Frederick W. Gluck

The Catholic Church in the United States is going through the greatest crisis in its history. Dealing with crises is not a problem unique to church leaders; it is a task faced by leaders of any complex organization. When faced with a crisis, U.S. corporate leaders often bring in a firm like McKinsey & Company to help them think through their situation and construct a meaningful program for change. The consultantsworking closely with managementanalyze the causes of the crisis, both internal (like inadequate personnel, mismanagement, misallocation of resources, not keeping up with technological improvements or a dysfunctional corporate culture) and external (aggressive competition, for example, changes in consumer preferences or a decline in the company’s reputation). They then jointly develop strategies and programs to respond to the crisis so that the company can prosper.

While at McKinsey, I often advised corporate leaders on dealing with crises. What advice would I give the Catholic bishops for dealing with the current crisis?

Unpleasant and challenging as the recent sexual abuse scandal has been, that is not the crisis to which I am referring. I have in mind rather the long-term decline in the relevance, or at least perceived relevance, of the Catholic church to the lives and spiritual well-being of its members, the concomitant decline in the church’s capability to serve them and the resulting loss of the church’s influence and standing in the greater population and in our society. This decline has been in progress for at least 30 years and has now reached the stage where there are very serious questions about the very future of the church in the United States. The reasons for this situation are many and complex, but I do not believe that there can be any question about the seriousness of the situation. On the positive side, there seems to be a very large number among the laity who, while embarrassed, upset and enormously frustrated by the current state of affairs, remain deeply committed to their faith and the church, are willing and able to help and are thirsting for direction and leadership from the clergy.

The Current State

I will examine the current state of the church from the perspective of a management consultant. I will look at: human resources, finance, general management and market position.

1. There are two broad problems with human resources in the church: insufficient talent and inadequate processes for managing it. More specifically, on the talent side:

The work force is rapidly aging.

The church’s ability to recruit has declined dramatically over the last 40 years.

The church is no longer the first choice of the best and the brightest.

Church people are demoralized by internal conflict and public scandal.

And on the process side:

Many believe that church personnel policies are overly restrictive and are counterproductive.

There is no effective performance measurement system at any level, which makes constructive change very difficult, if not impossible, to either plan or execute in any timely manner.

There is no effective planning mechanism in place to deal with the dramatic changes in mix between clergy and laity in important positions in the church and its related network of social services that has already taken place and will inevitably continue. This further complicates the change process.

While the contributions of the laity to the administration and management of church affairs is already quite important and will undoubtedly become ever more critical, there doesn’t seem to be a comprehensive plan for achieving a smooth integration.

In summary, the church seems to lack even the rudiments of an effective human resource management process or system at a time when the need is enormous and increasing rapidly.

2. On the finance side:

The church’s traditional sources of revenues are drying up.

Church costs are escalating rapidly as it no longer is attracting high-quality, cheap labor.

The plant is rapidly becoming obsolete.

Potential liabilities as a result of the recent scandals are large and growing.

The processes for financial management seem to be highly fragmented, uncoordinated and much too underdeveloped to deal with the problems enumerated above.

3. With respect to management:

The U.S. church is a subsidiary of a large enterprise located in a foreign country where management has been historically committed to resisting change and maintaining the status quo.

The U.S. church organization has no effective central point of leadership that can energize the necessary change program.

Church leadership is aging and is also largely committed to the status quo or even the status quo ante.

Church tradition of hierarchy dominates most of the leaders’ thinking about management.

4. The character of the church’s membership and its potential membership (market position) has changed substantially. As a result of these changes and the managerial shortcomings cited above, the U.S. church’s market position has deteriorated in a dramatic way.

The potential market is much better informed and aware of the options available to them than in the past.

Many of the faithful (customers) no longer feel committed to the product line and openly reject portions of it as irrelevant to their lives.

The church’s reputation has declined precipitously as a result of recent scandals and many of the faithful no longer trust church leaders or believe in their infallibility.

