Monday, July 16, 2012

Clifton Chief Executive

Joe Shaw highlighted Clifton dioceses search for a Chief Executive, or is it a Financial Secretary? So if you want £65k, apply!

I can understand the need for expertise in the administration of Church affairs, especially where the hard earned pennies of the poor are concerned.
However, apart from the secular sounding title, which as others have suggested puts Bishop or Pastor in the shade, it does seem strange that a non-Catholic might be considered. We can be so professional that we exclude Christ and his Church's teaching, especially where money is concerned. Christ says a lot about money. The use of the Church's money isn't just about avoiding evil, such as not investing in company's involved  in the "culture of death", which presumably in the case of Clifton would involve not investing in companies which overfill kettles.

Avoiding evil is one important but as a Christians we are also called to use our money for a positive good and to further the Church's mission, some of the Scottish bishops have given a good example of this by using their money to promote adult stem cell research. There is a whole issue of justice here, dioceses often have "negative" ethical policy, stating what they will not invest in but I know of none that have a "positive" ethical policy. We should be using our resources to promote the family, fair wages, decent and affordable housing, decent care of the elderly, opportunities for the young, for the poor, for the socially marginalised, for those companies that are attempting to put into practice the Church's social teaching. I know that many dioceses have money invested in government stock which is generally regarded as ethical but the spat the American bishops are having with their government reminds us that even "democratic" governments are often less than ethical.

The Clifton advert seems to suppose a glancing acquaintanceship with Catholicism, but that is far from what successive Popes have taught.
We seek a person who embraces the values of, but is not necessarily a member of, the Catholic
Unfortunately this sounds a little too much like the attitude we have to our schools, "values" are rather pale, fleeting and subjective creatures. I'd much prefer Bishop Lang to be asking for a deeply committed Catholic, imbued with orthodox Catholic theology and social teaching.


Andrew Leach said...

Unfortunately, making a particular religious requirement necessary for what is essentially a senior accountant/manager is against the law. It's ok to say a Catholic priest has to be a Catholic, but anyone can manage or count. Can't they. Of course they can. The government says so.

The Bones said...

It's interesting. In Humanae Vitae Pope Paul VI said that government (I think he stuck to government) should be generous to large families instead of going down the contraceptive route.

Perhaps, if Dioceses have £65,000 to give a manager, then there's enough money in the Diocesan kitty to show generosity to those families generous in being open to life?

After all, there's probably not that many of them.

JARay said...

I very much liked your comment that in the case of the Diocese of Clifton, ethical, means not overfilling one's kettle. It says such a lot!
How sad!

Hughie said...

Andrew Leach is quite right in respect of thefirst three points he makes:

(1)making a particular religious requirement necessary for what is essentially a senior accountant/manager is against the law;

(2)it is OK (in law) to say a Catholic priest has to be a Catholic, and;

(3)anyone can manage or count.

That is why Roman Catholic dioceses have (a) a Bishop (b) a Vicar General and (c) a Chancellor. So why would one need a Chief Executive?

Fr Ray Blake said...

Gosh, do you mean a bishop can't insist that decisions about Church finances can only be made those in a state of grace, and after prayer and fasting, preferable after a novena to the Holy Spirit?

Of course in the first millennium, basing its thinking on Acts the Church insisted most finance directors were in diaconal orders.

Hughie said...

Dear Fr Ray, Obviously I haven't made myself clear. I believe that "decisions about Church finances" SHOULD "only be made" by the Bishop advised by his Vicar General and Chancellor , which latter should be a priest, or at least a religious, and so hopefully by people in a state of grace, or as nearly so as a man (in the latter case, or woman) can be outwith the confessional.

There maybe occasions when professional help is needed, that is why we have bank managers, accountants and lawyers.

John Kearney said...

I am afraid that having been nurtured in Portsmouth the Bishop believes that the parishioners gather money for him to do whatever he likes with. He is not accountable to them in any way as he pursues his idea of `Church` which he as a shepherd will dictate and not Rome.

Neil Addison said...

Responding to the Point made by Andrew Leach

Paras 1 and 3 of Schedule 9 of the Equality Act allows a Religious employer to require that an employee is a member of a particular religion where the employer can show that

“having regard to the nature or context of the work
(a) it is an occupational requirement,
(b) the application of the requirement is a proportionate means of achieving a legitimate aim”

In the case of a "Chief Executive" of a Diocese which by definition would be a high profile public role it would be perfectly acceptable for the Diocese to say that the applicant must be a practicing CAtholic.

I see numerous adverts for Clerks for various Anglican Diocese and the adverts (quite properly) say that any applicant must be a Communicant Member of the Anglican Church. If the Diocese of Clifton have decided that their Chief Executive does not need to be a Catholic that is, I suppose, a matter for them but they would certainly have been legally able to insit on a practicing Catholic if they had chosen to do so.

Neil Addison (Barrister)
Thomas More Legal Centre

RJ said...

How many paid executives does a diocese have? £65,000 p.a. would be the entire annual collection for several(?) parishes.

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