Why the Pope needs media training

German Cardinal Walter Kasper, an aide to Pope Benedict, had been scheduled to travel with the Pope during his official state visit to the U.K. in 2010. But just before departure, he pulled out of the trip “for health reasons”, according to Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi.

Perhaps what Lombardi actually meant to say was that the German cardinal seemed quite healthy at the time, but may have feared for his health if he ever sets foot on British soil. That’s because BBC Radio Scotland had reported that Cardinal Kasper actually told the German magazine, Focus:

“Someone landing at Heathrow Airport near London could mistake Britain for a third-world country, given the variety of people there.”

This is yet again another bizarre example of why the Pope and his pals so desperately need to stop talking to the media until they figure out what the heck is wrong with the way their brains are functioning.   Continue reading

The Vatican’s abuse response: “a PR failure, carnage, nightmare and train wreck”

Just for fun when we’re talking shop, my PR friends sometimes like to evaluate escalating public scandals by asking each other: “What do you think might be the best damage control strategy for this crisis?” Here’s an example: over a 15-year period, our local Catholic Bishop Remi De Roo used church funds to invest in a failing horse-breeding venture, all without bothering to ask anybody for permission. In desperation, he then tried to secretly cover his horse-breeding losses with a real estate deal that also went terribly wrong – once again using the church’s money.

For the sake of clarity, let’s call this “stealing”. De Roo’s Catholic diocese was left with a debt of over $12 million to cover his losses. But the church never did press criminal charges against him.

It seems that as far as the Catholic church is concerned, wayward priests who choose to commit crimes – from stealing $12 million to sexually abusing minors – don’t need to face the same legal consequences that you or I would face. And from a  public relations viewpoint, my PR pals agree, that’s a disastrous perception.  Continue reading