Channel 10's Berkeley Brean interviewed Bishop Clark yesterday on subjects related to his impending thirtieth anniversary as Bishop of Rochester. The full interview is here. What follows is my transcription of two of the questions and answers from that interview.
Q: Is there anything you would have done differently over the 30 years - differently that would have been personal to you but also that would have impacted the hundreds of thousands in the diocese?
A: I don't think, when I think of that question, you know I have made a lot of decisions over the 30 years, some of them popular and some of them unpopular.
As I look back I realize that I tried to do the best I could with all of them. And when I say tried to do the best I could, I mean I tried to garner the input, the advice to do the study to do the prayer, etc., that I felt was necessary to come to a mature decision.
I know that every decision that I've ever made is imperfect, but I can't honestly say that I would go back and change any of those major decisions now. I would say there are lots of instances in which I might have more carefully and thoughtfully garnered the input, but I've never been one … I mean I do think I bring a sort of critical point of view to my own work, before, during and after. But I think for my own mental health and peace of mind I try to avoid the kind of second guessing that leads nowhere. You know you do the best you can, make the decision, entrust it to the community and to God and you move on.
But you always look to improve and to do things better. You know you'd like to have the conversations up front before a decision to be of such quality and scope that you minimize the discontented conversations afterwards. But I don't think we'll ever come to a place where that's gonna be perfect, but you work at it.
Q: And I suppose that the issue with school closings is probably in that context?
A: Well, that would be … that was a tough decision. I mean we've had a number of tough decisions about schools over the years. If your reference is to the one a year ago January, of course, very difficult.
We tried to be very careful in that research and we tried to communicate as best we could under the circumstances but you knew going in, because whenever you make a decision that touches the lives of people's children, they're very very sensitive decisions and you know that you're going to have to deal with a very natural reaction to that. And so you don't go around looking for ways in which to upset people but sometimes you know that when you make decisions and your best judgments have to be made then you better be ready, as best you can, to deal with the fallout from that, both the positive and the negative.