Thursday, February 05, 2009

Day Late, Dollar Short 

Is it possible to be sincere, good-hearted and a public relations nightmare? The pope is working on proving that. His latest faux pas was an attempt to heal a division in the Roman Catholic Church that crossed the bounds of propriety when he reinstated a bishop who denies the Holocaust. Now he is saying the bishop must recant his views or not serve in the Church.

The pope has been a victim of either poor staff work or his own inability to see how his decisions play out on the world stage. He always says he is sorry when it is brought to his attention that he has erred, but one wishes he wouldn't make the mistakes in the first place.

Popes are supposed to infallible in matters of faith and morals. They can be woeful when it comes to image and reputation management. This one has consistently proven to be a day late and a dollar short. It's sad because he is personally likable and broadly educated. He apparently just doesn't see the public consequences of his actions.

There is no rule that states popes must be liked or adept in relating to the world, but there is common sense in dealing with societies and faiths. The pope could use a PR practitioner with a broader perspective than the Vatican walls.


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