On the positive side, most of the faithful remain highly committed to the basic message and thirst for sure-handed leadership and dramatic change in the delivery system.

Strategy for a Turnaround

The situation is not without hope; but the church, I believe, is in what can only be called a turnaround situation. In the business world successful turnarounds are generally characterized by:

changes in leadership,

a single-minded focus on measuring performance and acting quickly when it is unsatisfactory,

quick identification of the causes underlying the major problems and development of specific action plans to remove them,

dramatic cuts in cost and staff,

sale or closing of unprofitable operations,

a comprehensive challenge to all the assumptions underlying strategy, organization and operations.

Coming to grips with this formidable set of challenges, in an organization as historically successful as the church, will be a daunting challenge and can be accomplished only by a comprehensive program of change with strong leadership from the top. Moreover, little constructive change will be possible until some of the most glaring shortcomings in church management and governance approaches are remedied. These shortcomings are most evident in the management of finance and human resources. These shortcomingsthere are undoubtedly othersare the legacy of years of operation with a management and governance system tuned for a very different environment. Nevertheless, I believe that church leaders can make much progress in the short term by addressing finance and human resources, and they would send a very constructive message to both the clergy and the laity that real change was afoot.

Since there is no C.E.O. of the U.S. churchand very little likelihood that one will be appointedthe U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops seems to be the only place where the necessary leadership energy can be generated. This would require significant change in their mode of operation, however. Here are some examples.

1. The conference should make a strong public commitment to managerial change that will address shortcomings in the administration of the U.S. church and to an examination, with the full participation of the laity, of the controversial and divisive policy issues that plague the U.S. church.

2. The managerial agenda should include:

Ensuring financial accountability and transparency in each and every parish and diocese and measuring financial performance and correcting shortcomings therein. Some accounting and reporting guidelines were adopted by the conference in 1971 and 1983 under the leadership of Cardinal Terence Cooke; but these were only guidelines, which could be ignored. No review or enforcement mechanism was provided.

Developing and standardizing an approach to managing the human resources of each parish and diocese and the U.S. church as a whole. This effort should encompass such needs as:

- Integrating the laity into the overall governance and management of church affairs and planning for the inevitable continuing shift of responsibilities at all levels of the church to the laity

- Defining and implementing a comprehensive program of performance measurement and management development

- Defining a comprehensive set of personnel policies to guide the management of the U.S. church and to shape recruiting and human resource development policies.

- Developing a systematic approach to dealing with controversial issues in the U.S. church that integrates the laity completely into the processincluding, most importantly, the definition of which issues should be addressed. The agenda of issues should include, for example, the role of women, the role of the laity, clerical homosexuality, celibacy, birth control and divorce.

In order to accomplish these goals, the U.S.C.C.B. should recruit an advisory board of prominent Catholic laypeople capable of devoting substantial time and effort to the organization and management of these efforts. Representatives of this advisory board should be included in the senior council of the U.S.C.C.B..

The U.S.C.C.B. should concomitantly examine its own organization and capabilities and make the necessary changes required to discharge these new responsibilities.

Finally, the U.S.C.C.B. should communicate to the pope and the Roman Curia the absolute necessity of adopting modern management methods in the U.S. church and the inevitability and desirability of including the laity as equal partners in deliberations about important policy issues.

I recognize that the changes recommended may appear to more traditional members of the church to be radical and impossible to implement. Turnaround situations, however, always require radical action; and unless some dramatic action to energize a change program for the U.S. church that fully incorporates the laity is undertaken, I believe the decline that is already well under way will only accelerate.

Frederick W. Gluck is a former managing director of McKinsey & Company, the consulting firm, and a former vice chairman and director at The Bechtel Group.

