Friday, October 30, 2009

Catholic churches hiring Catholics

a question was posed on my favorite forum about whether it is ok for a church to specify that they want to only hire someone of their own denomination. Sadly, the discussion got rather emotionally out of control, but I do think that I have some very helpful thoughts to contribute, that I want to re-post here.

But shouldn't "be a practicing Catholic" be one of *many* helpful qualifications for a job? If people of similar qualifications were applying for a job at an Episcopal church, wouldn't the person who had been Episcopal (and attending Episcopal services) for their whole life be more experienced and knowledgeable about little details about various services? And I would be interested in hearing if anyone disagreed with the idea that someone who was born and raised and still a practicing member of a particular denomination would have a *personal* attachment to the church that would make them more devoted and attached to their job, compared to someone who had the *exact same* qualifications otherwise?

But of course if it were just one qualification among many, you ought to hire someone with superior keyboard/conducting/people skills over someone who was "just" a Catholic but lacking in other musical areas.

So is the question, can one make ANY assumptions about a possible future employee based on whether they are applying in a church of which they are already a theologically-agreeing member?

If *I* were a church in the position of hiring someone, I would certainly hire someone who was that denomination over someone who wasn't (with the same qualifications,) because I would have to assume that the person of that denomination had better reasons for wanting to work there. (and for the same reasons I think it is very appropriate and permissible to ask.) What I mean by that is, I could safely assume that the person of that denomination wanted to work there because, as I mentioned above, they probably have a personal attachment to that particular church, BUT I would have to wonder about the person not of the denomination: why do they want to work in my church? Isn't it "just a job" for them? WHY do they care about making the music in my denomination better? --Since I cannot think of another reason off the top of my head, I am very curious to hear people's reasons who are not Catholic for wanting to work in the Catholic church (other than, it happened to be open when I was looking for a job and the pay is ok, etc.)

I can say all of this because of my own personal views on my current job-- I view it as a vocation, a calling. I'm not working just for a salary. I'm working to make the music of the RC church as best as it can be. I would probably do this even if there was no money in it for me. I do this precisely because I believe that the fullness of the truth is found in the RC church, and therefore I should give it everything I have. How could a similarly-qualified non-practicing-Catholic have as much dedication to their job as I will to mine? (I really think it would be helpful to this conversation to hear any reasons.) And if there aren't any, then of course a church should hire someone belonging to it's denomination.

[Also, a side question after my main point- Wouldn't (or shouldn't) a Catholic school ask if someone was Catholic, and consider them a more appropriate teacher EVEN if they were teaching a non-religious subject? If so, why? Would the same reasons apply to a MD?]


Paul said...

I'm not ready to address your actual question - whether between two candidates with identical credentials and abilities, a Catholic parish ought to prefer to hire a Catholic - but I would say this:
In the Church that we actually get to live in, in the Year of Our Lord 2009, I think it would be dangerous to articulate a rule such as "Catholics musicians are to be preferred to non-Catholics, everything else being equal." The problem is that 1) everything else is seldom equal and 2) the people actually called upon to utilize the rule will forget the proviso at the end.

As a convert into this Church - which has been ravaged by bad catechesis, particularly bad musical catechesis -for the last 40 (60?) years, I have no particular confidence in any musician, just because he or she is Catholic. You and the other Catholic musicians you link to from this blog - yes, I know that y'all are working to improve the Church's music! And I would have great confidence in a parish that hired any of you! But, Joe or Mary Catholic ... for all I know, he or she has been brought up on 20 to 40 years of On Eagles' Wings ... and I don't think that the rule articulated above could be consistently applied in such a way as to keep that person off the organ in favor of the Southern Baptist who, for whatever reason, loves Gregorian Chant and sacred polyphony.

(In the interest of full disclosure, I suppose I should note that I am working with a non-Catholic director who is interested in the Beautiful and seems very glad to go full steam forward (to the extent that prudence allows) in restoring the Church's music to our parish. When it is time for this director's successor to be chosen, I will tremble at the possibility of the progress which might be lost.)

Mara Joy said...

Right, I certainly agree with your points.

But I still have to ask (and this is maybe my biggest question-) *why* would a non-Catholic be so committed and working to restore good music to a church that is not their own?

Anonymous said...

In all honesty, how does one go about FINDING pastoral work around here? It's hard enough to get involved in our Parish, let alone find work in one, because there are so many positions that are filled with "Catholics" who are ruining our beautiful Church with inane 'christian music' rather than liturgical SACRED music.

Secondly, there are far too many liturgical fallacies made by Catholic Staff and leaders. Ex: Not explaining the readings in the Homily, watered down liturgies, over emotional gestures, like we're going to receive Christ through us by extending our hands or to the point of HOLDING hands for the Pater Noster.

What I'm getting at is in the last 40-60 years, we've dealt with hypocrites leading us into damnation... okay, maybe I'm pushing it, but it's certainly NOT getting any better. People FLOCKED to a Catholic Church before so many leaders DISTORTED Vatican II. And now look at us... still trying to change it to make it more "popular" and "fun"! Yay! I'll got to a club if I'm looking to be popular or have fun, thank you very much!

That's my beef, and one more thing... why must our Church be so divided from the Vatican? The Pope is our leader, whether one likes it or not. To go against it is to go against Christ! "I will give you the keys of the kingdom of Heaven:whatever you bind on earth shall be bound in Heaven; whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven." Matthew 16:19

With that it is our DUTY to follow what our Head teaches and instructs us to do, and to go against that is to go against GOD the ALMIGHTY Himself. God bless!