There were halcyon days in my formative years when I used to think that people in positions of leadership could be expected to understand the importance of integrity. And I am sure that there are young people today whose own outlooks are still unencumbered by the harsh reality that there are so many wrong people in positions which require of them what they don't have.
What they too often don't have, and what their positions require, is a spine.
So they search for the easiest short-term solution to a crisis or a threat, without giving a thought to the assault this does to the truth, or to their integrity.
They are the bureaucrats who can't bear to live without the promise of funding by their most important benefactors, so they sacrifice their principles, if only just a little, in order to keep them happy. And then a little more, and more again after that.
They live, essentially, by fear. They are beholden not so much to their sponsors themselves as to the images of their sponsors, images which are really likely more caricatures than realities.
These bureaucrats certainly exist in the halls of government, but they also haunt the Church. In both places they wreak havoc, in proportion to the amount of authority they hold.
These people are worse plagues upon the well being of society or of the Church than the outright scoundrels, being themselves less identifiable.
And yet, we will never be free of them. They have been doing their damage since the beginning, since Adam lost the fortitude to tell off the serpent who was tempting his wife, who was standing, no doubt, right next to him all the while. Who knows, perhaps when the serpent beguiled, Adam simply wanted to avoid confrontation, or loss of favor somehow, so thought he needed to compromise, to come out of this matter looking at least like half the man he didn't have the guts to be.
That, at least, is what seems to drive the gutless these days. There's always a threat, an alarm, a foreboding of dire consequences.
Men must learn not to live by fear, ever. Though we may have our fears, we must not let them guide us. Sometimes we must damn the torpedoes.
And men who don't know how to do this will never be what God intended them to be. And men, or aspiring men, who do understand, even from the start of their formation, can perhaps one day become, deo volente, replacements for the spineless here and there.