Friday, April 02, 2010

The Pope, The President & The Prime Minister

By Marcus M. Mottley, Ph.D.


For the last ten years I have been seriously disenchanted with the Catholic Church. Well… to tell the truth, I have always been disenchanted with the Church for its role in slavery and its sordid history on tens of other matters affecting people around the globe.

But these last ten years or so have been painful as case after case after case sexual abuse of children by priests in every corner of the globe have been brought from the pits of hell into the light of day.

And one thing that has turned the screws into my pain has been the Catholic Church’s response: Denials; Moving priests around (giving them access to more children to abuse); Paying off parents to keep quiet; Blaming reporters for reporting these vile acts; In reality… protecting those who violate the vulnerable and unprotected… The list of the Church’s poor responses goes on.

And now… the Pope… even he is now reportedly implicated in improperly handling a case (or cases) of these vile priests when he was bishop or archbishop or whatever…

Today, April 2nd, Good Friday, two days before Easter Sunday, the response of the Vatican is to target and object to reporters who report on these criminal priests and those who protect them.

Internationally, the general public has been outraged… people continue to be aghast at the depths of depravity wrought on the innocent by these so-called ‘holy men’!

For awhile, it seemed as though all of the cases of abuse by priests had been reported… But now… everyday… almost everywhere, more victims are finding the courage to speak up. And the outrage around the world is growing…

And ordinary Catholics have been silent… I guess that they are afraid of being excommunicated. The Catholics I know don’t talk about this subject. They avoid the issue.

The Vatican, the political center of the Catholic world, has wanted to be silent, to be above the fray, too holy to respond… But because of the fact that the pope himself has been touched, they have recently come out with a wimpish attempt at responding…

It is too little – too late. This issue could well balloon to such a degree that it might well place the papacy in a constitutional crisis. And it might well place the pope in a position where his leadership is undermined and put in question!

Constitutional crisis? Leadership threatened? Yep!

And it didn’t have to happen.

The leadership (of the Church) should have addressed the issues (years ago) by forthrightly denouncing these criminal priests. The leadership (of the Church) should have searched for, exposed and rooted out these wolves who preyed on the lambs in its flock. The leadership (of the Church) should have been at the forefront rather than at the backend of this issue.

Leadership is about stepping out in front of issues. Leadership is about responding to the concerns of the people. Leadership is about working for and on behalf of the members or followers.

A good example of this type of leadership is being shown by President Obama. He has stepped out in front of the issue of healthcare. The buck stops with him. He is the primary spokes person. He has taken full responsibility for its success or failure.

And yes… there is a lot of opposition. In the face of such opposition, he didn’t run and hide behind pundits and surrogates. He stepped out in front and took the poll and political hits that were thrown at him.

Leaders cannot choose to speak only when the stuff has hit the fan!

Leaders who choose to be silent amidst the crescendo of popular discourse and disharmony, are leaders who stand the risk of being swept away by the upheavals of discord.

Leaders who choose to be silent, who choose to be non-responsive, who choose to let others talk for them, are leaders who risk being former leaders!

This is the case whether the leader is a pope, a president or … a prime minister!

Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Can You Feel It?

By Marcus M. Mottley, Ph.D.

I was recently on a Southwest Airlines flight from Houston to Baltimore. We left Houston about forty minutes late and the pilot promised to make up some time on the normally three hours long flight. When he said that I knew that he meant that he intended to go faster than the speed limit! On Southwest Airlines, that is typical... their mentality is the reverse of well... LIAT. They strive to be always on time!

When we left Houston it was cold and rainy. About an hour into the flight... the seat belt light came on... and the pilot advised us that there was turbulence ahead. He was right!

Turbulence... that is not descriptive enough! It was rough. Up... down... sideways... Going up... going up... drop! Twist to the right... drop... twist to the left - bounce up! It was awful...

I looked around. People had the reading lights above their seats on. A couple of people were on their computers... Of course every now and then the computers would levitate and then slap back down to the seat-back tables while their fingers remained suspended in the air. Some people were reading... while others appeared to be sleeping!

That bumpy ride continued on and off for about an hour. When we thought that we had patched through to calmer skies... the bucking would start again.

But I couldn't understand the calmness of the people! Then it hit me... This was Texas... Cowboys and rodeo riders! They were accustomed to wild rides on bucking horse and snorting bulls!

Of course that was not it. You see... I left out one detail. Every ten minutes or so... the captain would announce how much longer he thought we would be enduring this ride... and of course he got it wrong several times... and each time he would come back on and give us an update. "There are several planes ahead of us... and they are reporting that the turbulence will continue for just a little longer!"

The flight attendants did their part. The captain had instructed them to remain seated and buckled in! Yet, every now and then they would get up... hold  on to the seats... and go down the aisle to rub a shoulder... make an encouraging remark to a crying toddler... the kinds of stuff that you don't see on American Airlines... But then this is Southwest Airlines well known for singing, dancing, comedic flight attendants and pilots!

On this night, we could feel the pilot's presence. We felt his efforts to keep the plane stable. He kept connected to us. He gave us regular updates. He made a few light-hearted remarks. He updated us on the weather in Baltimore. He told us that although we were having a rough ride - that we would eventually reach Baltimore only fifteen minutes later than scheduled (Meaning that he was still breaking the speed limit!). He told us what the weather in Baltimore was.. and even commented on a major basketball game that was currently being played (people applauded when they heard the score!).

Eventually, the ride smoothed out... and we did land in Baltimore at the time he had indicated.

The ride was bumpy... turbulent... but it wasn't frightening. Why? Because of the leadership of the pilot. We felt his presence. We felt the presence of his team. He kept us informed about current events. He kept us connected to our destination... He stayed connected to us!

I felt him... I felt his control over the situation... I wasn't overly concerned... This guy and his team were in full control over the situation!

Here are my questions to you, as we think of Antigua and Barbuda - can you feel it?

Things are bumpy now. High levels of crime and a depressing economic situation are only two of the many deep problems we have! But, can you feel the Captain and his team? What's the plan? Do you know where we are going?  Do you know how we are going to get there?  Do you think we are given timely updates?  Do you have a sense of how things are going? Do you feel safe and secure? Are we in good hands? Are you worried?

Can you feel it?