Management Secrets of Bernard Law: The Winners

Leadership tips from the Boston Archdiocese.

In today’s Boston Globe, Kevin Cullen and Michael Rezendes report that a grand jury is considering whether to bring criminal charges against Cardinal Bernard F. Law. It probably won’t happen, but the story reminded Chatterbox that he’d initiated a contest inviting readers to submit a “Rumsfeld’s Rules“-like compilation of Bernard Law’s Management Secrets. Submissions had to include a Web link to a deposition or other public comment from Law relating to his diocese’s pedophilia scandal. The winners appear below, in ascending order. (Please note: In several instances, Chatterbox has altered winning submissions in order to make them snappier. He has also inserted his own contribution, Rule No. 4, from the previous item. Hey, it’s my column.)

Secret No. 5: When the going gets tough, the tough blame file clerks.
Text: “The case of Father Paul Shanley is particularly troubling for us. For me personally, it has brought home with painful clarity how inadequate our record keeping has been.”
: April 12 letter from Law to priests of the Boston Archdiocese
Reader:Daniel Friedman

Secret No. 4: Don’t sweep things under the carpet. Have people to do that for you.
: “I relied on those who assisted me in this matter to do all that was appropriate.”
: May 8 deposition, Page 5
:  Chatterbox

Secret No. 3: Big men stay focused on the big picture.
: OK. Do you remember if you had any discussions in 1984 concerning Mrs. Gallant or the Dussord family?
:No. As I mentioned earlier, I didn’t have a recall on the letter itself, but, but obviously I saw the envelope.”
: May 8 deposition, Page 7
: Ruth Pennebaker

Secret No. 2: Set policy, then avoid checking whether that policy is being followed.
:Other than the phone message that we saw at the back of Exhibit 226, do you know of any doctor’s reports in the files of the Archdiocese that indicated it was now safe to send Father Geoghan back to parish assignment?
“A:As I indicated earlier, my policy would have been that an assignment of this kind would be contingent upon a professional opinion that such an assignment would be appropriate. And so my presumption is that such an opinion is extant.”
Source:May 8 deposition, Page 6
Reader: Eric Altshule

Secret No. 1: Blessed are the poor.
Text:“[The archdiocese’s finance council’s] concern, and I think it is a laudable concern, is that justice and equity would not be served by agreeing to this settlement for 86 persons, which would thereby negatively affect the response which the archdiocese can later make to the other victims.”
Source:May 5Mass at Holy Cross Cathedral, as reported by CNN.
Reader:  Bruce Nichols