shuffling off to go meet Jesus in person, likely a comforting prospect for a frail almost-86-year old cleric.

Meanwhile, you may wonder why you haven’t heard from me sooner, way back when you first donned your white zuchetto skullcap.   Continue reading

Catholic hierarchy: a safe haven for predator priests

Earth to the Catholic Church: if you won’t go after your priests, the law will go after you.

That’s the lesson that Bishop Robert W. Finn learned recently. The leader of the Diocese of Kansas City-St. Joseph was convicted in court for not telling police that one of his priests, the Rev. Shawn Ratigan, had taken hundreds of lewd images of the genitalia of little girls – some as young as 2 years of age.

Ratigan, age 46, has pleaded guilty to federal child pornography charges. If convicted, he could face a minimum 15 years in prison.

Finn’s historic conviction is the first time that a Catholic bishop in the United States had been held accountable in criminal court in the nearly three decades since the Catholic priest sexual abuse scandals first came to light.  Continue reading

Penn State’s PR train wreck

As a veteran of the public relations field since the 1980s (with a niche interest in crisis communications and reputation management in corporate, government and non-profit sectors), I’ve always been intrigued by really good examples of really bad PR practice in action.

The Penn State scandal has been one in which the optics, as we say in PR, were truly dreadful. So, like slowing down for a train wreck, let’s revisit this case – but from a unique perspective.  Continue reading