Comments

Rev. Thomas Njarackel VC | 12/11/2003 - 4:22pm
Some of the responses to the article of Frederick W. Gluck appeared in America 12/15 prompted me to write this. Organizations of every kind - religious, service, industrial, and business have many management functions and principles in common. All of them have principles and functions such as: vision, mission, hiring (recruiting) firing, training, assigning, promoting and transferring, rewarding etc. Some common patterns and sequences of cause and effect can be observed in the problem areas also. All the principles and functions are vital to both business and religious organizations. There are differences in the ultimate ends or goals of the secular organizations and religious organizations. In the religious and spiritual organizations most of the relations are accepted in the perspective of the Divine -'faith and obedience'. There are rules, regulations and conventions to control relations in the secular field. The principles of the secular science can help the working of the religious and spiritual organizations because they are not mutually exclusive. Nobody can deny the contribution of modern psychology to the religious and spiritual organizations and institutions. Management principles and the practices will have many things to contribute to the religious organizations to help utilize its resources for the attainment of its goals. Secular organizations are making strategic modifications and adaptations to cope with the crisis in the environment in which they are functioning. In addition to making new strategies, they may restructure their organization having the same mission and vision. These changes may finally result in a fundamental shift in the organization's culture.

I would like to elaborate just one area - Human resource management. The purpose of effective human resource management is to maximize the value employees add by ensuring that the organization is staffed with right persons doing the right things at the right time and place and under the right conditions. Getting the right (best) people into the firm is just a first step. Keeping the best people happy and productive is equally important. As Msgr. Frank Mouch has pointed out in his letter to the editor it is true in the church we don't have employees, the church members and the clergy are volunteers. Except the layman (ordinary faithful) most of these volunteers are paid. Maybe it is known in different names like salary, allowance, honorarium etc. And they pay taxes also. The service conditions are influenced by various factors inside the church, which in turn are shaped by state laws and local culture, global environment and alignments with various forces. Doing justice to the volunteers or employees is not a secular principle alone. It is a "Divine" commandment - the right for remuneration good enough for a decent living. The remuneration paid in the past to the so called voluntary workers is a problem today (E.g. the retired teachers and health workers) In the secular field organizations pursuing total quality rely heavily on employee empowerment. Empowering workers (volunteers) appears to be critical for the church getting workers committed and involved. Most workers want to be paid well and they want to be paid fairly. Workers in the industrial and business field are paid money in different forms. Monetary benefits are definitely an incentive to a certain extent for the workers in the business field. This is not the case with workers in the church who are not adequately paid. For the workers in the church rewards will be mostly intangible. The rewards that a worker in the church and its organization can get are: recognition from the society, appreciation and encouragement from colleagues, support from superiors. The feeling that one is taken into confidence and trust, the opportunities to develop their talents and skills, appreciation of the service the individual is rendering, promotion in the field they are working and being elected to h

Rev. John M. Hunt | 12/2/2003 - 10:13am
Frederick W. Gluck in his article, Crisis Management in the Church, (America, December 1, 2003) raises issues, concerns and solutions that many of us priests have batted around for years. We have only a limited voice and no vote on bringing systemic change into our church and so the somewhat more powerful and professional voice of the laity is welcomed by many of us.

I'm sure this thought is not original with me but we should always keep in mind that while the church does business it is not a business. All the more reason then for us to listen to the critiques and suggestions of Gluck and others and learn how to manage better the business which the church does. At the same time we have to keep a wary eye and ear out for that Holy Spirit of God who sometimes disposes our lives much differently than even the smartest and best of us proposes. Rather difficult but, hey, that's what a divinely established human organization has to contend with.

This was a great article. I look forward to a continuing dialogue in response.

Joseph A. Bruno, Jr. | 11/26/2003 - 10:13pm
It appears to me that the current management procedures of the Catholic Church are based on a late Middle Ages model. At that time the vast majority of well educated people were the priests and religious with the lay Catholics being mostly uneducated. Thus, it was natural and appropriate for the management of the Catholic Church to be in their hands.

However, today, with one priest for every 1400+ lay people (see Fewer and Fewer, Dec. 1, 2003), the vast majority of well educated Catholics in the USA are lay people. It is likely that these lay people outnumber the priests by a ratio greater than 500-to-1. In addition, these lay people have all of the specialized skills that are needed to properly manage the parishes and dioceses better than the priests.

