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HWCDSB :: Covenantal ethics keep Catholic education healthy
If the only difference between a public school and a Catholic school were the crucifix on the wall, as an Ottawa newspaper suggested, then we would be right to close Catholic schools, said Father Ray Carey.
Fr. Carey, a clinical psychologist and a priest with the Archdiocese of Portland, Oregon was invited to speak on Covenantal Ethics to employees of the Hamilton-Wentworth Catholic District School Board in four half-day sessions on November 26 and 27, 2010.
Covenantal ethics, suggested Carey
, can be a useful tool for Catholic educators whose belief system is foundationally rooted in the Jesus issue.
"The value system of Jesus Christ is what we are about," said Carey
"A first and primary measure of the efficacy of the enterprise has everything to do with fidelity to Jesus' way of respecting people."
spoke about society's reliance on contracts, which set out the minimum requirements expected of each person in an organization.
"Thank God our God is not about contracts," he
Something can be legal and moral and yet be unethical, noted Carey
Ethics are about doing the right thing for all involved.
There are three main principles in ethics that, if followed, will raise the ethical standards of the enterprise.
The first is agency, a word derived from the Latin verb 'agere' which means to act.
One of the ways to reverence others, said Carey
, is to be as clear as possible about "whose agent is who?
Teachers often mistakenly believe they are agents of the student when in fact they are always agents of the school board.
As agents of the board, teachers are required to embrace the decisions of the board even if they don't believe in them themselves.
"Ethics will keep you healthier," suggested Carey
, "otherwise you're flying by the seat of your pants."
The second principle is fiduciary trust.
Unlike other forms of trust, fiduciary trust is not earned, it comes automatically to anyone in a role or position where there is a power differential.
Role-based fiduciary trust, indicated Carey
, requires that the person in authority do two key things: commit to doing the very best they can; and do no harm.
"One of the great privileges of being a Catholic school educator is that one has the opportunity to embrace fiduciary trust responsibilities within the context of a covenantal community," said Carey
said, fulfilling one's fiduciary responsibilities can help increase the quality of one's work ethic as well as one's satisfaction with his
"Fiduciary trust is that which will lift you up and freshen the fire in your belly that brought you into Catholic education in the first place," said Carey
But, he added, being in a position of fiduciary trust means that you don't violate that trust in any way, through exploitation or self-advancement.
"You have a moral compass," said Carey
A helpful guideline for deciding whether to grant, receive or share a confidence relates to a person's "right to know" and "need to know," suggested Carey
also made the distinction between public information and personal information, noting that personal information is information of a private nature that belongs to someone else.
Before a second party seeks information from another or shares a person's personal information with a third party, the person should first consider whether he/she ethically has a right to know or a need to know.
With the "right to know", the principle of agency kicks in. In other words, as an agent of the principal, everything that a teacher knows, his
principal has a right to know if that knowledge is necessary to the principal carrying out his
A further concern, noted Carey
, relates to the power differential between two persons.
The person with more power must be careful not to seek information from someone who is not free to choose not to disclose that information, such as a teacher who asks personal questions of a student out of curiosity or prurient interest.
Another source of confusion can take place when a teacher may have a legitimate need to know but has not established the right to know - as in the situation where parents share personal information with the principal but for some reason chooses not to share that information with their child's classroom teacher.
In such a scenario, Carey
pointed out, the principal has both a right to know and a need to know.
The teacher may have a need to know but does not have the right to know.
There are circumstances under which a confidence may be broken, noted Carey
, listing the threat of grave bodily harm, the threat of suicide, and physical, sexual or emotional abuse of a child.
In these types of situations, a teacher or principal is obligated to disclose any confidences that will result in the safety or well-being of the child.
"That's what prevents cults," said Carey
"It may be painful but you're taking care of covenantal ethics."
presentation by explaining that discipleship in Jesus Christ is a gift of God's own grace and favour.
The mission of Catholic schools
is to equip and enable students to be faithful disciples with skills to engage the world community.
"Those responsible for Catholic schools have the obligation and privilege of inviting students to participate in and to contribute to building a highly ethical covenantal community in word and action."
"My hope for you is this," Carey
In a morning devoted to reviewing ...
In a morning devoted to reviewing his life, Fr. Raymond P. Carey, Ph.D., psychologist and lecturer, will share his admiration of Pope John XXIII and highlight several lessons as we celebrate with gratitude this saintly brother in the Lord.
Fr. Carey is a priest of the Archdiocese of Portland.
The Keynote presenter for this year's ...
The Keynote presenter for this year's conference will be Father Ray Carey, Ph.D.
His theme will be "Ethics in Pastoral Ministry."
This year's focus will be on the centrally important topic of ethics in pastoral ministry.
With a mix of presentation and discussion, participants will have an opportunity to frame the topic in the context of the covenant theology with a look at the manifest ethic of Jesus Christ.
Participants will also look at service to the people in their ministry through the lens of three foundational principles in pastoral ethics: clarity of agency, responsibilities of fiduciary trust and the complexities of confidentiality.
Reverend Raymond P. Carey, Ph.D., is a priest of the Archdiocese of Portland.
Ordained in 1970, Father Carey serves as a counselor for priests and religious, as an adjunct professor at Mt. Angel Seminary, as a consultant for vocation and formation ministers, and he maintains an active international retreat and lecture schedule.
Father Carey holds Master's degrees in Theology and in Counseling Psychology, and a Doctorate in Clinical Psychology.
Fr. Raymond ...
Fr. Raymond Carey
That's the message Father Raymond Carey, a priest with the Portland Archdiocese, brought to the annual general meeting of the Canadian Catholic School Trustees Association (CCSTA) June 3-5.
Carey, a clinical psychologist, said "shalom" is usually defined as peace, but its real meaning is much broader.
"It means perfect wholeness, perfect balance," he
It is perfect action of opposites together - "all is as it ought to be" with happiness as a byproduct, he
"Shalom is what God accomplishes in us."
broke the mission into four tasks: experiencing shalom at the level of the self; sharing shalom with our neighbours; bringing shalom into the environment; and experiencing shalom with God.
It is God's will that we experience shalom - balance, all is as God intended it to be - in our deepest, inmost selves, he
Shalom is knowing that "you are God's beloved, made in God's image" in partnership with God's ongoing creation.
Students must be valued as persons simply because God values them, he
Cynicism and sarcasm have no place in the classroom, because they can "rip the heart out of a child."
In sharing shalom with our neighbours, he
said, schools must be places where no one is excluded.
"Jesus acted as a minister of shalom even to the ones who were crucifying him."
spoke of the covenantal nature of love and how shalom changes those who give as well as those who receive.
told the story of how the former Portland Archbishop Thomas Murphy used to regularly visit a small school that often sent him invitations.
The archbishop loved the students there and always accepted.
developed a pernicious form of leukemia, the students organized a blood drive so the ailing bishop could receive a transfusion.
also spoke of creating an environment of shalom in the schools, where "kids feel safe and know that they are."
Bullying is no longer grabbing a hat or a fight in the schoolyard, he
It's now 24 hours a day, on the Internet, in the cellphones, "in your face."
Lastly, Catholic educators must cultivate shalom with God.
"We are to have with God the Abba! experience Jesus had," he
Fr. Ray Carey of the ...
Fr. Ray Carey of the Archdiocese of Portland, focuses on the Hebrew notion of shalom, how it permeates all of Jewish life and how it can impact ministry today.
Concludes with a close analysis of the values of Jesus.