After An Error

PrayTell noticed this serious typo from the St Louis archdiocesan print organ reporting on a diaconate ordination. I thought the apology Liam linked there was appropriate. In part:

The error embarrassed Archbishop Robert J. Carlson, the newly ordained deacons and the diaconate community, who selflessly put others first to serve. Similarly, the incorrect headline diminished the service ethic of clergy and religious, social justice and health care workers, teachers, public servants — all Catholics who give freely of themselves in service.

Our readers expect more from us; we expect more of ourselves.

We’re sorry for the mistake.

What interests me more is the aftermath of such a blunder. I know I’ve been the cause of embarrassing errors in my work life. I’m not talking about things that make me look bad, but as the Review editor Teak Phillips points out, impacts a long list of people. In this situation, most people will know that such a bumble is a laughable thing. People can shrug it off. But we live in a climate in the Catholic Church here in the US where some people actually pause before that laugh. And a few are still pausing.

What happens then? Some bosses are quick to fill out that pink slip of paper. What kind of errors are termination offenses? Does it matter if the person has been on the job for days or decades?

What responsibility does the Church have for dealing with errors? In a parish I once made an error that cost several thousand dollars. I hadn’t done my best in the project, admittedly–I felt let down by what I felt was lacking in teamwork. Perhaps I could have shifted priorities, and I sensed the pastor (who never spoke with me about it directly) was concerned. Life was never quite the same there afterward, and about a year later, I moved on to another assignment.

Is it any different in the secular world?

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About catholicsensibility

Todd lives in the Pacific Northwest, serving a Catholic parish as a lay minister.
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One Response to After An Error

  1. Liam says:

    In the for-profit world, people are disappeared suddenly. And then we don’t talk about it until a long period of time elapses, and then obliquely.

    And, of course, in most states of the USofA, unless you have an employment contract, you can be terminated involuntarily without notice for no good reason (only not for certain enumerated bad reasons). And for too many employers, that’s a feature, not a bug. Keeps the proles a-scared.

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