Saturday, 23 January 2010

Knowing how to exercise authority

I've just heard a story about the late Cardinal Krol of Philadelphia:

About 40 years ago, a catholic parent complained to the Cardinal that he and his wife worked hard to put their children in catholic school and were upset that a priest/teacher told the class that attending Sunday Mass was not a "moral obligation" for a Catholic.

The Cardinal called the school principal and asked for an investigation. The principal responded that it was true and that he was indeed teaching that Sunday Mass attendance was not a "moral obligation." Cardinal Krol told the principal to dismiss the teacher with the reason made public. The principal responded to His Eminence that he had "no authority over staffing."

Then, in his wisdom, the Cardinal contacted the Provincial Superior of the Order and gave the same instruction. The Provincial responded as the Principal did, that he had "no authority" over staffing."

The Cardinal then advised the Provincial, that while it may be true that his authority did not extend over staffing, he expressed to the Provincial, the areas over which he had authority:

The very presence in the Archdiocese of Philadelphia of that particular Order, its hospitals and schools.

The next day, the priest was fired.

Is there a lesson here?

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