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By Darrick Taylor, Crisis Magazine, Sept. 29, 2021
Darrick Taylor teaches history at Johnson County Community College in Overland Park, Kansas.
In the 1970s, during the heyday of the chaos that followed Vatican II, a French bishop, when asked why he did not more firmly address the crisis, replied, “What can I say? I wasn’t chosen because they thought they might find a prophet in me, but just an administrator.” The Church has always struggled to find good leaders (especially bishops). However, as recently as a hundred years ago, bureaucratic structures did not dominate its life as they do today. What happened?
In 1941, James Burnham published The Managerial Revolution, which might help shed some light on the situation. Burnham was a former Marxist who claimed that Western nations were transitioning from a capitalist society to a “managerial” one in which power would pass from owners of capital to managers who controlled the instruments of production. …