Thus, it is now natural and appropriate that responsible and skilled lay people be involved as equal partners with priests in the management of the Catholic Church.

The mission (work) of the "Body of Christ" is to be carried out by all of the people working together not just the priests telling everybody else what to do.

Rev. Leonard F Villa | 11/21/2003 - 12:15pm
Frederick W. Gluck's corporate model approach to the current crisis in the US Church, I am sure, can be useful in certain areas but it is an approach about which Catholics should be leary. Isn't part of the current crisis the perception that the bishops largely have tried to be managers rather than pastors even if, as Mr. Gluck points out, they have failed at it? Indeed I believe the root crisis is that the ways of the world are too much with us and that simply to view the crisis as largely bad management style is a form of naturalism. The engine moving the crisis regarding vocations, the scandals, and so forth has been a profound crisis of faith. Bishops have tried to be managers while neglecting, in my view, their roles as teachers and pastors insisting on sound doctrine, morality, and practice. Their failure in this regard is one of the reasons we have lost control of our institutions. We must address the crisis of faith squarely and the solution, like all lasting church reforms, begins with grace.

Hal Albergo | 12/2/2003 - 11:04pm
"A culture of Vocations is necessary in the Catholic Church to solve the present crisis"

In the "Crisis Management in the Church" article (12/1), Frederick W. Gluck focuses on secular management techniques for solving the present crisisin the catholic church as described in the article. Hwever, the Church was created by Jesus and represents him until he returns and therefore I believe requires a "spiritual" answer to the crisis. Since the time of ancient Israel, the kingdom of God has flourished through "VOCATIONS" (e.g. Abraham, Moses, Peter, Paul, Francis, Ignatius, Mother Theresa). But, Man seems to have forgotten who he is and his Vocation of Love, a call to holiness as modeled by Jesus. All vocations whether ordained clerics or laity are rooted in BAPTISM and have five(5)characteristics.

1. A call from God, not an option 2. Faith in God's graces and gifts for doing the will of the father 3. Conversion and lifelong personal transformation 4. A Mission in spreading the Good News 5. A lifelong journey

With the Holy Spirit, a much greater participations of the laity in church governance would DEMAND an "Elite status and authority in the priesthood " and attract talented young men and women to religious life.

We belong to God. The Theology of Vocations must be understood, witnesed in daily living and emphasized in the teachings of the church. We should not underestimate the power of the devil, who even tried to tempt Jesus in the desert. The Caholic Church is the only one built on a ROCK

Robert F. Cummins | 11/24/2003 - 6:01pm
When the author says “There is no effective performance measurement system at any level,” he misses an opportunity sadly ignored by most clergy, one that goes as far back as the Council of Trent: the "status animarum." It is an annual report filled out by each parish that summarizes the participation of the laity in the main aspects of Catholic life: mass attendance, baptisms, participation in various religious education classes, confirmations, marriages etc. While many will say that you cannot measure holiness, someone should be worrying, for example, if a parish report shows that for the past five years post-Confirmation attendance at religious education classes is dropping by ten percent a year. Year-over-year comparisons are only a first cut at possible meaningful analysis; summaries by diocese could easily provide meaningful benchmarks of what is possible, and the identification of strategies that make for meaningful improvement.

Richard Warren | 11/22/2003 - 1:38pm
I’m afraid Fr. Villa, in his response to Frederick Gluck’s article, has joined the dance which began at the Vatican – one which characterized the child abuse scandal as a problem with society, then a problem with the media, then a problem with homosexuals. As a partner in this dance of obfuscation he has chosen those who blame the faithful as not being faithful enough. Where is the evidence that we are no longer believers? I think most Catholics believe in the Gospels and the mission of the Church as strongly as ever. But we’re past the ‘pray, pay, and obey’ stage to the point of questioning the monarchial governance model that has failed us so dramatically.

