Wednesday, November 17, 2010

Tom Reese on Dolan-Kurtz Election as Culture-War Battle Cry

And here's Fr. Thomas Reese of Georgetown on the election of Dolan-Kurtz to head the USCCB:

This is a signal that the conference wants to be a leader in the culture wars. The two vice-presidential finalists were the two most conservative on the ballot. That says something about where this conference is going.

When top CEOs, who have all the power in their hands, and who control the branding of their product ("we are the teachers," Timothy Dolan has announced) find themselves with their backs against the wall, their first impulse is likely to be to engage in superficial re-branding.  Image management.

To push forward a leader who gives their brand a kinder, gentler, and cleaner image.

But when the entirely dishonest and superficial re-branding fails, they have one of two final options: either face the need to do serious soul-searching about who and what they are, what their corporation has come to be and stand for; or become overtly belligerent.

Take off the gloves and come out fighting.  And admit that the brand of intractable belligerence is one in which they glory, and one they are proud to promote for their organization.

Top CEOS--we are the teachers!--rarely take the first option of profound soul-searching and systemic transformation.  They're CEOs, after all, well-paid, well-fed, used to cutting backroom deals with other well-paid and well-fed men.

Used to wielding power.  Used to holding little people's lives in their hands.

And the gospels, with their call to constant repentance, to relinquishing power over others, and to putting the last first, are hardly the playbooks littering the tables of the smoky backrooms in which those CEOs cut their deals and make decisions about whose life counts and whose doesn't.

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