After reading in today’s Wall Street Journal that the Roman Catholic Church is now trying to craft consistent messaging in order to deal with the allegations of abuse among its priests, I don’t know whether to say “Hallelujah” or just shake my head in disbelief. After all, this huge problem for the church has gone on for years, and to now be putting a crisis communications plan in place—creating an internal response team in place and monitoring media—seems like too little too late, or does it? It appears that one of the problems is at the top: the Pope is not regularly in touch with the Vatican’s communications team, instead talking to advisors who “communicate his thoughts.” This morning, a quick Google search of “Catholic priests” yielded topics on abuse, pedophiles and celibacy in 8 out of the top 10 first-page slots. That can’t be good. My question is, how can the Catholic Church undo years and years of PR neglect? Is uniform messaging, a redesigned Web site and a Twitter page a good start?
–Scott Van Camp