30 January 2012

Secrets, I Hate Secrets

Secrets are the bane of communication.

While as a frequent, indeed very frequent sinner, I am grateful for the confidentiality that is granted penitents in the sacrament of reconciliation (confession.) Beyond that highly individual sort of secret however, I am against secrets. I am especially against them in the context of organizations like the church. Secrets imply elites, conspiracies, and my least favorite, "keeping the lid on" or as the therapists name it, "conflict avoidance."  Another evil thing about secrets is that they leak.

So,  you should know, I was not told this, "in confidence." I know it because the secret has leaked all over the place.

Are you invited to the secret meeting at our parish tonight? I am proud to say, I am not.



Paris David said...

Fascinating writing.

Yes, when we release our secrets, Satan has less of a hold on us.

JimB said...

Thanks Paula.


JCF said...

What's the difference between secrecy and privacy?

When does transparency become exhibitionism?

I don't know. Just throwing that out there...

[FWIW, I thought (pre-reading) this post might have something to do w/ the Twitter controversy related to the latest Executive Council brouhaha. Somebody live-Tweeted, someone else "felt violated". Sticky wicket.]

MadPriest said...

I'm completely with you on this, Jim. In organisations things are rarely done secretly for good reasons. Things are normally kept secret because if they were in the open other people would be hurt or it would be found out that the secret keepers are doing something morally unacceptable.

Furthermore I don't believe you should say anything that you are not prepared for the people you are talking about to hear.

JimB said...

I did not know about the censorship at Executive Council until after I posted, but my view is the same for them. There are a very few matters, mostly dealing with personnel which our law requires be held in secret space. But we elect executive council, and frankly they have no business being in secret except for those matters.

I think privacy is what individuals have, and secret is what conspiracies have. When you seek to influence a shared institution, when you seek to influence the role of a person (leader, priest) in an institution, I think you forefit the expectation of privacy.

That is why secrets are deadly in marriages. Almost anything we do, say, promise impacts our marriage. Keeping things from one's spouse begins the road to divorce court.

If you would be embarrassed to say it to the person, do not say it. Simple rule -- hard to keep.


JimB said...

Fr. Jonathon, thanks.

I agree that in organizations, there is seldom a good reason for a secret. Churches do have of course, a responsibility to safeguard the privacy of members, we tend to pour ourselves out in our churches. But that is another matter.


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