Monday, June 29, 2009


Having had jobs outside of Church I know what it is to be called into the boss’s office. You may be going in to talk over a project, defend your actions, or (on too rare occasions) talk about how well you are doing. In any event, unless related to the boss at best your are good friends but more than likely you have a good business relationship.

This past week our bishop requested a meeting with me “downtown” at his office. This was my first such meeting in my capacity as an administrator of a parish. Fortunately I had a heads up concerning the matter and knew it was going to be a constructive meeting. But it also started me reflecting on my relationship with my bishop as a priest of Jesus Christ in the diocese that Pope Benedict entrusted him to pastor. We are bound together in a very unique way. We are brothers (he the definite elder!) Suppose for a moment we were at odds over some important topic. What could be the ultimate pressure point? Would I threaten to quit as one might a job? Of course not. It is not like I could go to the next parish over and apply for a pastorate there. Would he threaten to fire me? It is not as easy as it might sound. So it is in both of our best interest to work things out – shall I say – in a Christian manor. Of course I DID swear obedience to him and his successors so there is that edge in the argument . . . which quite frankly makes my job whole lot easier.

So the working relationship is a bit of a covenant. We are bound together by promises and oaths taken publically and lived out daily. So when I go to see him I get dressed up in my finest and pray for him in a special way on my way to his office. The meeting is a prayerful one and concludes with my asking for his blessing.

It may not be a way to run a car company (or maybe it is!?) but it is the way to run the Church and I am thankful to be part of that.


Mikki said...

Sounds very much like the private sector. I pray on the way to the boss's office too.

Warren said...

I think all of us could pray for our bosses, and our employees, and it would be a good thing. I often think that taking a simplistic view of any situation hides most of that situation's realities from us.

The bitter employee, or the embittered priest, robs himself of the opportunity to serve God in this situation.

Of course, there is something incredibly special about the vocation of priesthood, it's not just a job. In my anglican days, my Anglican parish priest had zero respect for our out-there Anglican bishop -- he was heterodox in ways they haven't even discovered yet. And, in some ways, priesthood really was a job. Right down to it being a way to support your wife and family.

It really is very different in the Catholic Church.


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