Journal of Business Ethics

, Volume 146, Issue 4, pp 859–867 | Cite as

Beyond Scandal: Creating a Culture of Accountability in the Catholic Church

  • Angela SenanderEmail author


Like many corporations, the Catholic Church in the United States and Ireland has tried to move beyond scandal. In this case, the scandal was the failure of church leaders to protect minors from clergy sexual abuse, particularly in Boston and Dublin. Like corporate leaders, church leaders have faced the challenge of restoring trust after scandal. Influenced by corporate trends toward codes of conduct, the archdioceses of both Boston and Dublin provide codes of conduct, but the differences between them are worth noting. In 2015, the Catholic Church in both the United States and Ireland highlighted the need for a culture of accountability that does not succumb to complacency, and in the United States the bishops have once again been encouraged to learn from business. This paper will demonstrate that the Catholic Church is in dialogue with and learns from codes of conduct and cultural practices in business. At the same time, it will highlight that the Catholic Church must also be attentive to its own mission since a simple adoption of other corporations’ practices can be detrimental to sharing the Gospel. The appropriation of codes of conduct and cultural practices from business reflects the church’s attentiveness to the signs of the times, and this appropriation needs to be evaluated in the light of the church’s mission to share the Gospel with the world.


Accountability Authentic leadership Catholic Church Codes of conduct Codes of ethics Ignatian spirituality Mindfulness Trust Virtue 


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Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media Dordrecht 2016

Authors and Affiliations

  1. 1.Theology Department, College of Arts and SciencesUniversity of St. ThomasSt. PaulUSA

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