Aliens in This World

An ordinary Catholic and a science fiction and fantasy fan.

Thursday, April 01, 2004

Kathleen McChesney Lecture at UD

I totally forgot about blogging the lecture Kathleen McChesney (founding head of the USCCB's Office of Child and Youth Protection) did at UD. It was part of the same "Wounded Body of Christ" lecture series as Archbishop Pilarczyk's lecture. There really isn't much to blog about, though. McChesney was a little blonde lady who looked fortyish, sounded friendly, and proceeded exactly along the lines you'd expect from a former agent of the FBI. (Which also means, since she was a woman who joined the FBI in the late seventies and rose rapidly to the top, that she's tough and good at what she does.) Anyway, she gave a report of how the Office of Child Protection came to be, what it does, what the John Jay report said about sexual abuse by clergy, and what her plans are for the next few years' work. Then she took questions. The atmosphere was about five zillion times more relaxed than for the archbishop, and several questioners clearly regarded her as being on their side.

The humor came from seeing just how much a Fibbie she still was. Not only did she love crime stats and profiling, not only did she employ an ex-FBI guy with a firm full of ex-FBI guys to do the diocesan audits, but she even counted her administrative assistant as not a part of her staff! (The FBI counts agents, technicians, and administrative assistants all separately.) I wish I were still writing X-Files fanfic, as she'd make a great, initial inspiration for a character.

The main concern of people afterward was how small the office was. It's just her, her assistant, and the administrative assistant (who may be part time, which may be why McChesney didn't count him or her as part of the office). Is that enough people? Given the mission of the office and the power McChesney has to outsource work, I think that's just a lean, mean office machine. After you have a certain number of people, it's harder to move quickly, not easier. This may be the reasoning behind the smallness of the office. Also, as McChesney noted, the conference of bishops is not a real hierarchy; it's a fraternal and voluntary organization. She compared it to a trade organization, but frankly, trade organizations at least have the power to throw people out of the group and deny them certain privileges. The bishops' conference is stuck with their membership.

Anyway, it was all pretty interesting, but you can probably get access to most of what she said on USCCB's website. And no, I did not ask about Ono Ekeh. (Tacky.)


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