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Defending the Vatican brand

May 04, 2012|By Paul Thornton
  • Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful during the Wednesday General Audience at Vatican City on May 2.
Pope Benedict XVI blesses the faithful during the Wednesday General Audience… (Claudio Peri / EPA )

The Times received more than three dozen letters weighing in on the Holy See's admonition of a group of American nuns, four of which were published in the paper. None of the submissions sent to before the two batches of letters on the subject ran on April 23 and 27 took the side of the Vatican in its dispute with the Leadership Conference of Women Religious, and the responses that were published reflect that.

After the letters ran, two readers sympathetic to the Roman Catholic Church leadership sent us their letters, one of which accused The Times of anti-Vatican bias (I address that submission in the upcoming Postscript column, which can be found Saturday at Below is the other piece, which explains the Vatican's behavior as if it were a milleniums-old business.

Reader Jack Kaczorowski of Los Angeles wrote:

As a response to the unmitigated criticism of the Vatican's reproach of the nuns, it is perhaps proper to make public the Roman Catholic Church's policy, one that would appeal to the secular, democratic temper of our times and possibly even impress Adam Smith.

Think of the Catholic Church as Coca-Cola Classic, a beverage that has seemingly defied time. The Catholic Church has been around for about 2,000 years and presently has about 1 billion members. Its motto could be "Serving our public since 1 AD."

About 500 years ago, Luther & Associates redesigned and marketed a new product under the slogan  "God: Whatever you think," which has since been reworked further in the hope of improvement. The result has been the breaking up of the Luther parent company into hundreds of rather temporal ventures, a process that continues today.

The success of the Catholic Church can be attributed not only to its superior product but also to its corporate culture and business plan. In a world of constant change, of matters of great importance that are quickly forgotten, the church has moved cautiously and slowly, possibly missing opportunities but also avoiding bankruptcy. It makes mistakes, but its corporate strength then allows it to correct them. It is reasonable that a company should be able to expect its employees to support its philosophy.  

True, it should also be able to listen. We can be certain that in the issues of nun priests and homosexuality, the matter is on the fast track and will be resolved in a century or two.


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