This applies to priests as well.
Why some bishops behave the way they do
June 14, 2016 (LifeSiteNews) – Why can’t 40 Days for Life in my home town get any support from our local bishop? Why does Florida Bishop Robert Lynch interpret the terrible shootings there the very same way the Huffington Post and other enemies of the Faith do? Why did British generals sacrifice many soldiers’ lives with frontal attacks on the Western Front in the First World War?
Curiously, an answer to all these questions may be found in a single book, a 1976 masterpiece called On the Psychology of Military Incompetence, written by a psychologist named Norman Dixon who saw plenty of examples while serving in the British Army in the Second World War as a military engineer.
Interestingly, commentators like to focus on Dixon’s enumeration of the characteristics of bad leadership while ignoring what is the heart of Dixon’s book: “the psychology” of why military organizations promote into high command people incapable of the clear thinking and bold, confident, decisive action their positions require. Dixon said incompetent generals were often physically courageous under fire, but lacked the moral courage to develop unconventional winning strategies and tactics and to take risks.
That’s true of a lot of people, of course, but those people should certainly not be generals, right?…Or bishops?
Dixon, however, explained why so many are, by distinguishing between two kinds of leadership personalities: the autocrat, and the authoritarian.
Every alternative presents itself as an opportunity for failure. After all, the authoritarian already has reached the top. There isn’t as much upside to defeating the enemy as there is downside to defeat. So the authoritarian—incompetent—general may do nothing at all or he may do too little. He may do a little bit of everything so that no one could criticise him for failing to do anything. He sends some troops north to oppose the enemy but keeps most at home. He doesn’t warn the civilian population to build bomb shelters because he doesn’t want to admit there may soon be air attacks. He wants to be popular. He does not want to win so much as to avoid being criticised. The general who is not motivated by the desire to win is less likely to do so than the general who is.
This makes me think of many bishops. They rose through the ranks when Christians and Catholics were still popular, respected and even powerful. They took their leadership positions in large, military-like hierarchical organizations with the responsibility to preserve these organizations, not risk them—in other words, in peacetime.
For these men, there is no upside, no chance of a decisive victory over evil, secularism or social change—only the downside of unpopularity, criticism and conflict with society’s trendsetters and thought leaders, and quite possibly with civil authorities, quite possibly lawsuits and nasty headlines. If they are in Europe, they enjoy huge salaries on the government’s tab.
These smooth, plump men did not sign on for combat, did not sign on for marches, for vigils, for interrogations in courtrooms or for jail terms. As priests they were instantly deferred to and respected by their own flocks. As bishops they get even more of that from their faithful, plus real palaces. But they now find themselves targets for attacks from society at large. They are tasked with feeding their sheep at the same time as defending Christianity’s politically incorrect teachings on homosexuality, abortion and transgenderism, and Catholicism’s particular teachings on a male-only priesthood, divorce and in vitro fertilization.
Read the whole thing there.
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