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Saturday, September 12, 2009

On the other hand...

AS PROMISED earlier today, here is the full text of Fr. John Kaserow's arguments against the Petition to Suppress yadda, yadda.

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Gentlemen,

I hope that action is not taken on this proposal, and that the current process of election continue. As much as I disagree with the decision of the Congregation in Rome (I, in fact, voted for Br. Wayne), I don't think a "rush" into this proposal would be in the best interests of Maryknoll. Besides feeling "intuitively" that it would not be a good move, I offer the following.

1. This is not a decision for the US Region alone. It would have consequence for the whole Society of Maryknoll, just as forming the US into a Region some years ago did.

2. Several years ago, Robert Schreiter, at Catholic Theological Union, gave us a presentation on Globalization. He enunciated a basic principle regarding "religious" communities that I thought very wise: "As religious communities enter into diminishment, their rate of bureaucracy increases." Thus, the new proposal would move us—at least here at Maryknoll, New York—into an additional level of hierarchical authority. That is, besides the current structure of Regional Superior, Pastoral Minister, and Local Coordinator, we would substitute an "Administrator, for Regional Superior, and then add a
General Council member to the "threesome." Following on Bob Schreiter's principle, we would then have a new level of bureaucracy. (I leave aside the fact that we also have the Superior of the Retirement Community who on occasion enters into the process, and the General Council as well). Any Maryknoller who has tried to work through a decision-making process here at Maryknoll, is aware how difficult it is, at times, to negotiate who needs to have the final say in a matter at hand. I don't think the proposed structure would assist membership in negotiating their responsibilities here, but could possibly add to a new propect of frustration. It might be more fruitful to discuss our diminishment as a Society, rather than using energy to discuss, hurriedly, a new structure.

3. I will not be present at the entire US retreat, because of another commitment, but to allow this proposal to become a discussion point at a retreat would—in any stretch of the imagination—become a dominating dynamic in the retreat. Has this been been discussed with the Retreatmaster?

4. What is the "rush?" What is the "hurry?" This matter—if deemed important—might best be discussed at a Regional Assembly as a future structural possibility. It would include—as part of the discussion—an evaluation of the "experience" of the US as a Region.

Peace,

John Kaserow

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