Last week, I went to one of the saddest parties I’ve ever attended.
A dear friend – a brilliant nationally-known scholar and occasional television commentator – had been fired from his teaching position, without warning, without cause, and without explanation, then stripped of his other assignments and, despite the opinions of his doctors, forced into a nursing home.
But the most tragic part of all this is that he is a Catholic priest, working for a Catholic institution.
Unfortunately, this is all too common these days. Several people I know (including myself) have experienced it. It seems to have come from business world -where it may even be taught as “good management.” But it doesn’t take much imagination to see that even on purely pragmatic grounds, it is a very bad idea, one bound to destroy your employees faith in you, leading quickly leading to disloyalty, dissension and disrespect.
The Catholic Church teaches that we must treat the working man with justice. This is no radical doctrine but something few Christians would dispute. Admittedly “justice” is one of those words people throw around without much thought for its meaning, but ultimately it is about the debt we owe to others. If we inform our employees of any complaints against them and allow them to respond, if we deal with them fairly and openly, and check our facts before we act we aren’t being “nice”, nor are we doing them a special favor: no, we are merely doing our duty toward them.
Perhaps it is time that we remembered that those around us judge us not by our rhetoric, but by our actions – and start acting like Christians.