Frederick Gluck’s analysis is an interesting exercise, but to rely on the USCCB for a change in leadership ignores how comfortable the bishops have become in their role as branch managers of the Roman church. Archbishop Weakland (Commonweal, August 15, 2003) has suggested an American Patriarchate with authority in liturgy, discipline, selection of bishops, and empowering local synods. And from another hierarch also outside the pale, Archbishop Quinn, we have a clear picture of the need for Papal reform (The Reform of the Papacy, 1999). But it still all hinges on the man at the top and the small, dark circle of red hats around him – a papal cabinet which continues to centralize authority and emphasize the gap between clergy and laity.

Will there ever be reform from the top (where’s the motivation in that?) or is it more likely that movements like Voice of the Faithful and Call To Action will continue to grow until they completely overshadow what we now know as the American Church?

Doug McFerran | 11/21/2003 - 3:25pm
While I agree with his recommendations for the bishops, I think that there is a crucial dimension to the crisis that Gluck does not note. Individuals who do see the church as relevant to their lives are moving away from the center, but in different directions. In effect, the church in the United States is on the way to becoming a very fractured entity.

We are already seeing a very militant traditionalism, often identified with Opus Dei although other groups are involved, which is moving to develop a new core of conservative Catholics. We are also seeing a far less cohesive movement of reform-minded Catholics who are increasingly willing to function outside the establishment. The Vatican clearly supports the first and is definitely uncomfortable with the second.

The bishops could, of course, allow for a more pluralist structure that would accommodate both traditionalists and progressives by abandoning the traditional geographical parish. This, however, seems most improbable, and either there could be a real struggle for control of existing resources or one or both wings could in effect create a situation of de facto schism.

Tom McGuinness | 2/21/2007 - 10:10am
I thought, when your last editor was shot down by the Vatican, that we would begin to see nothing but articles with the backbone of a wet noodle.

“A Blueprint for Change” by Thomas J. Healey (9/26) contradicted my thought. It was in the shadow and representative of Frederick Gluck’s fine essays, “Crisis Management in the Church” (12/1/03) and “Can the Church Learn From Wal-Mart?” (5/17/04).

Thank goodness the Vatican does not censor letters to the editor. Michael McGreevy’s reply in this section hit the matter on the head (10/10). The church is in trouble because the laity are left out. Bishops and clergy are involved in matters for which they are not trained, and they do not seem to be reading, listening or improving for the most part. Bishops, I believe, are afraid of lay involvement, although nearly every happening tells us that the laity should be involved.

Regarding the pedophile scandal: not one cardinal’s or bishop’s head has rolled, even though they knew of the actions of clergy they supervised. My suggestion: let a bishop serve in that capacity for only eight years maximum and then bring back his expertise to a parish, just as in many religious orders the provincial superior returns to another job that has less authority or reduced demands. This should bring them back to reality more humble and more dependent on the laity. At the same time, more clerics could share in a temporary leadership role as an eight-year bishop and develop accordingly.

We have, I believe, developed a Vatican-directed insider organization and have gotten away from Christ’s desire for his followers. All women and men of good will are insiders.

Joseph Claude Harris | 2/7/2007 - 4:36pm
Frederick W. Gluck’s article, “Crisis Management in the Church” (12/1), is flawed by several statements that are not supported by the available data.

“The church’s traditional sources of revenues are drying up.” Some weeks ago I finished writing a report that analyzed contributions to Sunday collections and diocesan annual appeals in the years 2001 and 2002. I found that Catholic household giving in the Sunday collections increased from $5.573 billion in 2001 to $5.846 billion for 2002, an increase of $273 million or 4.9 percent. This increase happened in the midst of high unemployment, a recession and the painful and lengthy revelation of the sexual abuse tragedy.

Catholic giving to diocesan annual appeals declined from $650 million in 2001 to about $635 million for 2002. About half of that national drop happened in Boston. The decline in the other 175 geographic dioceses averaged a more modest 1.1 percent, not surprising in a troubled economy.

