Cleansing Fire

Defending Truth and Tradition in the Roman Catholic Church

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The Business Model Failure of the Catholic Church

November 20th, 2019, Promulgated by Diane Harris

When the Church is run like a business, one can expect business models to drive decisions, especially bad decisions. So we live in an era when the beauty of so many Catholic Churches has been torn apart interiorly, the Blessed Sacrament shelved on side altars, the Holy Mass of two millennia suppressed, language and prayers and devotions of worship changed, and many still wonder why the pews are so empty. There is a built-in bias against turning back, yet that is the very model of reconciliation. More tweaking is not the answer.

We live in an era when many Catholic Schools have been closed or reduced in grades, and the people bemoan the loss of morality among the young, made worse by the explosion of gender absurdities. At the very time when abuse of children is a key issue, even bankrupting dioceses, there is a large and significant social pressure toward child sexualization and even resultant sex-trafficking. The Catholic Church has given up such care models as orphanages, to receive government subsidies and its restrictions. Charity is no longer so much as ‘providing’ service as it is about ‘administering.’

We live in an era when Catholic Hospitals are sold to the highest bidder, and provision then made in those facilities for abortion and sterilization. We live in an era when previously Catholic Nursing care quietly moves away from preparation of souls for the next life, and into euthanasia through over-medication for pain relief (whether patient pain or family pain is unclear) and even cooperation with the organ harvesters by delaying the passing until the organ is harvested.

The point?  There was real human need for the Catholic facilities and services provided and supported by the faith of prior generations, a need which still exists but is now unfilled, and channeled into liquidation sales and “repurposing” of facilities. And, you might be surprised at who has equity positions in the “repurposing” such as “senior housing.” The next great scandal may well be a financial one, “following the money,” starting in Rome, and right down to the local parish level, some parts of which seem unlikely to withstand the scrutiny.

The business model analysis makes the point that “we can’t afford to provide such services any longer,” even when the average Catholic seems much better off financially than the grandparents’ generation. Are today’s Catholics being stingy? Or have they just come to believe that the Church is not being a good steward of what was given to its oversight so many years ago, and that bishops who support CRS and CCHD don’t deserve to be given more money to do more damage?  In the pews or outside the pews, some realize that bishops who defend idolatry, LGBT and open borders, and who minimize abortion as just ‘one more’ sin, are dangerous to souls?

One place in which the “business model” failed was the inability of leadership to realize what was (and is) important to those who are denigratingly called “pips;” i.e. “people in pews.” Pips is also a word for those playing cards which are too low to be important.  The first time I heard that use, I was appalled. One key failure in the business model applied to the Church was not recognizing what was important to the people in the pew 1) by Protestantizing so many elements, and 2) by giving up teaching authority in adopting secular models or by silence in those key matters, and 3) by growing socialism under the wings of a seamless (or unseemly) garment, severing what had long been foundational to American Catholics, who were committed to not being an arm of a foreign or socialistic government, but being loyal Americans, and elevating the true meaning of patriotism.

The business model error, then, was not recognizing what should have been an expected shrinkage in market share, and the violation of trust which makes reversing the damage so difficult. And that brings up a final but most key point — that a very significant failure in application of business models to the Church was leaving the Holy Spirit out of the equation. Once a drive begins to downsizing, it is difficult to stop the momentum into an increasingly smaller self-liquidating share. Actions taken around twenty-year forecasts of available priests simply underscore the lack of trust in the Holy Spirit.  But is hierarchical leadership ready to admit that depending on its own capabilities and business models has failed, and what is left is prayer, and casting ourselves on the Mercy of God? Hurry up, please. It’s time.

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3 Responses to “The Business Model Failure of the Catholic Church”

  1. avatar Mary-Kathleen says:

    Taylor Marshall video from today 11/21/19:

    “Should you Donate to Catholic Bishops, CCHD or CRS? Michael Hichborn of the Lepanto Institute presents his research for the 2018-2019-2020 funding record for the United States bishops. Are they funding anti-Catholic causes? Is money going to immoral grants? Michael Hichborn explains and gives the details.”

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=85W6c3_2qJs

  2. avatar Diane Harris says:

    https://www.cleansingfire.org/2014/08/a-miss-on-mission-statements/

    Here is a link to a CF post from 5 years ago — pointing out the error in developing mission statements for parishes. Are we not all of the same Body? Didn’t Christ personally hand down His Mission Statement to us? How can it be a surprise that business models have failed the Church when the very first step of strategy development, expressing and agreeing on a mission statement, could have been so far off the mark? Oh, the hours wasted in exalting the ego of writing parish mission statements! Hours that could have been given to the Lord’s “real” mission!

  3. avatar raymondfrice says:

    I was at a meeting in my parish about 2 years ago when a program was being developed using a financial business model. I suggested that we use a gospel model. The proposal was shot down even though some people also wanted a gospel model. It reminded me of the often heard quotation that Christianity has not failed; it has not been tried!!

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