Warrnambool priest says governance of schools has changed enormously

A WARRNAMBOOL Catholic Church leader says priests are not ordained to run schools and says it’s always good to review leadership structures.

CHANGE: St Joseph's parish priest Father John Fitzgerald says priests are ordained to provide pastoral care. Picture: Rob Gunstone

CHANGE: St Joseph's parish priest Father John Fitzgerald says priests are ordained to provide pastoral care. Picture: Rob Gunstone

Father John Fitzgerald said there had been discussions, particularly in the past two years, through the Ballarat Diocesan School Advisory Council looking at the governance of parish schools.

He said if the governance role of priests in schools was removed it would mean they had more time to dedicate to pastoral care.

“That’s what priests are trained for,” he said.

“Many are not trained to run schools.”

Fr Fitzgerald said schools needed to be accountable to all industrial and legal requirements and also the state and federal governments.

“We want to be as supportive as we can to Catholic Schools,” he said.

“The governance of schools has changed enormously in the last few years.

“(Governance of schools needs really qualified people.

“To me it’s common sense.

“We know that Sale (Diocese) has moved that way.

“It’s an enormously sensible approach. Things have changed over the years.

“The principal really runs the school. It’s always a good thing to review the structure from time to time.

“Priests are not ordained to run schools. And schools have become very, very complex especially with complicated issues.”