“The church’s ability to recruit has declined dramatically over the last 40 years.” I happened to be working on church staffing data recently and found that the number of professional parish ministers increased from 54,055 in 1995 to 63,065 for 2002.

In addition, the Center for Applied Research in the Apostolate, at Georgetown University, has reported that there are approximately 35,000 students in graduate programs of religious studies and religious education.

I think that we need to find some negative numbers before we can rightly declare a staffing crisis.

A number of other statements in the article mystified me. Mr. Gluck stated, for example, that “the plant is rapidly becoming obsolete.” Perhaps so, but I would like to see the data supporting such a statement. I am familiar with the current rebuilding program in Chicago, where the archdiocese raised in excess of $200 million to repair its buildings.

While discussions of management issues in the church can be fascinating, we should be careful that we are discussing solutions for problems that do in fact exist.

John Shean | 2/7/2007 - 4:30pm
If ever there were an example of how the laity can help the Catholic Church deal with its long-term decline, in terms of relevance to the lives and spiritual well-being of its members, Frederick Gluck’s article is a boiler-plate model. It should be must reading for every member of the U.S. Catholic Conference, as a checklist of “things to do” for the next decade and beyond.

Public companies pay hundreds of thousands of dollars for turnaround strategies and programs similar to those that Mr. Gluck has provided the U.S.C.C.B. in these superb guidelines for change, and he has given them to all of us, at no expense, on three simple pages. I pray that our bishops will read the message and begin to energize a management structure that seems to have lost that bunny with the battery.

F. T. Murray | 2/7/2007 - 4:49pm
Frederick W. Gluck, in “Crisis Management in the Church” (12/1), puts his finger on the heart of the church’s present crisis when he points to the gap that has developed between bishops and the faithful. Although the Second Vatican Council called for lay participation in church decision-making, most church managers, psychologically and intellectually captives of medieval paternalism, feel that God is giving them unchallengeable answers to problems.

Sociologists and management experts have demonstrated that groups subject to authoritarian supervisors resent not being allowed to contribute their expertise and capabilities; and they lose interest and drift away.

Rev. Thomas Njarackel VC | 12/11/2003 - 4:22pm
Some of the responses to the article of Frederick W. Gluck appeared in America 12/15 prompted me to write this. Organizations of every kind - religious, service, industrial, and business have many management functions and principles in common. All of them have principles and functions such as: vision, mission, hiring (recruiting) firing, training, assigning, promoting and transferring, rewarding etc. Some common patterns and sequences of cause and effect can be observed in the problem areas also. All the principles and functions are vital to both business and religious organizations. There are differences in the ultimate ends or goals of the secular organizations and religious organizations. In the religious and spiritual organizations most of the relations are accepted in the perspective of the Divine -'faith and obedience'. There are rules, regulations and conventions to control relations in the secular field. The principles of the secular science can help the working of the religious and spiritual organizations because they are not mutually exclusive. Nobody can deny the contribution of modern psychology to the religious and spiritual organizations and institutions. Management principles and the practices will have many things to contribute to the religious organizations to help utilize its resources for the attainment of its goals. Secular organizations are making strategic modifications and adaptations to cope with the crisis in the environment in which they are functioning. In addition to making new strategies, they may restructure their organization having the same mission and vision. These changes may finally result in a fundamental shift in the organization's culture.

