Rorate Caeli

Fancy being 'Chief Executive' of Clifton Diocese?

By request, I'm re-posting this from my own blog for the benefit of Rorate readers. Clifton diocese is in the South West of England (Clifton is actually a suburb of Bristol), and has the most modern cathedral you could ask for. By a strange coincidence, it has the largest number of Sunday TLMs of any diocese in England and Wales, but this is the result of a remarkable group of priests who happen to be there, rather than any diocesan policy. Think of them, as you imagine the consequences of a lay or non-Catholic 'Chief Executive' taking up this position at the moment Bishop Declan Lang takes a 4 month sabbatical due to ill health.

If you thought that the 'Chief Executive' of diocese would be, if anyone, the Bishop, you were wrong - at least where Clifton Diocese is concerned. They are advertising for one: and according to the 'person specification' section, candidates for the job needn't be Catholic. (I'd really like to know what the 'values', as opposed to teaching, of the Church are.)
Here's the main blurb. Why not apply?
An excellent vacancy has arisen for a Diocesan Secretary to fulfil the role of Chief Executive within the Clifton Diocese
Diocesan Secretary
The Catholic Diocese of Clifton is seeking to appoint a Diocesan Secretary to fulfil the role of Chief Executive and coordinate the administration of the Diocese.
The holder of this important post:
Will lead the formulation and implementation of a strategy for the long term financial security of the Diocese
    Will have experience of leading a team of senior professionals and be committed to the mission of the Diocese
      Will create an approach to balancing the quality of service to clergy and parishes with the management of risk.
        Based in Bristol from autumn 2012, initially for one year, subject to review. Salary £65k. For more details see (Working for Us)
        Closing date: 5.00 pm Monday 13 August 2012.

        From the 'Person Specification':
        We seek a person who embraces the values of, but is not necessarily a member of, the Catholic Church. Experience of belonging to a Christian parish or similar community would offer valuable insights into the workings of the diocese.


        GMMF said...

        It sounds like they're trying to bring in someone to help with their financial situation--it doesn't seem like this position will be the same as the bishop.

        Honestly, I think there is something to this in that clergy are not necessarily the most skilled when it comes to these things. Plus, diocesan bishops often act too much like CEOs and not enough like pastors and apostles, often because administrative tasks take up so much of their time.

        In much of the first millenium, this role was essentially filled by a deacon, and the bishop focused more on serving the word of God. I don't know what the state of the diaconate is in this diocese, so they may not have a good candidate from that group, but I think that would be ideal.

        Centurio said...

        Basel Stadt Roman Catholic Church (in Basel, Switzerland) has such a chief executive too. Reportedly he is making 300'000 CHF annualy, more than a vice-president in the local pharma giants. This is an outrage. At the same time the church tax rate is atrocious and the parishes completely protestantized to the degree where some of them do not even of a Sunday mass anymore, just some oecumenical meeting in a local protestant "church".

        Sixupman said...

        My parish, when living in Somerset, preached Protestantism and anti-Magisterium rubbish. The bishop appeared to appoint like-minded clergy to the parish, which had a definite CofE feeling, but they may have made much less noise. Both before and after Mass the noise was Bedlam. I heard Mass elsewhere.

        Lady Marchmain said...

        "If you want this choice position, have a very cheery disposition. Take us on outings, give us treats, play games, bring sweets..."

        rodrigo said...

        "We seek a person who embraces the values of... the Catholic Church."

        Can we apply this criterion to future episcopal appointments worldwide, please?

        David said...

        "Will ... be committed to the mission of the Diocese"

        But the person doesn't have to be Catholic?

        Can we infer from this that there is nothing specifically Catholic about the mission of the Diocese?

        knarf said...

        Although it seems strange at first sight that the appointee to this very responsible position need not necessarily be a Catholic, I agree with GMMF (1st comment) that it is ludicrous to assume that a diocesan priest will be the candidate most fitted for the assignment. Hence the openness to consider a non-Catholic.

        Such an individual would have the potential advantage of not being over-well acquainted with the clergy and secular staff of the diocese and so would be at smaller risk of cronyism. Equally an "outsider" would have less temptation to gossip about diocesan affairs out of hours.

        It is also important that the diocesan clergy be available for pastoral work, rather than administration.

        Thomas said...

        Can we all please stop talking about the Church's "values"? Values are groundless commitments or preference-orderings. Satanists have values. We have the truth.

        Matthew Rose said...

        Nothing to see here, folks. No crisis. We are just taking the best insights of the modern world and using them to enrich the Church so that she can more ably speak to modern man...erm, people.

        Adrian UK said...

        In my opinion, even an atheist would be less agressive against the Traditional Mass than a modernist Bishop. I have spoken about the Latin Mass with some of my colleages (who are unbelievers) and they quite like the idea. One of my friends is Calvinist and he has asked me to call him next Sunday because he loves the idea of a Mass celebrated in Latin. Only the modernists fight the Traditional Mass. The rest of the world appreciate/understand those who appreciate it.

        Matthew Rose said...

        Adrian UK,

        In my small range of personal experience, only liberal and neo-Catholics hate the TLM. Such paragons of tolerance! Secuarlists, Protestants, atheists, etc., are usually at least curious.

        Rick DeLano said...

        @Thomas 16:20


        James said...

        Is there any chance that the diocese had to advertise the position as not requiring a prospective employee to be Catholic simply due to labour laws? At least in my country, one could refuse to employ someone who holds any sort of moral code, but not reject a candidate outright because of their religion.

        LeonG said...

        One of the key traditionalist centres is St Saviour's House in Bristol, The SSPX. They have had more than just a subtle influence in several places within the diocese.
        Declan Lang is a real liberal in allowing more or less anything to happen in the church there. However, it is interesting to note the Neo-Cats were banned from three parishes within the diocese. I took part in some of the meetings about the destructive tendancies of the NCs in one of those parishes.
        The Anglican Cathedral (once catholic) in Bristol looks more catholic than the hyper-modern minimalist one posing as a Catholic one.

        Joseph Shaw said...

        It seems worthwhile to re-post here a comment made on a post on the same topic on Fr Ray Blake's blog, responding the a question also asked by commenters here: are they legally obliged to say they are open to non-Catholic applicants? The answer is No.


        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