Monday, January 18, 2010

Background checks, inquiries, and stuff like that...

"How is this to be done if not by enquiring into these matters."
Thus speaks Fr. John Boyle of Ashford, Kent in a post respectfully objecting to a statement made by Bishop Malcom McMahon to the Tablet regarding Church investigation into the private lives of applicants for the headships of Catholic schools:
"Bishop Malcolm McMahon told The Tablet that the backgrounds of potential school leaders were not the concern of the Church and it should be up to applicants themselves to decide whether they were able to live according to church teaching. “Their family life isn’t scrutinised,” said the bishop. “I’d be rather ashamed if the Church was doing that to people. But we do expect people in leadership in the Church to live out their Christian commitment as best they can.”
He also said that the Church was not opposed to civil partnerships. “Civil partnerships are precisely what they say they are. They’re not gay marriages or lesbian marriages. They’re simply a legal arrangement between two people so that they can pass on property and other rights in which they were discriminated against before,” he said. “We have many gay people in education and a large number of gay people in the Church, at least the same as the national average. I think a person who is leading a church school should live according to the Church’s teaching whether they are in a civil partnership or not. A civil partnership is not a marriage, it’s not a conjugal relationship.”" - Catholic Education
Upon first glance the Bishop's statements sound perfectly reasonable inured as we all are in politically correct thinking, but it is an entirely different matter when it impinges upon Church teaching regarding faith and morals, or improprieties which could lead to scandal.  Fr. Boyle's article is a must read as he outlines quite well the importance of inquiring into the lives of those who are given leadership roles in the lives of the faithful and their children.
"The backgrounds of potential school leaders, indeed of every living soul, is of immense concern to the Church since She is concerned about the salvation, not only of those who lead our schools, but of those whom they are charged to lead and teach. There needs to be some way of ensuring that our teachers are exemplary in their lives. Only in that way can they give example to the pupils and teach coherently what the Church teaches." - Fr. Boyle
Likewise, the laity are well within their rights to inquire into the lives of those who are charged to lead and teach.


  1. Maria4:10 PM

    Can I get an Amen???

  2. The bishop's statements are quite curious. Hmmmmmmm.

  3. +JMJ+

    Terry, you 'blog about these things so much more elegantly than I ever could! I love Abbey-Roads! =)

  4. Wow! Thanks Enbrethiliel.

  5. Anonymous10:23 AM

    I certainly believe you are right, but I think any "questioning" should be above board with the persons asking questions having the courage and grace to identify themselves and not "ask questions" from a shroud of anonymity, encouraging other anonymous commenters to gossip.

    I don't see how anonymous blogging and discussions on the presumed faults of others fits into the Gospel or the pursuit of holiness and sanctity.

    Ellen M.

  6. Thanks Ellen, I'm not exactly anonymous here - my information and identity is pretty much established - real name, real location, my email is up, if you've read me, I discuss a great deal of personal information - you can even google me and find out more, and even see my house. Of course my avatar is not me, as most people realize, and it is meant to be fun - that isn't at all uncommon.

    I don't ask for donations, nor am I running for office, so I don't quite see why it is necessary to supply any more information - such as tax records and things, you know? Neither am I applying for a position - volunteer or otherwise - in a Catholic institution or elsewhere where I would be required to go through a background check.

    And Ellen M. - may I ask who you are?

  7. +JMJ+

    Terry, I think I know who "Ellen M." is! =)

    She uses the same phrases a lot when telling off Catholic 'bloggers for criticising fellow Catholics. This time, it was "shroud of anonymity" which gave her away. She's especially provoked by "anonymous" 'bloggers, even though she herself is always anonymous!

    At one point, I started thinking of her as my own personal troll, and was kind of disappointed when she slunk away. =P I have a whole Shredded Cheddar post that record a bunch of similar comments she has left elsewhere on the Catholic 'blogosphere:

    Now that she has shown up again, I'm going to have to update it! ;)

    PS -- Word Verification is "wardpres"! Some of the Blogger writers must have a sense of humour!

  8. Austringer2:46 PM

    Well, I'm sure that I'm not the only one that thought that "Anonymous" complaining about "Anonymous" blogging is a know...pot-black-kettle-calling.

    Terry, how can you say that your avatar isn't you? I've met you many times -- a darn good likeness, I'd say.

    Anyway, the bishop's comments are, as Larry observed, curious..


Please comment with charity and avoid ad hominem attacks. I exercise the right to delete comments I find inappropriate. If you use your real name there is a better chance your comment will stay put.