I would like to elaborate just one area - Human resource management. The purpose of effective human resource management is to maximize the value employees add by ensuring that the organization is staffed with right persons doing the right things at the right time and place and under the right conditions. Getting the right (best) people into the firm is just a first step. Keeping the best people happy and productive is equally important. As Msgr. Frank Mouch has pointed out in his letter to the editor it is true in the church we don't have employees, the church members and the clergy are volunteers. Except the layman (ordinary faithful) most of these volunteers are paid. Maybe it is known in different names like salary, allowance, honorarium etc. And they pay taxes also. The service conditions are influenced by various factors inside the church, which in turn are shaped by state laws and local culture, global environment and alignments with various forces. Doing justice to the volunteers or employees is not a secular principle alone. It is a "Divine" commandment - the right for remuneration good enough for a decent living. The remuneration paid in the past to the so called voluntary workers is a problem today (E.g. the retired teachers and health workers) In the secular field organizations pursuing total quality rely heavily on employee empowerment. Empowering workers (volunteers) appears to be critical for the church getting workers committed and involved. Most workers want to be paid well and they want to be paid fairly. Workers in the industrial and business field are paid money in different forms. Monetary benefits are definitely an incentive to a certain extent for the workers in the business field. This is not the case with workers in the church who are not adequately paid. For the workers in the church rewards will be mostly intangible. The rewards that a worker in the church and its organization can get are: recognition from the society, appreciation and encouragement from colleagues, support from superiors. The feeling that one is taken into confidence and trust, the opportunities to develop their talents and skills, appreciation of the service the individual is rendering, promotion in the field they are working and being elected to h

Rev. John M. Hunt | 12/2/2003 - 10:13am
Frederick W. Gluck in his article, Crisis Management in the Church, (America, December 1, 2003) raises issues, concerns and solutions that many of us priests have batted around for years. We have only a limited voice and no vote on bringing systemic change into our church and so the somewhat more powerful and professional voice of the laity is welcomed by many of us.

I'm sure this thought is not original with me but we should always keep in mind that while the church does business it is not a business. All the more reason then for us to listen to the critiques and suggestions of Gluck and others and learn how to manage better the business which the church does. At the same time we have to keep a wary eye and ear out for that Holy Spirit of God who sometimes disposes our lives much differently than even the smartest and best of us proposes. Rather difficult but, hey, that's what a divinely established human organization has to contend with.

This was a great article. I look forward to a continuing dialogue in response.

Joseph A. Bruno, Jr. | 11/26/2003 - 10:13pm
It appears to me that the current management procedures of the Catholic Church are based on a late Middle Ages model. At that time the vast majority of well educated people were the priests and religious with the lay Catholics being mostly uneducated. Thus, it was natural and appropriate for the management of the Catholic Church to be in their hands.

However, today, with one priest for every 1400+ lay people (see Fewer and Fewer, Dec. 1, 2003), the vast majority of well educated Catholics in the USA are lay people. It is likely that these lay people outnumber the priests by a ratio greater than 500-to-1. In addition, these lay people have all of the specialized skills that are needed to properly manage the parishes and dioceses better than the priests.

Thus, it is now natural and appropriate that responsible and skilled lay people be involved as equal partners with priests in the management of the Catholic Church.

The mission (work) of the "Body of Christ" is to be carried out by all of the people working together not just the priests telling everybody else what to do.

Rev. Leonard F Villa | 11/21/2003 - 12:15pm
Frederick W. Gluck's corporate model approach to the current crisis in the US Church, I am sure, can be useful in certain areas but it is an approach about which Catholics should be leary. Isn't part of the current crisis the perception that the bishops largely have tried to be managers rather than pastors even if, as Mr. Gluck points out, they have failed at it? Indeed I believe the root crisis is that the ways of the world are too much with us and that simply to view the crisis as largely bad management style is a form of naturalism. The engine moving the crisis regarding vocations, the scandals, and so forth has been a profound crisis of faith. Bishops have tried to be managers while neglecting, in my view, their roles as teachers and pastors insisting on sound doctrine, morality, and practice. Their failure in this regard is one of the reasons we have lost control of our institutions. We must address the crisis of faith squarely and the solution, like all lasting church reforms, begins with grace.

Hal Albergo | 12/2/2003 - 11:04pm
"A culture of Vocations is necessary in the Catholic Church to solve the present crisis"

In the "Crisis Management in the Church" article (12/1), Frederick W. Gluck focuses on secular management techniques for solving the present crisisin the catholic church as described in the article. Hwever, the Church was created by Jesus and represents him until he returns and therefore I believe requires a "spiritual" answer to the crisis. Since the time of ancient Israel, the kingdom of God has flourished through "VOCATIONS" (e.g. Abraham, Moses, Peter, Paul, Francis, Ignatius, Mother Theresa). But, Man seems to have forgotten who he is and his Vocation of Love, a call to holiness as modeled by Jesus. All vocations whether ordained clerics or laity are rooted in BAPTISM and have five(5)characteristics.

