THE SEVEN ESSENTIAL STEPS FOR AN EFFECTIVE APOLOGY vs The Rules Don’t Apply to Me

THE SEVEN ESSENTIAL STEPS FOR AN EFFECTIVE APOLOGY vs The Rules Don’t Apply to Me

In an excellent article in The Jury Expert http://www.astcweb.org/public/publication/article.cfm/1/22/2/The-Rules-Do-Not-Apply-to-Me Elizabeth Foley, a partner in Zagnoli, McEvoy, Foley, a jury consulting firm, has written an article entitled "The Rules Don’t Apply to me." Ms Foley lists seven things that are necessary for a full and complete apology. She says leaving out any of one of these steps means the apology is not effective. Here are the steps:

  • Acknowledge what you did wrong
  • Take responsibility for your actions
  • Acknowledge the impact your actions had on others
  • Apologize for having cased pain or done damage
  • Repair the damage (offer money or a concession) or state your future intentions
  • Do not make excuses
  • Have a humble and appropriate nonverbal communication which matches the spoken message

I had saved her article and distributed it to the lawyers in my office because I thought it was so very accurate.

Today, when I read columnist Marie Dowd’s article in today’s New York Times Should There Be an Inquisition for the Pope? the Foley seven steps came to my mind. I know I've already complained about the Church response, but the pope and bishops and Catholic spokespersons, who have responded to the international sex abuse crisis in the Catholic church, should be required to memorize all seven steps before they are allowed to say anything about the issue. According Popeto Ms Dowd, we have Bill Donohue, the Catholic League President, characterizing the abuse as an indiscretion rather then a crime and offering As an excuse that it is a common response of all organizations to use therapy as a remedy. On top of that, Donohue blamed the victims for not taking action sooner, even though the abuse was well known to those in charge. We have Seattle Archdiocese Alex Brunett joining other U.S. bishops in blaming greedy trial lawyers as if they were the ones who caused the problem in the first place as well as trying to get the legislature to not amend the law to provide a remedy for victims in Washington state. According to Dowd, Archbishop Dolan of New York, in a Sunday sermon, tried to cast the situation as old news calling it "a re run" of a story involving "a few priests" and ignoring the international nature of the problem as far more wide spread then that. We have not had the Pope address his role in not taking action in Germany as archbishop and his role in the Vatican as the place where the buck stopped.

So, applying any of the seven essential steps outlined by Ms Foley to the response by the pope, bishops and Church spokespersons about the clergy abuse situation, I give them a failing grade. I guess they feel like "the rules just don't apply  to me."

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