However, if I were well enough, would I answer the call to leadership in a School?
This is a question I do keep asking myself. Every time I ask it however, the answer in no. This is partly because I do not feel I have any skills in leadership, but as I have never tried to go for even a single promotion, I cannot be certain of this.
The main reason is due to the nature of our Catholic schools themselves. To me (and this is a personal view) they reflect the wider ignorance of the faith amongst the baptized faithful in general. Any Catholic school will have three different "types" of believer as well as assorted unbelievers and antagonists. The types are:
- The Sadducee: a career Catholic for whom the faith is little more than a stepping stone. They believe the Church is out of step with current thinking, they want a lot of things to change. They are often not regular Mass goers but usually end up being on charge of "Catholicity" within the school as they are seen as an approachable face of Catholicism to the unbelievers and antagonists. Incidentally each board of governors seems to have an antagonist/atheist with an axe to grind.....;
- The Pharisee: this person will never be promoted or consulted on any policy regarding the Catholic future of the school. They are feared because they know their stuff and make the Sadducee's very uncomfortable. What really annoys the Sadducee is they often have the respect of the children...."go figure" as our friends in the US might say.
- The "haven't got much of a clue": these are nice, nice people and regular Mass goers. They tend to go along with whatever is being offered, they are a great help at School Masses, where the Pharisees are often inwardly cringing and hiding somewhere and pretending not to know the words to "Shine Jesus Shine", at least the "haven't got much of a clue" teachers make sure mobile phones are confiscated and the children genuflect etc.
This explosive brew is simply not a good recipe for a solid Catholic educational establishment. I may write later on what I think a good Catholic school would be like. In the mean time I think such a vast evangelisation of parents and pupils needs to take place within parish communities that I will probably devote my energies there rather than within the Catholic education system.
A typical school chapel somewere in England