Thoughtfully examines the Catholic Clergy Sexual Abuse Scandal and its impacts using the paradigm of a "wicked problem," in order to truthfully demonstrate its complexities and causal factors. Only by understanding the phenomenon accurately can Catholics and Church leaders understand reform as both interior conversion and needed and concrete change.
A retired CEO and author, Mr. Paresa was adopted in Turkey, grew up in Hawaii and now resides on West Coast. He studied at the University of California, Riverside, was a seminarian for his diocese and has served as a catechist in his parish. These experiences have given him insight into organizational culture, in general, and the Catholic Church specifically.
All prudent organizations respond to the duty of mitigating systemic problems. But mitigation, important as it might be, most often only addresses symptoms. Only by digging into root causes can organizations candidly face the difficult truth, which lays bare the cultural and psycho-social factors in play. Until then, the Church will be hindered in Her divine mission and Her credibility will remain impaired. I welcome the reader to embark with me on this journey of candid diagnosis, dissecting the problem in the cause of greater understanding for both Church leaders and faithful Catholics.
The Catholic Sexual Abuse Scandal
Some in Church leadership have tried to convince the public that they now have this under control by pursuing best practices like zero-tolerance policies, harsher and more expeditious penalties for offenders, and human development programs in the seminary. I am not convinced that these are sufficient, and most of the public is generally uninformed even of the steps taken so far. Church leaders, in large part, have been willfully slow to react and to disrupt the status quo, not because they view abuse indifferently, but because real change in such a large institution is hard. Real change for such a problem touches many other areas, and that makes it sinisterly complex. Its complexity makes it a uniquely “wicked problem.”4