1. A call from God, not an option 2. Faith in God's graces and gifts for doing the will of the father 3. Conversion and lifelong personal transformation 4. A Mission in spreading the Good News 5. A lifelong journey

With the Holy Spirit, a much greater participations of the laity in church governance would DEMAND an "Elite status and authority in the priesthood " and attract talented young men and women to religious life.

We belong to God. The Theology of Vocations must be understood, witnesed in daily living and emphasized in the teachings of the church. We should not underestimate the power of the devil, who even tried to tempt Jesus in the desert. The Caholic Church is the only one built on a ROCK

Robert F. Cummins | 11/24/2003 - 6:01pm
When the author says “There is no effective performance measurement system at any level,” he misses an opportunity sadly ignored by most clergy, one that goes as far back as the Council of Trent: the "status animarum." It is an annual report filled out by each parish that summarizes the participation of the laity in the main aspects of Catholic life: mass attendance, baptisms, participation in various religious education classes, confirmations, marriages etc. While many will say that you cannot measure holiness, someone should be worrying, for example, if a parish report shows that for the past five years post-Confirmation attendance at religious education classes is dropping by ten percent a year. Year-over-year comparisons are only a first cut at possible meaningful analysis; summaries by diocese could easily provide meaningful benchmarks of what is possible, and the identification of strategies that make for meaningful improvement.

Richard Warren | 11/22/2003 - 1:38pm
I’m afraid Fr. Villa, in his response to Frederick Gluck’s article, has joined the dance which began at the Vatican – one which characterized the child abuse scandal as a problem with society, then a problem with the media, then a problem with homosexuals. As a partner in this dance of obfuscation he has chosen those who blame the faithful as not being faithful enough. Where is the evidence that we are no longer believers? I think most Catholics believe in the Gospels and the mission of the Church as strongly as ever. But we’re past the ‘pray, pay, and obey’ stage to the point of questioning the monarchial governance model that has failed us so dramatically.

Frederick Gluck’s analysis is an interesting exercise, but to rely on the USCCB for a change in leadership ignores how comfortable the bishops have become in their role as branch managers of the Roman church. Archbishop Weakland (Commonweal, August 15, 2003) has suggested an American Patriarchate with authority in liturgy, discipline, selection of bishops, and empowering local synods. And from another hierarch also outside the pale, Archbishop Quinn, we have a clear picture of the need for Papal reform (The Reform of the Papacy, 1999). But it still all hinges on the man at the top and the small, dark circle of red hats around him – a papal cabinet which continues to centralize authority and emphasize the gap between clergy and laity.

Will there ever be reform from the top (where’s the motivation in that?) or is it more likely that movements like Voice of the Faithful and Call To Action will continue to grow until they completely overshadow what we now know as the American Church?

Doug McFerran | 11/21/2003 - 3:25pm
While I agree with his recommendations for the bishops, I think that there is a crucial dimension to the crisis that Gluck does not note. Individuals who do see the church as relevant to their lives are moving away from the center, but in different directions. In effect, the church in the United States is on the way to becoming a very fractured entity.

We are already seeing a very militant traditionalism, often identified with Opus Dei although other groups are involved, which is moving to develop a new core of conservative Catholics. We are also seeing a far less cohesive movement of reform-minded Catholics who are increasingly willing to function outside the establishment. The Vatican clearly supports the first and is definitely uncomfortable with the second.

The bishops could, of course, allow for a more pluralist structure that would accommodate both traditionalists and progressives by abandoning the traditional geographical parish. This, however, seems most improbable, and either there could be a real struggle for control of existing resources or one or both wings could in effect create a situation of de facto schism.