What I wonder about is the quality as well as quanitity of staff appointments and the criteria we put in parish profiles, and the way they relate to the rule.
Benedict’s criteria for job selection are clear. Relying on pragmatic knowledge of a person’s deeds revealing their character and intentions in community, people are given opportunities to prove themselves faithful, diligent and competent. They should work to the best of their ability, in an ordered way, within the fundamental balance of prayer, contemplation, work and rest, accepting radical mutual accountability to God through the community, incuding the disciplines of chapter and listening to the least voice. Discernment should be led by the abbot, shared with the community. High commitment to Conversion, stability and obedience, Gospel zeal, competence, openness to others score high. Ego, opinion, outside status and Politics score low.
Such appointments are difficult, if not impossible, if we...
- are not sufficently a community to know our people properly and what they bring to the party;
- pretend or waffle about our intentions for the job
- do not observe the highest standards of justice in our equality and diversity practices. There are indications in Jesus’ teaching we would aspire to even greater and more honest relationships with our people than, say, Marks & Spencer, but we have to treat our people at least as fairly as they would treat theirs.
- score results rather than motives, surrender awarenss of competence, balance and intentions for a vague concept like “performance.”
- allow dirty information or untested assumptions into the process, including politics in the mean sense and anecdotal based assumptions
- measure character mainly by checking for failings, rather than accounting it in positive descriptive terms as we weigh any offer to take on a job