Posts tagged with "message discipline"

LA Archdiocese finds legal reality clashes with public rhetoric

Posted by Michael Heenan   on May 4, 2010, 12:04 pm


The LA Times this week looks at the settlement between the Los Angeles Diocese and victims of sexual abuse by clerics, three years later.  A key element of that settlement, the release of personnel files for accused priests, remains unfulfilled and the archdiocese appears to be in no hurry to comply.

The story is here:

The archdiocese finds itself in a situation that is more than common in times of litigation:

The organization creates and delivers messages to convince its members/customers/stakeholders that it has learned from the crisis and that things will be different now.  Words like "transparency" take up prominent residence in all of the organization's communications.

Meanwhile, the realities of litigation -- and Legal's need to protect the organization from future lawsuits -- require actions that are the opposite of transparency.

So, you end up with an organization that is saying one thing and doing another. The spokesman is handed lines to read about "doing everything humanly possible" and "standing shoulder-to-shoulder with victims" while the litigation team is actively fighting against the very reforms the organization is touting.

The net result is an organization that looks deceptive and plaintiffs' characterizations that sound more and more accurate as time goes on. 


Tags: Catholic church, crisis communications, litigation, litigation support, message discipline, sex abuse

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