Mgr Marcus Stock, the General Secretary of the Bishops Conference of England and Wales, has brought out a new version of his book on Catholic schools, Christ at the Centre, which has been co-published by the Bishops Conference and the Catholic Education Service. What is remarkable about this new version is that it includes a supplement that outlines the moral standards expected to be adhered to by head teachers, deputy heads, heads of RE and governors.
The Daily Telegraph reports:
Anyone deemed to be in a “non-chaste” relationship outside marriage, which could also be interpreted to include gay staff in civil partnerships, could be subject to investigation and removed from their posts, it says.
Even those who had married in a non-Catholic church or a register office without official approval might also find their position under question.
The warning comes in a booklet by written by Monsignor Marcus Stock, general secretary of the Catholic Bishops’ conference of England and Wales and co-published by the Catholic Education Service. It argues that any “substantive life choice” which went against Catholic teaching could be incompatible with their work. The booklet lists divorcees who remarry; those who marrying outside a Catholic church without canonical approval or those in openly “unchaste” relationships alongside those who had committed “apostasy” – or renouncing faith.
“Even the most committed Catholic frequently fails in the full expression of the practice of their faith through personal weakness and sinfulness on various occasions and at particular moments. These failures in the practice of the faith are, however, distinct from adhering to and maintaining substantive life choices which are incompatible with the teaching of the Catholic Church and which prevent them from receiving the sacraments. These choices can give scandal potentially both to the Christian and wider community and bring the religious ethos and character of the school into disrepute.”
A spokeswoman for the Catholic Church said that the booklet was intended as guidance for those applying for senior leadership positions which are only open to Catholics such as potential head teachers, deputy heads or heads of RE as well as governors.
“This isn’t about checking up on people,” she said. “It is informing people called to leadership positions in Catholic schools that these are the expectations of someone in a senior role.”
Protect the Pope comment: It is not uncommon for faithful governors to raise questions about the suitability of teachers applying for senior posts in Catholic schools due to the candidate’s adultery or other immoral behaviour. And often it doesn’t end well for the governor who raises these concerns. It is not unheard of that such courageous governors are summarily removed from their positions, even though they have served as governors for 25 years or more.
Now that the Bishops Conference and the Catholic Education Service have explicitly stated that unchastity or apostasy can result in senior teachers being removed from post, it is obvious that candidates for senior teaching posts who are known to be unchaste or are apostate should not even be considered. Faithful governors now have the backing of the Bishops Conference and Catholic Education Service to raises concerns about teachers who are leading immoral lives against the teachings of the Church.